(November 9, 2020 / JNS)
The Israeli government on Sunday approved the establishment of a new town, tentatively named Hanun, in the Sdot Negev Regional Council adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The town, east of Kibbutz Saad, will initially be home to 500 families.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who proposed the initiative, called the decision “a big day for the State of Israel,” while conveying a message.
“We are there facing enemies [in Gaza] who want to uproot us, and they discover not only will we not be uprooted, but we plant, build and create. It’s a very big thing—it’s the essence of Zionism,” he said in a statement.
The Construction and Housing Ministry will be charged with coordinating the project, in collaboration with the relevant government ministries.
Netanyahu congratulated Sdot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan during a meeting with him on Sunday.
“I remember six years ago, when I was with you, Tamir, and you told me, ‘Let’s start a new settlement.’ It captured my imagination and my heart and we decided to do it, and here we are implementing it,” said Netanyahu, adding that then-Housing Minister Yoav Galant was a “full partner” in the project.
The prime minister told Idan that the Cabinet’s passing of the measure had made him proud.
“We are moving forward. I said some things needed to be done, for example, building a fence so that we don’t get flooded with illegal migrants from Africa, and we did it. For example, building up transportation, roads, we haven’t finished it yet, we’ll have to do it. For example, bringing in all kinds of financial projects, we’re doing it—but the most important thing is the enthusiasm, the burning desire, the fire, and you proved it, and I want to thank you and bless all the settlements.”
Idan said that the announcement marked “a holiday day for the State of Israel in general and for the Gaza periphery in particular.”
He told Netanyahu he remembered the meeting in question, “a meeting where we thought about how to convince people not to leave, how to bring in new people. And when I told you, you asked me, ‘Do you think they will come?’ and I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ You told me, ‘Let’s go.’ Six years later, and here we stand.”
Idan went on to say when Israel’s enemies in Gaza see the Gaza periphery population increasing, existing settlements expanding and new settlements being created, and towers going up in Sderot, “their spirit falls, and ours will not fall.”
“It will not fall because of a prime minister like you,” he added, “who was with me all the way and who—it moves me to say this—has not given up to this day. I did not give up, and neither did you. And all the ministers here today transcended petty politics and said ‘yes’ to a Zionist act of the first order.”