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JNF Israel to allocate almost $28 million to redevelop burnt areas near Gaza

The funds will also be allocated toward developing and rehabilitating existing forests that have been destroyed in arson attacks.

From right: Gadi Yarkoni (Head of Eshkol Regional Council), Tamir Yidan (Head of Sdot Negev Regional Council), Alon Davidi (Mayor of Sderot), Daniel Atar (KKL-JNF World Chairman), Shai Hagigi (Head of Merchavim Regional Council), Alon Shuster (Head of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council). Photo credit: Yehuda Peretz, KKL-JNF Photo Archive.
From right: Gadi Yarkoni (Head of Eshkol Regional Council), Tamir Yidan (Head of Sdot Negev Regional Council), Alon Davidi (Mayor of Sderot), Daniel Atar (KKL-JNF World Chairman), Shai Hagigi (Head of Merchavim Regional Council), Alon Shuster (Head of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council). Photo credit: Yehuda Peretz, KKL-JNF Photo Archive.

Amid the tension at the Gaza border with Israel, including arson kites being used by Hamas, the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) announced on Monday that it will donate almost $28 million towards projects to develop the surrounding area, the organization announced after touring it.

Construction is expected to include, but not be limited to, housing projects, bicycle paths connecting neighborhoods, in addition to playgrounds and a second KKL-JNF Regional Center for Excellence in Sderot.

The funds will also be allocated toward developing and rehabilitating existing forests that have been destroyed in arson attacks, according to the organization.

To date, 10,000 acres of land in Israel’s south has been burned by incendiary kites and balloons—the size of about 10,000 football fields.

“It is a positive step in involvement in the Negev,” said Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi. “[It understands] that the importance of standing in the face of terror is a national task, not a local one.”

“Even during calmer periods, one of [our] central objectives is strengthening the periphery, especially the Negev and the Galilee,” said KKL-JNF world chairman Daniel Atar in a statement. “These days, in which residents of the towns surrounding Gaza face arson kites and additional threats on a daily basis, [we are] more committed than ever to support residents in the area.”

“Though the State of Israel defines the area surrounding Gaza as 7 kilometers from the border, we have decided to include all the towns that have been under terror attacks in recent months into that definition,” he said.

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