newsIsrael at War

Netanyahu unveils $950 million plan to aid Israel’s north

The overall budget for the hard-hit region now totals 6.5 billion shekels, or roughly 1.8 billion in U.S. dollars.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a situational assessment near Israel's northern border with Lebanon, Dec. 7, 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a situational assessment near Israel's northern border with Lebanon, Dec. 7, 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

The Israeli government on Monday unveiled a 3.5 billion shekel ($950 million) plan to rehabilitate the country’s north, which has suffered near-daily attacks by Hezbollah since Oct. 7. More than 60,000 area residents remain displaced nearly 8 months into the war.

The immediate-term plan joins a longer, multi-year plan dubbed “Northern Dawn” that offers specific proposals for rebuilding and developing the region.

The new plan “will greatly assist the residents of the north,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The plan’s approval brings the overall budget for Israel’s north to 6.5 billion shekels, or roughly $1.8 billion.

“We will provide a socio-economic solution for the north, and a broad security solution,” said the premier.

The plan was formulated by The Prime Minister’s Office’s Home Affairs, Planning and Development branch, in cooperation with government ministries and the heads of northern local councils. A special staff will be set up in the PMO to implement it. The prime minister will head a ministerial committee to oversee overall government policy for the plan.

Its short-term goals include: 1) increasing certainty for the northern communities and the population under threat; 2) providing assistance for defending and unifying those communities; 3) offering aid for northern businesses and strengthening employment security, among other items.

The long-term plan involves proposals to reinforce overall economic life and well-being in the north. The creation of an innovation and food-tech ecosystem in the area is specifically mentioned, along with a new university to be established in Kiryat Shmona.

With regard to Hezbollah, during a visit to the army’s Northern Command headquarters in the Upper Galilee city of Safed last Thursday, Netanyahu said that Israel has “detailed, important and even surprising plans.”

Hezbollah terrorists fired a barrage of around 30 rockets from southern Lebanon at the Upper Galilee the same day.

On May 19, Netanyahu met with the heads of northern local councils in Hezbollah’s line of fire to discuss a plan to return displaced Israelis to their homes and compensate them and their communities.

“In the end, the revival and the momentum of the northern border depend on security,” he acknowledged.

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