JNS.org – The Israel Defense Forces’ massive training complex in the Negev will cost Israel 21 billion shekels ($5.92 billion) to complete, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon both said during a tour of the site on Wednesday.
According to the current timetable, the IDF’s Communication Corps compound will be transferred from central Israel to the new Negev complex next year. The IDF’s intelligence compound is set to move to the Negev in 2018, and with it 30,000 personnel of which 6,000 are career servicemen.
“The IDF’s move to the Negev represents an unprecedented maneuver in its scope and economic, social and cultural impact. The completion of the maneuver will see the Negev turn into the ‘Israeli Silicon Valley,’” Netanyahu said.
In July, the Israeli cabinet approved a government investment of 500 million shekels ($137 million) to Negev communities.
The money will be invested in the Negev over the next five years to develop educational institutions as well as industrial and high-tech parks that will facilitate job opportunities for spouses of career IDF servicemen and women. Local residents will benefit from a development and construction boom the likes of which has not seen in the south in years.