Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-5-19

Terrorists Killed
Last night 2 terrorists threw explosive devices at an Israeli army unit near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin in northern Samaria. The soldiers shot and killed both terrorists. No Israelis were hurt.

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Infrastructure Plans
Just 2 months ahead of the April elections, the Prime Minister’s Office has released a report titled “Infrastructure for Growth for 2019” that outlines NIS 196 billion (approx. $54 billion) in investment in infrastructure for the coming years. The report includes 207 projects, either in progress or in the budgeting or ministerial approval stages.

The report includes every infrastructure project estimated to cost more than NIS 100 million that has undergone economic feasibility testing, or that appears in a government decision or in a budget summary. About half of the infrastructure budget – NIS 98 billion – will be financed by PPPs (public-private partnerships).

Included in the approximately NIS 100 billion of investments in public transport are:

• A light rail to connect the central areas of Petah Tikva, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Bat Yam at a cost of NIS 16 billion (to be completed in 7 years).

• A light rail line in Jerusalem from the Ramot neighborhood in the north to the Gilo neighborhood in the south that extends to Emek Refaim in the heart of the city. The construction will cost NIS 10 billion and is also expected to take 7 years.
• A new entrance road to Jerusalem from the west, connecting Highway 1 in the Givat Shaul area to the Givat Mordechai interchange on Menachem Begin Boulevard. The road will include two tunnels: one under the Har Nof neighborhood and the other under the Yefe Nof neighborhood. The project will be completed within 4 years and cost NIS 1.1 billion.
• Expansion of the highways leading into Tel Aviv (an addition of three highways to the north, east and south) at a cost of NIS 4.7 billion.

Other projects include:

•  The construction of two combined gas and water turbine power stations totaling NIS 4.8 billion, as a massive overhaul of the electricity market.

• The establishment of a new hospital in Be’er Sheva within five years and improvements to psychiatric hospitals (unknown cost).
• Construction of 70,000 sqm of Ministry of Finance offices at a cost of NIS 700 million, which is expected to be completed within four years.
•  The establishment of Ministry of Defense intelligence complex at Shoket Junction, near Be’er Sheva and the transfer of most intelligence units to that location.
•  Establishment of a facility to recycle energy from waste. The facility will handle 1,500 tons of waste per day and be built within three years.
• The construction of 2,550 classrooms and kindergartens annually by the Ministry of Education; reinforcing 80 structures and making 127-132 schools accessible annually.

Of course, if the elections result in a new government, some (or all) of the projects may not be approved.

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Population Surge
Dozens of Knesset members and candidates have signed a proposal called the Shamir Plan, created by the Nahalah movement, that calls for a government initiative to increase the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria from roughly 450,000 to two million, which would make it equal to the Arab population.

The signatories include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), ministers Yisrael Katz (Likud), Yariv Levin (Likud), Zeev Elkin (Likud), Gilad Erdan (Likud), Naftali Bennett (New Right), Ayelet Shaked (New Right), Miri Regev (Likud), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Ayoub Kara (Likud), Yoav Galant (Likud), Gila Gamliel (Likud), and Ofir Akunis (Likud).

In addition, dozens of MKs and candidates in the Likud primaries (being held today), as well as Knesset hopefuls on the Jewish Home and New Right lists, have also signed the pledge.

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Embassy Drill
Hundreds of Argentinian security forces and and emergency responders held a large-scale drill Sunday simulating a hostage-taking scenario inside the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Israeli officials did not take part in the exercise, although several embassy employees played the parts of the hostages.

Around 400 special forces troops, with the support of helicopters, armored personnel carriers and first responders, were involved in the drill.

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