The Ministerial Committee for Privatization today (Wednesday) approved the privatization of Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI). Minister of Finance Yair Lapid chaired the meeting, which approved the plan submitted by Director General of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office Harel Locker, who had mediated for weeks between the Finance and Defense Ministries, respectively.
Part of the company's operations will handled by a new government company, while the remainder of IMI will be privatized. In exchange, the Ministry of Defense will receive a NIS 300 million budget supplement, after promising to place NIS 500 million in orders a year over five years. This provision was made in order to guarantee emplyees' jobs at the new government company.
It was also decided that the Ministry of Defense will carry out the planning prior to construction on IMI's current premises in Ramat Hasharon, which is slated for the construction of 44,000 new apartments, and will help to alleviate the housing shortage situation.
The move, has been planned for a long time, and has obtained the agreement of the company's employees, the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel), and government ministries. Under the plan, 1,000 employees will leave the company, after which it will be moved to the south. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense will be vacating the land near the Kirya (Municipality) in Tel Aviv to allow the construction of an 80-storey skyscraper. The IDF will also be vacating areas at the Zerifin base outside Tel Aviv, which will permit the marketing of land zoned for 3,500 housing units in Rishon Leziyon. The Air Force Technical School in Haifa will also make the move south.