Daily Israel Report

Cabinet to Approve ‘Merom Plan’ to Strengthen Jerusalem

Almost 290M shekels to go toward tourism, scientific research, drawing in students, in five year plan.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/26/2011, 5:38 PM / Last Update: 5/26/2011, 6:06 PM

Flash 90

The Cabinet will approve the multi-year Merom Plan for strengthening Jerusalem economically when it convenes in a special Jerusalem Day session Sunday.

The special session will be held at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. The Cabinet will approve the plan, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is advancing in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority.  
 
The goal of the plan is to economically strengthen Israel's capital via two main growth engines. The first is the investment of NIS 145.5 million in strengthening Jerusalem as a tourist city. 
 
The second engine is investing NIS 71.4 million to turn the city into a center of research, development and bio-technology industry. A further NIS 70.5 million will be invested in complementary measures to develop the city economically. Thus, the budget for the 2011-2016 Merom Plan will stand at almost NIS 290 million.  
 
A designated budget will be approved each year by a steering committee in keeping with the pace of implementation, the budget law, and the outline of the Plan.
 
In addition to the Merom Plan's budgetary framework, the Tourism Ministry will allocate NIS 75 million to encourage hotel construction in Jerusalem.  The goal is to increase the supply of hotel rooms in the capital and enable it to attract millions of tourists per annum.
 
The NIS 71.4 million for bio-technology will provide – inter alia – grants for building start-ups, upgrading laboratory infrastructures for joint use by small and medium-sized companies, continued financing for Bio-Jerusalem, grants for services companies, and incentives for bio-technology initiatives. 
 
The complementary budget will be invested in public structures, student housing, academic projects and additional measures to attract productive residents.
 
The Cabinet will also add Jerusalem to the list of assistance areas in which scholarships are given for the first year of academic study at institutions of higher learning for discharged soldiers or national civilian service graduates.
 
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Strengthening the status of Jerusalem in the fields of tourism and bio-technology will lead to an increase in the number of employed people and to attracting productive and quality residents to the city.  The plan will lead to an increase in the number of tourists visiting Jerusalem, attract conferences, increase the number of students, lower the rate of those who decline