The Bik'at HaYarden Regional Authority north of Dead Sea "is a success story today," Authority Head David Elhayani told Arutz Sheva Friday.
"We are planning more than 200 housing units that are already in the infrastructure and planning stage," he said. "There has not been such construction in years."
Most of the houses are being built by "returning sons" – residents who were born and raised in the region, and who have returned to build their own homes there.
"Our sons come back and they have good reason," Elhayani said. "They have an emotional bond here, too, and they know that they are getting good quality of life. In every community there is a swimming pool, a kindergarten, a day care center and an educational system. We are talking about a new neighborhood at Shdemot Mehola, a new neighborhood at Gittit, at Maskiot, at Na'ama, at Argaman, Tomer and Mehola."
Ten percent of the home builders are newcomers, he added. "Many of them are employed in agriculture but also in the free professions. The unemployment rate here is only 2.5%."
Unlike many settlers from neighboring Judea and Samaria, Elhayani does not think the government is hostile toward the settlement enterprise. "I have no complaints; the government helps out and gives assistance. This is the best government for the settlement enterprise. The development impetus here is great, and in addition, there is also a tourism impetus here these days. Many travelers have discovered Bik'at HaYarden. These days, Bik'at HaYarden is considered an island of peace and quiet."