The government on Sunday authorized a series of steps designed to strengthen Jerusalem. In advance of Jerusalem Day, to be celebrated Tuesday night and Wednesday, the government authorized the establishment of new academic institutions, a project to develop several neighborhoods in the city, and the construction of affordable housing.
According to the decision, the government will set aside land for the establishment and expansion of academic institutions in the city. Among the institutions that will be able to establish new departments or expand their campuses as a result of this decision will be the Bezalel Academy for the Arts, and Machon Lev Technological College. The land will be set aside without requiring a tender, and institutions will pay significantly less than the land's true value. Several museums, including the Bible Lands Museum and the Nature Museum, will benefit from a similar arrangement.
Another decision concerns the advancement of a long-standing plan to develop the entrance of Jerusalem, specifically the area adjacent to Binyanei Ha'uma (the Jerusalem Convention Center). The plan includes the construction of some 55,000 square meters of leisure and entertainment space. However, the plan has been held up because of several private owners who have refused offers to sell or swap their lands. A special task force, under the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office, will be set up to work out the details with the owners and get the project moving.
Uri Ariel, Minister of Housing and head of the Israel Lands Administration, praised the government for its decisions. “There is no better time than Jerusalem Day to make decisions that reinforce the status of the city, and will bring more academic institutions, activity, tourism, and prosperity to the city. I will work to ensure that Israel's capital continues to develop, for the benefit of all Israelis,” he added.