Approved: 45 Million Shekels to Gush Katif Refugees
Forty-five million shekels (roughly $12 million) will reportedly be invested in communities for Gush Katif refugees in the western Negev.
The money will be transferred to the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council by the Ministry of Construction and Housing Fund for the Development of Communities for Gush Katif Refugees, reports Walla! News.
According to the director of the project, which was established by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (JNF/KKL), 26 million shekels ($7.4 million) will be invested in the new community Be'er Ganim. The money will go toward the building of five synagogues, a mikveh (ritual bath), a club, sports fields, and kindergartens.
The oldest settlement, Nitzan, where thousands of refugees have lived since 2005, will also gain 15 million shekels ($4.3 million) in financial support. This will be invested in completing the construction of a synagogue, building a swimming pool, a new mikveh, roads and sports fields. Bat Hadar, Mivka'im, and Talmei Yafeh will also receive five million shekels (roughly $300,000) for development.
Head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Yair Farjoun praised Housing Minister Uri Ariel's (Jewish Home) work on the project "to help rehabilitate the evacuees from Gush Katif."
"The cooperation established between the Ministry of Housing, the JNF and the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council has brought significant results," Farjoun stated. "Soon we will see the results of these investments in public buildings and significant growth in several communities."
Gush Katif refugees still face significant problems finding employment and housing, though more than 8 years have passed since the Disengagement. Last July, figures revealed 50% of the 9,500 Jews expelled remain homeless.
16% of the community also suffers from unemployment; when they were still in Gush Katif that rate was a mere 4%.