Government pledges to build 'next Modi'in'

Harish community near Haifa upgraded to full-fledged city, given 1B shekel budget. 'An outstanding Zionist act.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu (R) visits Harish, November 2015
Netanyahu (R) visits Harish, November 2015
Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90

The north-central Israeli community of Harish will be converted into a full-fledged city, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Cabinet voted Sunday, appropriating the project a 1 million shekel ($256,631) budget. 

The first neighborhood in Harish was built in the 1990s and infrastructure for a city was put in place, but various factors combined to prevent the community from expanding.

These included the fact that the government allowed an Arab crime clan from Ramla to settle in the community, and the violence that erupted in the region in 2000, when Arab Israelis blocked a major highway for several days, at the same time that Palestinian Authority Arabs under Yasser Arafat launched the atrocious terror war known as the Second Intifada.

Netanyahu hailed the development Sunday, noting that it marks the first city Israel has pledged to build in years. 

"We approved, in the Cabinet, a budget of approximately NIS 1 billion ahead of converting the community of Harish into a city in Israel," he said. "I visited there, along with several ministers several weeks ago; this is an outstanding and unparalleled Zionist act."

"A new city has not been established in many years," he continued. "This will be a new city along the lines of Modi'in; it will be the beginnings of a city of 50,000 people. I believe that it will grow far beyond this in the future."

Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Director General Eli Groner also welcomed the move. 

"This is an important and Zionist decision of unparalleled degree," Groner said. "For many years, no new city has been established in Israel, and now we are doing it. Harish will be a quality residential location and tens of thousands of young families will soon move there."

After 5 years of government back-and-forth, Harish consists of only 300 households - but approximately 9,000 housing units, currently in various different stages of construction, have been marketed successfully in recent years.

About 2,000 additional housing units will be marketed as part of the 'affordable housing' campaign. In the first stage about 12,000 housing units will be built and in the following stages this will be expanded to approximately 24,000 units.

As part of the decision, the Ministry of Housing will allocate about 130 million shekels ($33.4 million) in additional funds in order to promote construction plans for trade, industry and employment, reinforcement of the city's public institutions, infrastructure maintenance and for the center of the city's older section.

The decision that was formulated includes cooperation between many ministries, the allocation of over NIS 1 billion in resources and facilitates the efficient population of the city for the benefit, welfare and quality of life of its residents.

Harish is located 50 minutes from Tel Aviv, 35 minutes from Haifa and 15 minutes from Hadera.