'A new international airport? Only in the Negev'

Jezreel Valley Council Head says plan to build international airport in north will harm agriculture, environment.

Shimon Cohen,

Airplane plane landing
Airplane plane landing
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On Monday, the Knesset's Economics Committee will discuss the construction of a new international airport in Ramat David, in addition to the airport planned for Nevatim.

Jezreel Valley Regional Council Head Eyal Batzar, however, will argue that the duplicity is unnecessary and the enormous cost is not justified. In his opinion, a Haifa-area Ramat David airport comes with many downsides, and only the plan for an airport at Nevatim should continue.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Batzar explained the ramifications of a new airport in the Jezreel Valley.

"We're talking about something absurd," he said. "A decision was made in 2014 to investigate the option of an airport in Ramat David, but unfortunately, they did not investigate other options, in Israel's south. And the trump card is that in November 2017, we succeeded in convincing the National Council to explore the more logical option of an airport in Nevatim."

"The south is begging for development. For years already, people living in the center of the country want to limit activity at Ben Gurion Airport because of the noise. In the north, there are agricultural villages in close proximity to Ramat David, and the harm to agriculture and the environment [that an airport would cause] is unreasonable, especially when you consider the number of passengers.

"I was very angry, because the decision in November was in opposition to the Planning Authority director's decision to only push Ramat David forward, for some strange reason. They basically made a decision to pay for two separate plans - Ramat David and Nevatim - when each of them will cost tens of millions of shekels. It's a waste of time and money. Focus on the Nevatim plan, that everyone - those in the north, center, and south - wants. No one is opposing the plan for Nevatim."

Batzar also expressed concern that the Ramat David plan would not be dropped.

"Since they focused on Ramat David, we're concerned that without parliamentary supervision of the process, the planning director will return to Ramat David," he said. "So I demanded that the Economics Committee, which deals with airports, supervise the process. This foolishness harms all of Israel's citizens. The flowering and fertile valley, which all Israel's citizens love, will be harmed. This is a treasure for all of Israel, and to turn it into a place of mortar and concrete is absurd. Especially since [building an airport in] the south has a huge economic advantage."




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