Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman laid the cornerstone for a new IDF rehabilitation and maintenance center, including a Merkava tank factory in the industrial zone of Tzrifit in Nazareth Illit.
The ceremony on Thursday was attended by the Director General of the Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Adam, the head of the IDF's technology division, Major General Itzik Turgeman and the Mayor of Nazareth Illit Ronen Plot.
The complex is one of the IDF's most complex and important infrastructure and technology projects for the next decade, which will lead to the evacuation of approximately 670 dunams (165 acres) in areas of demand in the metropolitan areas of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Rishon LeZion, and investments of billions in infrastructure.
After its completion, more than 2,000 permanent employees and civilian employees of the Israel Defense Forces and many hundreds of service providers from the north will serve and work in the center.
The center will also include many factories and workshops that will manufacture and maintain various types of weapons of the ground forces, including armored vehicles, cameras and night vision equipment, communications systems such as radars and more.
"Look at this rocky hill. In a few years it will become one of the largest production centers in the north," said Defense Minister Liberman. "Anyone who goes to the historic archives and examines how the decision was taken, somewhere on Hanukkah in 1957, to establish the city of Nazareth Illit, will conclude that nothing has changed."
"Then, just as it is today, one of the main goals is first of all to maintain a Jewish majority in the Galilee. You have to say it and not be ashamed of it. These are part of the goals, both of the Ministry of Defense and of security policy. More than 2,000 people will serve here. We will take care of employees who stay in the center of Israel. We will not forget that, we will not abandon anyone," Liberman said.
The head of the Technology and Logistics Division, Major General Itzik Turgeman, said, "The establishment of the camp joins the entire process of relocating camps within the framework of the Shaham projects, which will lead to improved productivity in the work processes and to increased efficiency in the IDF bases. The Agency is the heart of the IDF's technological heart, which coordinates the best technologies, means and capabilities to manufacture and rehabilitate weapons for all IDF units, in routine and emergency situations."
"In order to create the technological work, we need modern workshops where we can provide appropriate conditions of service to those engaged in the work and provide the IDF with its operational needs in an uncompromising quality.The fruits of the carob planted today will be taken by the defense establishment when thousands of career soldiers, soldiers and civilian employees of the IDF arrive at this special place every morning - the same human and technological capital that constitutes the bulk of the manpower."