“We have advanced from the wilderness and created a beautiful city. Today, we are going to take a very great step and jumpstart it into the future,” Netanyahu said of Eilat.
By World Israel News
The Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting in Eilat on Sunday, moving down from its usual venue of Jerusalem, to approve a plan to invest over NIS 500 million in developing the Red Sea resort town.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers that the plan centers around upgrading health services for Eilat residents with more than NIS 150 million to be spent toward achieving that goal.
“Netanyahu wanted the plan submitted together with the decision to close down Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv last June, in view of the consequences of closing the air route” to Eilat, reports the Globes business news outlet.
The report said that “the plan to revamp the health system in Eilat is needed primarily because of the lack of doctors and medical staff in the city, which has resulted in dozens of doctors being flown [from elsewhere in Israel] to Eilat weekly for years via Sde Dov Airport.”
The prime minister stated, however, that there were also other aspects to the plan.
“We will upgrade the transportation infrastructure. We will establish tourist centers and we will make the coastal strip accessible to the public and improve it,” said Netanyahu, adding that “we are going to continue to move forward on the planning for a railway line from the center of the country to Eilat. This vision will also be realized.”
Netanyahu told the cabinet that “perhaps the most important thing that we are going to establish here is a park to develop food from the sea.”
The prime minister said that he wants “to turn Eilat into a center of knowledge and sea-based food technology.”
He said that he was taking upon himself the chairmanship of a ministerial committee on Eilat affairs.
MK Stav Shaffir, who is leaving the Labor Party to run with the Democratic Camp in the September 17 Knesset election, ridiculed the prime minister for “leaving Eilat cut off,” a reference to the closure of the Sde Dov airport, adding that “while you hover above the traffic jams in helicopters, you’ve left a bottle-necked country below.”