Building in the Jewish Homeland of Israel.
Video in Hebrew, Transcript in English
Video & Photos: GPO
PM Netanyahu Attends Signing Ceremony for the Construction and Development of Approximately 32,000 Residential Units in Ashkelon
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Thursday, 29 October 2015), attended the signing ceremony for a roof agreement for the construction and development of approximately 32,000 residential units in Ashkelon. Also in attendance were Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz, Housing Minister Yoav Galant and Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“I come to Ashkelon frequently; I think twice every two months. Every time I see change, more momentum and more building. After today there will be considerably more momentum. You (Itamar Shimoni) are leading the city on a sure path. This plane has already taken off; you are in the cockpit. We are giving very much energy to the propellers and the takeoff is underway. I am pleased to be here with you and the ministers – Finance minister Moshe Kahlon, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Housing Minister Yoav Galant. I would like you to understand that something is happening here that you might not have believed would take place, namely exemplary inter-ministerial cooperation, including ministers and their teams, in order to strengthen not only Ashkelon but development and transportation throughout the country.
I would like to commend you. We have been greatly assisted by your teams. With us here are Avigdor Yitzhaki and Adiel Shimron, who have done excellent work together with the teams of the various ministries. You know that some things also reach the Knesset. I would like to thank you, Ashkelon resident Itzik Cohen and, of course, MKs David Biton, Oren Hazan and the mayors. We have here very important comprehensive assistance here. Chaim Bibes, thank you very much. I am pleased to see here our friends from the area; I think that this is a welcome day for you, deputy mayors, council members and residents of Ashkelon.
I remember when I was a kid I read David’s elegy for Saul in which the Philistine city of Ashkelon is mentioned: ‘Tell it not in the streets of Ashkelon.’ I have come here today to tell you, residents of Ashkelon and all the media that is here: Tell it, tell it in the streets of Ashkelon that a great thing is happening here today. Several weeks ago we were together in Be’er Sheva and we signed the biggest roof agreement in the history of the state. A roof agreement encompasses sales and marketing the land, returns the money to the city, allows the city to invest in its infrastructure, and brings together all this money for local development. Today, this agreement is no longer the biggest in the history of the state; we are going to build here 32,000 residential units, 18.000 in the first stage, along with all of the housing infrastructures, parks, industry, transportation and green lungs. Everything will be integrated into a very great thing that is happening here.
My vision is simple. My vision is to – to a great extent – cancel the term ‘periphery’ and link everything into one vibrant bloc. What I said several weeks ago, that my vision is to see Be’er Sheva with 500,000 residents in 12 years, I say to you Itamar, and to all of you, Ashkelon will be a city of at least 250,000 residents within 12 years. This is not only possible, it is happening before our eyes. It is a very great thing that is happening here. Of course this depends on many things. What we are doing today is essential. The transportation link, not just to Ashkelon, but in the south and throughout the country, is to link up everything, from Dan to Eilat, without a single red light. It won’t be a two lane road but a multi-lane highway, and trains. Now from Ashkelon we are 50 minutes by train to Tel Aviv and to Be’er Sheva, and we will yet reduce this.
These things are changing the face of the city and its environs in every respect. I believe that Ashkelon has a bright future. I think that this future is assured and it also depends on security. Itamar, you said something correct. A little over a year ago they fired missiles at us. We overcame them. They learned. It is not just that we are building, I would like to make it clear: Whoever hurts us, we hurt them. It is not only construction, it is also defensive measures and if necessary, offensive. It is always true that security is our chief concern. In 100 years of Zionism, when you know what was here, a small village named Majdal, and today there is a glorious city that is going to be a great metropolitan area, we do this with both defense and construction. Today we are busy with construction; this construction will be considerable. There is no Philistine city here but a great Jewish and Israeli city, that has a bright future before it. I would like to tell you again – tell it, tell it in the streets of Ashkelon. This is a great day for Ashkelon, for the south and for the State of Israel. Thank you.”