The IDF have raised concerns about how a massive relocation project will affect the livelihoods of its officers and their families, throwing the enormous project into trouble.
Tens of thousands of soldiers and officers are expected to move from various bases to the south of the country, with new, city-like complexes being built in the Negev desert.
However, the IDF are requesting an additional NIS 3 billion ($780 million) towards ensuring that mid ranking and senior officer’s families will be able to adjust to life in the largely barren region.
It is unclear at present whether Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon will transfer the requested funds. The Finance and Defense Ministries regularly engage in public battles over requests for further funding.
Often arguments include warnings about the readiness of the IDF to face enemies, and sometimes results in the cancelation of training exercises.
Previous gripes over finances have flared up as a result of previous IDF requests for extra money. In response, the Finance Ministry has criticized the IDF for not yet even listing the land it is slated to evacuate in the center as for sale.
Despite the issues, construction is well underway in erecting what will be the IDF’s largest base complex in the project, dubbed “Ir Habahadim” in Hebrew. The site will be one of a number built in and around Beer Sheva over the next five years, according to current plans.
The overall operation will evacuate the IDF from some of the country’s most valuable real estate in the center of the country. Much of the famous “HaKirya” complex in central Tel Aviv will also be part of the relocation.
The relocation project is certainly expensive, with estimates of a final totaling some $650 million. Roughly $26 billion is expected to be regained through the land sale of the various base sites. This is expected add tens of thousands of residential and commercial units to the property market, at a time when the supply of land for development is one of the country’s most pressing issues.
In addition, further savings are expected due to the logistical and environmental efficiencies of the relocation. The program will, in theory, streamline many complex physical and bureaucratic processes, which are today carried out at multiple facilities.
Even if the new argument does not delay construction and evacuation as planned, the project as a whole is slated for completion in 2020.
Tazpit News Agency