The Cabinet approved the Merom Plan to invest NIS 365 million to strengthen Jerusalem economically.

 Cabinet convenes at Tower of David for Jerusalem Day


Jerusalem Mayor Barkat joins PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting (Photo: GPO)

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
PM Netanyahu: "We are meeting here today, at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. "Forty-four years ago the city was unified and we returned to the places if our forefathers. Since then, Jerusalem has flourished; both the city center and outlaying areas. Today we will strengthen it and we will assist its residents. These Government decisions are an investment of hundreds of millions in economically strengthening Jerusalem and turning it into a global bio-technology center. The Government and the people are bound as one to build up Jerusalem, the heart of the nation, and this commitment to Jerusalem ‘that is bound together’ [Psalm 122:3], is one of the foundations of the unity of the Jewish people."

I emphasized these foundations in my recent remarks before the Knesset and in my speech to a special Joint Meeting of the US Congress. The broad support, both in Israel and the US, for the principles that I presented are the State of Israel’s ironclad assets. It is important the entire world knows, that the Jewish people and our friends around the world stand together, faithful to Jerusalem and our heritage, steadfast in their positions, insisting on our security and extending a hand in genuine peace to our neighbors. I think that today they know this very well."
The Cabinet today (Sunday), 29 May 2011, at a festive meeting at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem, unanimously approved the multi-year Merom Plan to strengthen Jerusalem, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has advanced in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority.
The goal of the plan is to economically strengthen the capital city via two main growth engines. The first is to invest NIS 145.5 million in strengthening Jerusalem as a tourist city. The second is to invest NIS 71.4 million in strengthening the city as a center of research, development and bio-technology industry. A further NIS 70.5 million will be invested in additional complementary measures to develop the city economically. The Merom Plan’s overall 2011-2016 budget will stand at NIS 290 million.
In addition, the Tourism Ministry will allocate NIS 75 million to encourage hotel construction in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he could chair a ministerial committee to increase areas designated for hotel construction.
As noted above, NIS 71.4 million will be invested to strengthen Jerusalem in the field of bio-technology. The budget will provide – inter alia – grants for building start-ups, upgrading laboratory infrastructures for joint use by small and medium-sized companies, continued financing for Bio-Jerusalem, grants for services companies, and incentives for bio-technology initiatives.
The Cabinet also decided to add Jerusalem to the list of assistance areas in which scholarships are given for the first year of academic study, for students at institutions of higher learning who are discharged soldiers or national civilian service graduates.
In order to boost higher education in Jerusalem and promote the city’s status as a leading academic center, the Cabinet recommended that the Israel Land Administration locate land in the city center for a new institution of higher learning.