The Cabinet will, on Sunday, discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal for the communal settlement and socio-economic development of Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in 2014-2018. The NIS 1.3 billion five-year plan, which has been formulated by a team of ministry director generals led by Prime Minister’s Office Director General Harel Locker, is the largest and most comprehensive economic development plan ever made for the area and joins the Government’s 13 July decision to allocate NIS 417 to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in 2015-2016.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, yesterday, told mayors and local authority heads, "On Sunday we will submit the culmination of the decision to assist the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the communities of the south. These are great sums, unprecedented in the history of the country. What these communities will receive, what they deserve, is the strongest evidence. Did they think they would kick us out of here? Not only will they not kick us out of here – we will build up and strengthen all parts of our state."

The new decision focuses on:

* Economy – A significant expansion of incentives and assistance to businesses in the area;

* Agriculture – Development of the agricultural sector, the main anchor of activity for communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip;

* Communal development – Activity to support continuation of the increase in the number of residents of the area; and

* Quality of life – Significant investment in renovating and upgrading infrastructures in order to boost the quality of life and the standard of living.

In the context of the various steps, preference will be given to frontline communities close to the border fence, as well as to actions to increase the socio-economic strength of Sderot. The Cabinet will also, this Sunday, discuss Prime Minister Netanyahu’s draft decision on the development of the south (see separate press release).

The additional plan to develop the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and strengthen communities close to the fence is designed to provide a growth engine for the economy, industry, agriculture, construction and social welfare. The Government intends to thereby approve additional investment and Government assistance to the area in order to encourage economic growth and boost communal settlement in the area. Since 2009, there has been a continual increase in the number of residents in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The Government’s current steps are designed to assure the continuation of this demographic trend.