The Cabinet will, on Sunday, 29.5.11, at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem, hold a festive meeting to mark Jerusalem Day.  At this meeting, the Cabinet is due to approve the multi-year Merom Plan, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is advancing 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 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.  Thus, the budget for the 2011-2016 Merom Plan will stand at almost NIS 290 million.  A designated budget will be approved each year by a steering committee in keeping with the pace of implementation, the budget law and the outline of the Plan.

In addition to the Merom Plan’s budgetary framework, the Tourism Ministry will allocate NIS 75 million to encourage hotel construction in Jerusalem.  The goal is to increase the supply of hotel rooms in the capital and enable it to attract millions of tourists per annum.

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 complementary budget (see above) will be invested in public structures, student housing, academic projects and additional measures to attract productive residents.

The Cabinet will also decide 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.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that, "Strengthening the status of Jerusalem in the fields of tourism and bio-technology will lead to an increase in the number of employed people and to attracting productive and quality residents to the city.  The plan will lead to an increase in the number of tourists visiting Jerusalem, attract conferences, increase the number of students, lower the rate of those who do decline acceptance to study in the city and strengthen the city’s socio-economic base."