Israel’s Cabinet has backed a NIS 500m development plan for Beit Shemesh.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Saar presented the plan for the city at the cabinet weekly meeting.

The initiative will strengthen public transportation in response to the city’s growing population, institutions, housing, employment, welfare services, security and leisure activities.

“Beit Shemesh is a wonderful place facing many challenges,” said Bennett. “Together with the local leadership led by Mayor Dr Aliza Bloch we are promoting a program on an unprecedented scale that will improve quality of life in the city. Since her tenure began, Mayor Bloch has been working extensively for a better future for residents. The work is considerable and now we will lead it together.”

Bloch thanked Bennett for an unprecedented decision.

“For years they talked, the Bennett government is taking action and effecting change,” she said. “The story of Beit Shemesh is the story of the State of Israel. Beit Shemesh is currently undergoing an accelerated process of economic development. The goal is to reinvigorate the city. I see the work of the municipality and the various government ministries as a complementary synergy that builds the strength of a city. I am happy that the Government of Israel sees a desire to promote municipal development as a common goal with city leadership and residents.”

According to Central Bureau of Statistics data, Beit Shemesh has grown by over 60% in the past decade. Currently there are 50,000 residents, the highest growth rate among Israel’s 15 largest cities. 

Ministers of Interior, Construction and Housing, Transportation, Economy and Industry, Education, Welfare and Social Affairs, Health, Development of the Periphery, Negev and the Galilee, Culture and Sports, Public Security, Environmental Protection, Religious Services, Aliyah and Integration, Tourism and Innovation, Science and Technology have cooperated in the initiative.

In related news, Israel Magen Fund have donated EpiPens to Beit Shemesh Hatzalah ensuring paramedic volunteers in each of the city’s neighbourhoods can help save lives. 

The initiative is part of an ongoing partnership where donations have included emergency medical equipment. According to Magen Fund co-founder David Rose donations support Israel’s medical and military sectors across Beit Shemesh.