TEL AVIV (Sep. 11)
The Knesset Interior Committee has urged the government to inject new life into the isolated township of Mitzpeh Rimon in the central Negev. It proposed that the appropriate authorities map development plans, construct new housing and create employment opportunities there in the form of new factories and workshops. It also suggested that veteran families from central Israel be called on to settle at Mitzpeh Rimon and that new immigrant settlers be diverted there.
The sudden attention given the tiny hamlet stemmed from last week’s hunger strike by its entire population of some 1500. They complained of government neglect which they said perpetuated the town’s stagnation and caused an exodus of young people. Mitzpeh Rimon was established in the early 1950s with the prospects of becoming an important junction on the main highway between Beersheba and Eilat. But 17 years ago the road was shifted west of the town and its development lagged. The hunger strike got attention in the local press, prompting the Knesset body to investigate.