Israeli Cabinet approves plan to invest in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will continue to build up Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as its Cabinet voted to invest more than $115 million in the city.

The Cabinet on Sunday approved the Merom Development Plan, an economic strategy to strengthen Jerusalem through tourism and high tech, during a meeting at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem.

"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," Netanyahu said in announcing the plan.

"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."

Netanyahu said that under the plan, Jerusalem would become a "global bio-technology center." The plan will provide grants for building startups, upgrading laboratory infrastructures for joint use by small and medium-sized companies and the continued financing of the Bio-Jerusalem program, as well as for services companies and incentives for bio-technology initiatives.

Also under the plan, Jerusalem will be added to the list of assistance areas in which scholarships are given for the first year of post high-school study for students who are discharged soldiers or national service graduates.

In addition, the Tourism Ministry will designate another $21.5 million for the construction of additional hotels in Jerusalem.

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