The plans would boost the Negev population by 80,000.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

The Israeli government approved the establishment of a new Jewish city in the Negev, and also gave a green light to examine the possibilities of five other communities on Sunday.

The new city’s temporary name is Tela and will be located near Lehavim, which is north of Beersheba along Route 25.

Also proposed for possible development is Ir Ovot, currently a small agricultural community south of the Dead Sea near the Hatzeva Junction and Jordanian border and the creation of an industrial zone between Beersheba and Dimona.

The plans would boost the Negev population by 80,000.

In March, the cabinet approved plans for five new communities in the area of Arad, one of which was designated for Bedouins.

“Development will strengthen governance and sovereignty in the Negev and will open up the region,” said Interior Minister Ayelet, who spearheaded the initiative along with Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin.

“It excites me on a personal level and I feel a real mission that fulfills Ben-Gurion’s vision,” she added. Shaked was referring to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who long sought to develop the Negev.

Although the Negev makes up around 55 percent of Israel’s land, it is only the home to approximately 640,000 people — roughly 8% of the Israel’s population.

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