Over 1,000 families interested in new 500-family town despite being in a rocket-prone area. “A great day for the State of Israel,” says Netanyahu.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that Israel will begin construction of a new town in the Negev region bordering the Gaza Strip – the first new community there in decades.

The new community of Hanun will be established with 500 families in the Sdot Negev Regional Council area, east of Kibbutz Sa’ad and about 6 kilometers (3.6 miles) from the Gaza border.

“This is a great day for the State of Israel. We are building a new community in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip,” Netanayu said at a meeting with Sdot Negev Regional Council Chairman Tamir Idan.

“This is both a domestic and an external message. We face enemies who want to uproot us and they are revealing that not only are we not being uprooted – we are planting, building and producing. This is a very big thing – this is the essence of Zionism,” Netanyahu said.

The Sdot Negev area is among the regional councils bordering Gaza that have been constantly attacked with rockets and incendiary balloons launched by terrorists in Gaza.

“This is a festive day for the State of Israel in general and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in particular,” Idan said, reminding Netanyahu of doubts he had when they met six years ago to propose the new community.

“I remember that meeting,” Idan told Netanyahu, reminding the prime minister, “You told me ‘Do you think they will come?’. I told you “Let’s do this’ and you said ‘Let’s do it.’ Six years later and we are standing here today.”

Idan praised the government’s decision, saying it crossed party lines because since the Gaza war in 2014 the population of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip has grown by 30%.

All of the communities are full and thriving. People ask me ‘What is the secret?’. I tell them ‘Community, education, strength, Zionism and assistance.’ These things together are bringing all of Israel to us,” Idan said, adding that even before the first bulldozers have hit the ground he has a waiting list with over 1,000 families having contacted his regional council already.

Established in 1951, the Sdot Negev Regional Council (Gaza) was established in 1951 and covers 117 square kilometers (45 square miles) of land located between Beer Sheva and Ashkelon with a population of 12,000 residents in 12 moshav farming communities, two small towns and two kibbutzim.

In terms of demographics, the population is young compared to rest of the country with about 40% of the population under the age of 18.