Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is promoting a plan to transfer the Israel Defense Forces General Staff headquarters from the Kirya complex in Tel Aviv to a location just outside the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot. According to the proposed plan, an upscale neighborhood encompassing 734 housing units and a country club will be constructed near the base to accommodate soldiers and officers stationed there.
Barkat is said to have discussed the matter with Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Defense Ministry officials on several occasions. One Defense Ministry official who commented on the plan said, "This is a preliminary plan that is being considered by relevant professionals in the Defense Ministry and IDF as part of a strategic plan for 2030. If and when the plan is approved, it will be implemented more than a decade from now."
A statement issued by the Jerusalem municipality on Thursday stated that "after considering many alternative locations throughout the city, the complex will be constructed in the future in a suitable area on a hillside near Ramot. The site was slated for urban development within the framework of the latest city landscape plan. Bringing the IDF headquarters physically closer to government ministries will strengthen the country. We are working energetically to advance this project and have already expedited the construction of housing units for professional soldiers at the site."
Barkat said the plan was a top priority for Jerusalem. "The plan which we have initiated has great strategic and economic importance for the city," he said.
Meirav Cohen, a member of the Jerusalem municipality council and the Awakening In Jerusalem movement, said "There are some 60 government offices in Tel Aviv that must be transferred to Jerusalem in accordance with the law. Transferring the offices will generate thousands of new jobs for residents of the city. Everyone will benefit from this move. The government will save public funds due to the freeing up of expensive real estate in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will benefit as well."