In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu gave a directive to advance a plan to build the artificial island with a new airport to “provide for the accelerated growth in the number of tourists arriving in Israel.”
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The Sde Dov airport in northern Tel Aviv, also known as Dov Hoz, is set to close in January 2019. The airport, which sits on prime real estate, has mainly handled a limited schedule of domestic flights to Eilat and northern Israel.
A government committee led by Netanyahu met this week to discuss the expected closure of the airport and the preparations being made to transfer more domestic flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel’s main airport, outside Tel Aviv. Other flights will also be diverted to Eilat, in southern Israel, which Netanyahu called a “national priority and… a national resource of great importance.”
There are plans to build some 16,000 housing units and another 2,000 hotel rooms at the site after the Sde Dov airport is closed down.