The $2 million figure is a guess because this
news item cri de coeur in the Times of Israel about the sale of parts of the Valley of Elah to developers does not actually specify a price, and that price regardless would be in shekels. The bottom line is that Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey, has a serious housing crisis. That means that “historic” / Biblical places like the hills overlooking the area where David supposedly slew Goliath are seen as potential Great Homes and Destinations.
As you can imagine, not everyone is pleased:
This gorgeous, untouched valley, where David fought Goliath is full of nature’s treasures, archeological gems, majestic views, and stunning bike paths. It is the home of Lupine Hill. Families hike here, bikers get away from life here and everyone who passes through really feels as though they are in God’s country. And yet, the pristine hills overlooking it are slated to be destroyed.
Bowing to pressure from certain interested groups, the previous mayor of Bet Shemesh reneged on his promise to establish a national park in the area and instead zoned it for high density residential building — an extension of Ramat Bet Shemesh. Despite other options for housing in Bet Shemesh such as pinui v binui, these plans are being pushed through.
The plans are not environmentally sound, nor are they varied and meant for all types of residents. They are highly dense apartment buildings with narrow streets, extremely few green spaces and with no additional infrastructure to serve the tens of thousands of new residents.
“Built up” is not entirely the same thing as “destroyed,” and people do need places to live, right? Still, the character of the hills will certainly change upon being rezoned, and I can appreciate how locals might find that distressing. How much do you suppose Golgotha would go for on the open market?