1 Billion NIS plan to strengthen Israel’s presence in Golan Heights

December 27, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s government held a special Cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights on Sunday and approved a NIS 1 billion plan to strengthen Israeli communities and double the population in the area.

PM Naftali Bennett (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lauded the “dramatic government decision” and said that “many Israelis have discovered that it is possible to work from home and that it is not necessary to live in the centre of the country. In this context, the Golan Heights can be a wonderful option for whoever wants clean air, space and quality of life.”

The plan marks 40 years since Israeli law was applied to the Golan Heights in 1981, and its goal is to double the population of the Golan Heights. To this end, the city of Katzrin will receive an addition of two new neighbourhoods.

Similarly, two new communities on the Golan Heights, Asif and Matar, will be established with 2,000 families each. The project calls for the construction of some 7,300 housing units in total.

More than NIS 500 million is allocated for planning and housing. Another NIS 162 million is for regional development, including tourism, industry, and commerce. Some NIS 160 million will be for improving the quality of life – transportation, medical care and other aspects of life.

“The Golan Heights will be very green in one sense and, in effect, will become the technological capital of renewable energy in Israel,” Bennett stated.

“The Golan Heights, the need to strengthen, cultivate and live in it, is certainly a principle that unites everyone here,” declared Bennett. However, Issawi Frej, Minister of Regional Cooperation of the Meretz party, boycotted the meeting over his opposition to Israeli construction in the Golan Heights.

“To the Israelis who are looking for a place to build their home, I say – the Heights are waiting for you; come to the Golan,” he concluded.

Bennett was forced to leave the meeting in the middle upon receiving an update that his daughter has tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and Deputy Prime Minister Gideon Saar took over.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha Bitton was completely absent from the cabinet meeting due to her daughter testing positive for the Coronavirus.

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