President Donald Trump received a present from Israel on his 74th birthday. The Israeli government approved funding on Sunday to begin construction on “Trump Heights,” a new town in the Golan Heights.
“The initiative to establish a new Golan Heights settlement to be named after President Donald Trump expresses gratitude for his work for the State of Israel and the Golan Heights,” a statement by the government read. The gesture will help to further strengthen political ties between Tel-Aviv and Washington, it added
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Trump administration for recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights at the start of the cabinet meeting, before members voted in favor of a budget for building the settlement, the “Jerusalem Post” reported. Netanyahu previously announced the plans for Ramat Trump — Hebrew for “Trump Heights” — last year and unveiled a sign with gold lettering on the planned site.
Metro Voice owners Dwight and Anita Widaman were present at the November, 2019 ceremony that inaugurated the project. The ceremony brought together Arab, Jewish, Christian and Druze leaders from the region who supported the development as a sign of peace and stability for their communities.
Established more than 30 years ago, the original neighborhood, previously known as Bruchim, was home to less than a dozen people. The plans for the new modern town, which will house 300 families, have been budgeted at 8 million shekels ($2.3 million), the report said.
READ: Why the Golan Heights are important to Israel
Netanyahu on Sunday also praised Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for authorizing sanctions against anyone involved in an International Criminal Court investigation of Americans or U.S. allies. He said the international court “made up absurd accusations against Israel, including the outrageous claim that the presence of Jews in the heart of our homeland is a war crime.”
“I thank President Trump and the American government again for standing on the side of truth and justice,” the prime minister said, according to the report.
The construction of ‘Trump Heights’ will kick off in less than a month, with some 20 families expected to move into the newly built homes later this year. Netanyahu promised a year ago that a settlement in the Golan Heights would be named after the US president following Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area. The Golan Heights, which was always part of Israel in antiquity, came back under Israeli control after the 1967 6-Day War. In that war, Syria and several other formidable Arab nations invaded Israel only to be defeated. Syria had used the Golan Heights to bombard Israeli communities for twenty years prior.
Trump Heights is the only the second Israeli town named after an American president, with the first one being Kfar Truman, a moshav in central Israel.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice