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Initial Funding Secured for Ramat Trump
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks on June 16, 2019, as the sign for the new village named for US President Donald Trump is unveiled in the Golan Heights. (Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)

Initial Funding Secured for Ramat Trump

Golan Regional Council says big plans ahead with new village named for US president

The Israeli government on Sunday approved initial funding for Ramat Trump, Hebrew for Trump Heights, a new village named after the 45th president of the United States in honor of his having recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory in March 2019.

The cabinet allocated NIS 8 million (approximately $2.3 million) to begin development at the site of the abandoned community of Beruchim. The National Planning and Building Council initially approved the establishment of Ramat Trump on August 6, 2019.

“Today, we will begin practical steps in establishing the community of Ramat Trump on the Golan Heights, Israel’s sovereignty over which was recognized by President Trump,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

Trump celebrated his 74th birthday on Sunday.

While the president is facing a tough reelection campaign and domestic instability, including the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice demonstrations, the financial commitment to developing Ramat Trump continues the warm relationship between the US administration and Israel that was bolstered by the Golan Heights recognition.

While the president is facing a tough reelection campaign and domestic instability, including the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice demonstrations, the financial commitment to developing Ramat Trump continues the warm relationship between the US administration and Israel that was bolstered by the Golan Heights recognition.

The money is to set up temporary housing for the first group of between 25 to 30 families, according to Shai Yeheskel, who oversees international relations at the Golan Regional Council. Out of the NIS 8 million, NIS 3 million will go to the Housing Ministry and NIS 5 million to the Settlement Affairs Ministry.

Ramat Trump will eventually be home to 300 families, according to Settlement Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Yeheskel told The Media Line that residents will eventually build their own housing and receive agricultural land, as well as access to irrigation.

The next step for Ramat Trump, according to Yeheskel, is the approval of more than NIS 60 million in government funds for further development.

“Once they approve that number, that big number, all the different ministries will allocate their relevant budgets to the village infrastructure, and it will actually allow the village to double its size a few times until it reaches its full potential,” Yeheskel said.

Once they approve that number, that big number, all the different ministries will allocate their relevant budgets to the village infrastructure, and it will actually allow the village to double its size a few times until it reaches its full potential

According to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the last time Israel named a community after a sitting president was for Harry Truman in 1949. Kfar Truman is a moshav in the central part of the country.

Omer Sabban, chief marketing officer at OK Digital, a marketing service based at the Golan kibbutz of Kfar Haruv, tells The Media Line he welcomed the recognition of the Golan Heights by the United States, calling the territory important to Israel. But he has reservations about the name of the new village.

“I’m really not sure why the president’s name was added to the settlement,” Sabban said. “Why is it good or why is it important? I don’t get it, so it doesn’t sit well for me.”

Sabban nevertheless hopes that Ramat Trump will bring more business to the Golan Heights, including for digital advertising agencies such as his company.

“Every human and political recognition is blessed for those who want to maintain a Jewish and Israeli settlement in the Golan Heights, as well as to promote their business and other businesses,” he said.

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