Kara, Ariel tour Druse villages in Golan, seek solution for loss of exports to Syria

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February 4, 2016 20:27

The farmers produce around 40,000 tons of apples per year and 3,000 tons of cherries.

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 Deputy Foreign Minister and acting Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara with Agriculture Minist

Deputy Foreign Minister and acting Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara with Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara told Druse farmers in the Golan Heights on Thursday he would seek to obtain government subsidies for them to divert produce they once exported to Syria, to other Arab world destinations via Jordan.

The farmers whose orchards yield about 40,000 tons of apples and 3,000 tons of cherries each year, have been unable to market these supplies to Syria as in the past due to the raging civil war there.

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Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who Kara had joined for a tour of the Golan villages, promised at their meetings with municipal leaders and professionals, to look into complaints by the Druse that they were paying more for water than elsewhere in the country.

Separately, Kara represented the government at a ceremony held on Thursday in memory of the 44 people who perished in the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire.

Kara said that in the wake of that disaster Israeli firefighters have become possibly among the best in the world, boasting a squadron of 12 firefighting planes capable also of responding to regional calamities.

Israel extended Israeli law to the Golan in 1981 (in an action often referred to as annexation), territory controlled by Syria until its capture in the Six Day War. Many of the Druse though have kept up ties with Syria where they have close relatives, and their offspring often attended university, until a 2011 revolt against President Bashar Assad triggered a continuing war that has hurt these ties.

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