US PRESIDENT Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they pose in the Rose Garden at the White House this week.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
The government has already found a location for the establishment of a new community in the Golan Heights that will be named after US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the outset of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
The prime minister – who said last month that a community in the Golan Heights would be named after Trump as a sign of appreciation for his decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the strategic heights – said that he will bring the name to the cabinet for its approval when the community is established.
Makor Rishon reported last week that the community, which will be a mixed secular-religious settlement that in its first stage will number some 120 families, will be set up in the northern Golan at Beruchim, where plans for a previous settlement were approved in 1991, and where there have been unsuccessful efforts over the years to establish a community. Beruchim is near the existing community of Kela Alon.
There are currently 33 towns and villages in the Golan, with the last one – Nimrod – established in 1999. Of the 33 communities, all but four were established by Labor governments from 1967, when Israel took control over the area, until 1977, when Likud first came to power.
According to CBS figures, there were 50,000 residents in the Golan in 2017, of which some 23,000 were Jews and 27,000 were non-Jews.
Netanyahu also pointed out that this week marks a year since the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and that it has now also moved the official residence of the ambassador to the city as well.
“We very much appreciate this historic decision by President Trump, just as we greatly appreciate his historic decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also informed the cabinet that he will ask for an extension from President Reuven Rivlin to form a coalition.
“Such an extension is not only acceptable, it is also necessary in view of the constraints of the calendar this time of year – the intermediate days of [Passover], Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day, Independence Day and the security events around the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Rivlin is empowered to give Netanyahu an extension of 14 days to form a government, in addition to the initial 28 days that will expire on Wednesday.
Netanyahu did not discuss last week’s “security events around the Gaza Strip” in his opening comments.
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