The Israeli government on Sunday approved a plan to develop the Golan Heights and encourage migration through increased employment opportunity in the area.As part of the plan, the Agriculture Ministry will invest about NIS 50 million to improve and upgrade infrastructure that will help make the Golan a global center of knowledge in advanced and Artificial Intelligence-based agriculture. At present, agriculture constitutes more than 50% of the region’s economy. Oded Forer, Agriculture Minister and Rural Development explained, "the Golan is a strategic and economic asset that today does not realize its potential. Through this revolutionary government decision, the Golan will become a center of knowledge and innovation that will provide new jobs, maximize the well-being of old residents and attract young people to rural settlement."
In recent years, the Golan Heights has experienced the lowest population growth rate in the country with an increase of fewer than 14,000 inhabitants between 2005-2020. This investment hopes to change that.
The project will include an initial allocation of NIS 35 million between 2022-2025 for the renovation of public buildings and infrastructure, along with plans to build a complex in Katzrin that could potentially include an academic institution for veterinary medicine, an agriculture park, and an abandoned animal care center. The Ministry will also publish a call for projects related to the furtherance of knowledge-intensive agriculture in the Golan that will become a significant source of income for its residents.
In 2021, the Agriculture Ministry also invested about NIS 18 million in the development of rural space in Israel. Their investment included 8 regional innovation centers, 26 regional tourism projects and 60 rural planning and development projects.