Arts center in Golan Heights to be named for fmr. US ambassador David Friedman

The arts center is being named after Friedman to signify the importance of the Trump administration's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

 Israeli soldiers look towards Syria across the border from Mount Bental before a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights November 19, 2020. (photo credit: PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Israeli soldiers look towards Syria across the border from Mount Bental before a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights November 19, 2020.
(photo credit: PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL VIA REUTERS)

A performing arts center in the Golan Heights will be named for former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Regional Council head Haim Rokach wrote in a letter to Friedman last week. 

During Friedman's tenure under the Trump administration, the US recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with a new community being established there following the declaration called Ramat Trump (Trump Heights.)  

"This was a historical achievement for the Golan," Rokach wrote, "completing the application of the Israeli law to the Golan Heights by former prime minister Menachem Begin in 1981.

"This was a historical achievement for the Golan, completing the application of the Israeli law to the Golan Heights by former prime minister Menachem Begin in 1981."

Golan Regional Council Head Haim Rokach

"President Trump's recognition and the publicity accompanying it were a rare opportunity to expose the Golan'spotential ot the world," he added, which included "an accelerated process of development... aiming to double the Jewish population of the Golan and bolster its position as a significant and strategic region."

 Israeli singer Karolina (49) performs at the first live concert in front of an audience after 3 Covid-19 virus lockdowns at the Znobar Cultural Center near Moshav Kidmat Zvi, Golan Heights. March 10, 2021. (credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90) Israeli singer Karolina (49) performs at the first live concert in front of an audience after 3 Covid-19 virus lockdowns at the Znobar Cultural Center near Moshav Kidmat Zvi, Golan Heights. March 10, 2021. (credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

“I grew up often hearing the refrain ‘Ha’am im HaGolan’ and I am immensely proud that the United States now recognizes exactly that," Friedman said. “I am so honored that the Golan Heights Performing Arts Center will bear my name. I hope that this magnificent facility will draw millions of Israelis and tourists to the Golan for many years to come.”

What happened after Trump? 

The first family moved into Ramat Trump in April of last year, nearly two years after the announcement was made. The town’s first – and, as of then, only – family is the Biebers: Daniel, his wife Tzofit, and their two-month-old daughter, Noam Odelia. Since then, 10 families have already completed the acceptance process to live in the new town. 

The Golan Heights borders both Lebanon and Syria and are considered, by most of the international community to be occupied territory, signifying to a greater degree the magnitude of the US' announcement four years ago.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) takes Senator Lindsey Graham and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on a tour of the Golan Heights on March 11 (credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) takes Senator Lindsey Graham and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on a tour of the Golan Heights on March 11 (credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

Some 50,000 people live in the Heights, according to Rokach, spreading over an area of a little over 100,000 hectares and includes Jewish heritage sites, agriculture and tourist attractions.  

What will the center include? 

The dedication of the center in his name, according to Rokach, is a recognition of Friedman's role in this historic move: "I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to you for leading to the American recognition of the Golan as an Israeli region." 

The community center serves as a meeting place for artists and creators, as well as for community cultural events. It will be called "The Friedman Center for the Performing Arts, Lev HaGolan Complex." 

The unveiling will take place on October 25