Israel approves NIS 3 billion plan for Druze, Circassian communities

The Druze and Circassian Empowerment Program includes a massive investment in infrastructure and construction of villages.

Druze-Israelis protest the Nation-State Law (photo credit: REUTERS)
Druze-Israelis protest the Nation-State Law
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Israeli government approved on Sunday a NIS 3 billion three-year budget to improve the quality of life of Druze and Circassian communities in Israel.

The budget, dubbed the Druze and Circassian Empowerment Program, includes hundreds of millions of shekels set for planning and construction of Druze villages in northern Israel and investment in the local education system, infrastructure and transportation.

In addition, the budget also includes several programs for young Druze and Circassians, including a program for their integration into the Israeli hi-tech sector and subsidization of up to NIS 400,000 of land plots for discharged IDF soldiers.

The Druze and Circassian Empowerment Program was led by Yisrael Beitenu's Hamed Amer, a minister in the Finance Ministry, in collaboration with several ministries and the Socio-Economic Development Authority.

Following the government's approval, Amar said the "unprecedented" program will "lead to growth and prosperity in Druze local councils after two years of financial neglect."

"It is time for the State of Israel to invest those sums of money in areas that are important to the Druze and Circassian communities," Amar added.

 Minister in the Finance Ministry Hamed Amer on April 23, 2013 (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90) Minister in the Finance Ministry Hamed Amer on April 23, 2013 (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

In 2020, opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu's former government approved a NIS 50 million proposal to provide financial funds for supporting Druze and Circassian villages throughout the country.

"The program provides the tools that will assist in the growth and development of Druze and Circassian local councils," Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman stated.

"The aim is to encourage the development of villages to bring them full autonomy and independence of their economy," Liberman added.