First residents describe life in the Golan Heights town named after embattled ex-president.
By World Israel News Staff
Trump Heights has blossomed into a thriving community in the three years since the then-non-existent Golan Heights town was named after the former American president, the Israel Hayom Hebrew-language daily reported on Thursday.
Local residents of the new community were interviewed for the newspaper’s weekend supplement to mark the anniversary of Trump Height’s inauguration in 2019.
In June 2019, the Israeli cabinet under the Netanyahu government voted on a resolution to “initiate establishment of a new residential community on the Golan Heights to be named for U.S President Donald Trump.”
The move was in recognition of the president’s efforts on behalf of Israel, including recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital as well as Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights.
When it was first inaugurated, Trump Heights was nothing more than a patch of grass in the rolling hills of the Golan Heights. Around twenty families moved there in the summer of 2020, from both secular and religious backgrounds and a boarding school for underprivileged youths prior to their enlistment was inaugurated the previous year.
According to the report, the newly established town hopes to see an additional 99 homes built in the next five years.
“What pioneers we are,” local resident Alik Goldberg quipped, “we now have internet here, not alike your internet in Tel Aviv, and deliveries come straight from the supermarket.”
Goldberg, however, is not a fan of America’s 45th president but admits that recognizing the Golan was crucial for Israel’s continued security.
“Trump’s personality is problematic for me, but in the end he will also be remembered for his American recognition of the Golan Heights – a significant milestone regarding where I live today,” he said.
“In 2022, it’s a challenge to speak in terms of pure Zionism, but the small operation of establishing a settlement is still significant in itself, especially in this part of the country.”
Ariel, 40, admits he was afraid of the long distances moving to Trump Heights entailed. His three children live with their mother in the center of the country while his parents are in Jerusalem.
But Trump Height’s religious-secular mix appealed to Ariel, who is an observant Jew, and his second wife Dafna. who is secular.
“We want to show that you can live life differently, without the arguments and division. Our family is proof of that,” she said, but expressed her concerns about whether to send the children to a religious or secular school.
The Golan Heights was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War after the Syrians had amassed troops on what was formerly the border.
During the 19 years after the State of Israel was established, Syrian snipers and artillery used the Heights to fire at Israeli civilians below.
In 1981, the Israeli parliament passed legislation extending Israeli law to the strategic plateau.