Trump Heights on Golan looking for ‘crazy pioneers with nothing to lose’

“Families who settle here must understand that accessibility in the area is not high, and that services are currently limited…,” said the director of community development.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

After President Trump formally recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019, the Israeli government established and named a town after the American president as an act of appreciation.

“In appreciation of the work of the 45th President…on behalf of the State of Israel in a wide range of fields and out of gratitude…it was decided to initiate the establishment of a new community settlement in the Golan Heights called Trump Heights,” the government said in a June 2019 statement.

But nearly a year and a half after this declaration, the Trump Heights township remains empty.

Israelis who’d like to establish their homes in Trump Heights must first send an application to the Golan Regional Council, then pass a series of screening and approval tests.

So far, 309 families have applied, but lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as governmental budget issues have made the process slow-going.

According to the original development plan, in phase one Trump Heights will house 20 families. Living conditions will be rustic – families will make do in temporary caravan homes.

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Only after various state committees approve building plans will the residents be allowed to begin constructing permanent homes.

“We are definitely looking for people who are crazy and pioneers, those who have nothing to lose,” Rotem Kabalo, director of community development at the Golan Regional Council, told Channel 12 News.

“Families who settle here must understand that accessibility in the area is not high, and that services are currently limited, but their quality of life will certainly increase.”

Daniel and Tzofit Biber, a young married couple, are scheduled to move into their Trump Heights caravan in January 2021.

“When we talked about it, we realized that we would be responsible for the name that would go out to the community,” Biber told Channel 12 News.

“The name is a historical artifact. We will be the ones responsible for the character of the settlement and our good name in the future.”

The State of Israel has invested around 10 million shekels so far in building infrastructure for the township. The community plans to welcome both secular and religious residents, as is common in many Golan Heights municipalities.