A ‘great honor’: Trump thanks Israel for new town in his name

“This is an act of settlement and of Zionism of the first order,” Netanyahu said at unveiling of new ‘Trump Heights’ community in the Golan.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. President Donald Trump thanked the Israeli government Sunday for naming a newly approved community in the Golan Heights after him.

“Thank you PM Netanyahu and the State of Israel for this great honor!” he tweeted after posting a clip of the festive ceremony at the proposed site, which was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Friedman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a huge sign, saying “Trump Heights” in both Hebrew and English, which was decorated with crossed Israeli and American flags.

Friedman said that the honor was “an extraordinary gesture” towards the president that “is well-deserved, but it is much appreciated.” He also called it a wonderful birthday present for Trump, who turned 73 last week.

At the special cabinet meeting that gathered at the northern Golan location to officially approve the first step toward building a new village, Netanyahu called it “a historic day” for two reasons.

The first was that it has been “many years,” as he put it, since a new community was established in the region, which only contains some 25,000 Jews in 30 kibbutzim and moshavim and one town.

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“This is an act of settlement and of Zionism of the first order,” said Netanyahu, in a place that “was and always will be an inseparable part of our country.”

“The second thing,” he said, “is to honor our friend, a very great friend of the State of Israel, President Donald Trump, who recently recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He is the first international leader to have done so. He tore the mask off this hypocrisy, which does not recognize what is self-evident.”

The prime minister also mentioned other gestures Trump has made that have been important to Israel, which include moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, exiting the nuclear deal with Iran, and “standing steadfast against Iranian aggression in the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the region in general.”

This is the first time that Israel has named a place for a sitting president since 1949, when the new state called a moshav Kfar Truman in honor of the president who had recognized the State of Israel just minutes after it was declared the previous year.

The initial plans call for a mixed religious-secular community of 120 families.