Bennett at the Golan Conf.
Bennett at the Golan Conf.Kobi Gideon / GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday announced plans to massively increase the number of Israelis living in the Golan Heights, including the establishment of new towns in the strategic area on Israel’s northern border.

Speaking at Makor Rishon’s Golan Conference Monday morning, Bennett said his government is moving forward with a plan to double, then quadruple the number of Israelis living in the Golan Heights from roughly 26,000 to 100,000.

The plan, Bennett said, will include the establishment of two new towns in the Golan, as well as expansion of existing communities and investment in local infrastructure.

“The development of the Golan is a national interest,” Bennett said. “It is not enough to say ‘The people are with the Golan,’ the government also has to support the Golan. We have that kind of government now. [Justice Minister] Gideon Sa’ar is a true friend of the Golan, and is one of the biggest supporters of strengthening and settling the Golan.”

“Our goal is to double the settlement in the Golan. In another six weeks, we will hold a government meeting in the area, during which we will approve a national program for the Golan Heights, with its goal being to go from 26,000 residents to 50,000, and then from 50,000 to 100,000; to establish two new towns in the Golan Heights, to create new jobs and to significantly invest in infrastructure.”