Israel OKs plans to build first new Druze town since ’48

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has approved a plan to build a new Druze town in the North.

The plan, an initiative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was approved Tuesday by the National Planning and Building Council, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, and will be located near Tiberias.

Netanyahu said in a statement that it will be the first Druze town built in Israel since the state’s founding in 1948.

The town “will advance the Druze population economically and socially,” he said.

There are 18 recognized Druze towns — 14 in the Galilee and four in the Golan. The towns are built on the slopes of hills and suffer from significant planning limitations due to their locations near nature reserves.

The new town is set to be built near an urban area on land that is suitable for development and close to centers of employment.

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