The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Golan Heights.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet convened in this hamlet Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) June 16, 2019
The settlement isn’t exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30 years old and has a population of 10 people.
Israel is hoping the rebranded “Ramat Trump,” Hebrew for “Trump Heights,” will encourage a wave of residents to vastly expand it.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who attended Sunday’s ceremony. Noting that Trump celebrated his birthday on Friday, he said: “I can’t think of a more appropriate and a more beautiful birthday present.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in 1981. Most of the international community considers the move illegal under international law.
But during a visit to Washington by Netanyahu in March, just weeks before Israeli elections, Trump signed an executive order recognizing the strategic mountainous plateau as Israeli territory. The decision, the latest in a series of diplomatic moves benefiting Israel, was widely applauded in Israel.
“Few things are more important to the security of the state of Israel than permanent sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Friedman said. “It is simply obvious, it is indisputable and beyond any reasonable debate.”
After the Cabinet decision, Netanyahu and Friedman unveiled a sign trimmed in gold with the name “Trump Heights” and adorned with U.S. and Israeli flags.
Addressing the ceremony, Netanyahu called Trump a “great friend” of Israel and described the Golan, which overlooks northern Israel, as an important strategic asset.
“The Golan Heights was and will always be an inseparable part of our country and homeland,” he said.
Developing Ramat Trump will not be easy. Ringed by high yellow grass and landmines, it is roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Syrian border and a half hour drive from the nearest Israeli town, Kiryat Shmona, a community of about 20,000 people near the Lebanese border.
It’s official: first step for TRUMP HEIGHTS, a town that will be built here in the Golan Heights. The relationship between 🇮🇱 and 🇺🇸 is truly stronger than ever! Thank you @realDonaldTrump! @USAmbIsrael @DanScavino pic.twitter.com/TxBY0SDCTB
— Topaz Luk 🇮🇱 (@TopazLuk) June 16, 2019