Druze community in Israel will have new town

Yarka, a Druze village in Israel's northYarka, a Druze village in Israel’s north

Israel’s National Council for Building and Planning has approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s initiative to establish a new Druze town in the north of the country.

The decision to establish the Druze town was taken with the support of the heads of the Druze authorities and Druze religious councils, as well as the backing of Ayoob Kara, Deputy Minister for the development of the Druze and Circassian sectors.

According to Netanyahu, this will be the first new Druze town to be built by the state since 1948.

Additionally, this will be the first time in 130 years that a new Druze community will be established in the territory of what is now Israel.

There are currently 18 Druze towns recognized by the state – four in the Golan and 14 in the Galilee.

The new town will be established as a community settlement that will initially consist of 400 housing units. Over the long term, the town will be able to expand gradually.

It will be located near the city of Tiberias at a site close to existing infrastructure and a network of national roads.

Most existing Druze towns were built on mountainsides, meaning that they suffer from planning restrictions due to their proximity to nature reserves. As a result, the new town will be established near urban infrastructure on ground that is suitable for development and close to areas where there are employment opportunities.

The Druze minority consists of around 130,000 people.

They have an especially high representation in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF),  most serving in combat units and many achieving high rank as officers.