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Israel okays major plan to double its population in Golan Heights

A damaged house that was hit by a rocket north of Israeli capital Tel Aviv (Photo: ANI/Reuters)

Israel on Sunday unveiled a plan to spend more than 300 million US dollars to double its population in the Golan Heights in the coming years, local media reported on Sunday.

During a weekly cabinet meeting at the Mevo Hama community in the Golan today, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed this was the "moment" to boost the number of Jewish Israelis living in the territory. "This is our moment. This is the moment of the Golan Heights," Times of Israel quoting Bennett reported as saying. "After long and static years in terms of the scope of the settlement, our goal today is to double settlement in the Golan Heights."

According to the Times of Israel, Bennett also announced several new communities and neighbourhoods in the Golan.

The plan's goal, formulated by a team headed by the Prime Minister's Office director-general, Yair Pines, is to boost the population in the Golan Regional Council and the Katzrin Local Council in 2022-2025.

Bennett announced the plan in October, saying that the ultimate goal was to reach 100,000 residents in the coming years, the Israeli media outlet said.

At present, around 53,000 people live in the Golan Heights including 27,000 Jews, 24,000 Druze, and some 2,000 Alawites, Times of Israel reported.