Israel’s Trump Heights gets its first inhabitants
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Israel’s Trump Heights gets its first inhabitants

Pre-military boarding school opens in Golan Heights community named in honor of US president’s recognition of area as Israeli

A sign at the community named after US President Donald Trump in the Golan Heights village of Kela Alon on November 7, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)
A sign at the community named after US President Donald Trump in the Golan Heights village of Kela Alon on November 7, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)

JTA — A boarding school for underprivileged youths in Israel was inaugurated in Trump Heights in the Golan.

The opening Thursday of the boarding school, which is designed to prepare several hundred teenagers from troubled homes for a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces, marks the first arrival of people to the community that was declared as established there in June and named after US President Donald Trump.

The United States recognized the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war, as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by Trump on March 25. The Israeli government decided to name a town for him in the Golan as a sign of appreciation and gratitude for this move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. The naming of the community after Trump has caused controversy in Israel.

About 20 families are scheduled to move to Trump Heights in the summer of 2020, the national-religious news site Srugim reported, including both observant Jewish families and secular new residents.

A plague is unveiled during a ceremony marking the opening of a pre-military academy the community named after US President Donald Trump in the Golan Heights village of Kela Alon on November 7, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The boarding school headed by Uriel Eldad will belong to the network of Mechinat Shachar, an institution that specializes in preparing high school graduates for excelling in the army.

At the Trump Heights boarding house, or mechinah, secular and observant Jewish youths will live for six months prior to their enlistment, Uriel told Srugim.

Trump Heights, which was announced when it was still uninhabited and largely unbuilt, is the second Israeli town named after an American president, with the first one being Kfar Truman, a moshav in central Israel.

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