(VIDEO AND PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife visited the northern Golan Heights on Monday. They were guests at the home of Nissim and Touri, in Aloni HaBashan, and were met with the candidate for the head of the Golan Regional Council, Mr. Eshkol Shukron.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that “The Golan is ours and we will support the development of the Golan Heights, and I know that which we invest in the Golan will be successful.
Eshkol thanked the Prime Minister for his visit and for the quiet that was maintained in the Golan and enables its residents to enjoy a safe day-to-day routine.
In addition, he said, “Our Golan will remain for eternity and we will not give it up as we are here to remain, forever. At the same time, the Golan must develop and continue to absorb new residents as well as to strengthen the community on both the personal and kehillah levels. The next decade brings us four main challenges: creating jobs and quality living for the residents of the Golan Heights. Unfortunately, most of them have to travel a significant distance today in order to earn a livelihood.
“We must also strengthen the agriculture industry, which is in serious crisis, and is a source of income for many families. Agriculture in the Golan is an important asset and must not be abandoned. Development and enhancement of tourism in the Golan as a significant source of attraction for travelers from Israel and abroad. Strengthening the health services in the Golan is important, including operating a 24/7 medical center. Mr. Prime Minister, the Government of Israel under your leadership, should continue to concentrate efforts, advance plans and invest resources so that the Golan will flourish and succeed.”
Shukron commented after the visit saying, “The visit of the Prime Minister, the questions and discussion here today, together with my familiarity with government officials and ways of raising resources, will help us – the Council and the residents – deal with a decade of challenges and significant growth of the Golan Heights and achieve unprecedented achievements.”
During the visit, Mr. Netanyahu took part in the dedication of a shul at the Ein Keshatot Archaeological Site on the Golan.
In his comments, Mr. Netanyahu made reverence to the victims of this week’s fatal terror attack in the Barkan Industrial Park in Shomron.
“We grieve today as we part from Kim Yechezkel and Ziv Hajbi, may their memories be blessed. May G-d avenge their blood. We will catch the abhorrent murderer and we will settle accounts with him. The blood of Israeli citizens will not be spilled in vain.”
The Prime Minister then referred to the situation in Iran, adding, “Today we see what is happening over the border – Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence and the aggression of terrorist fanatics. We will continue to stand strong and determined against all of these. Israel on the Golan Heights is a guarantee for stability in the surrounding area. Israel on the Golan Heights is a solid reality based on ancient rights. Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty because otherwise we would have Iran and Hezbollah on the shores of the Kinneret.
“Iran and Hezbollah are trying constantly to establish a force opposite us that would operate against the Golan Heights and the Galil. We are thwarting this and as long as it depends on me we will continue to do so.
“We will continue to act with determination against Iran’s attempts to open an additional front against us on the Golan Heights, and in Syria we will act against all attempts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“I will discuss these matters with President Putin when I meet with him soon. I decided with President Putin on the important security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military, and of course together we have developed good relations between Russia and Israel.
“I know that President Putin understands my commitment to the security of Israel and I know that he also understands the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that we all ascribe to the Golan Heights and to the heritage of Israel.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: רוני אלוש via Rotter News)