Israel's First New Arab City on Its Way to Becoming a Reality

National planning council approves the project to build a home for 40,000 in the western Galilee.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
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A construction site in the Galilee.
A construction site in the Galilee.Credit: Eyal Toueg
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

The National Planning and Building Council on Tuesday approved the establishment of the first new Arab city in Israel’s history, a key hurdle before construction can begin.

The city, to be built in the western Galilee near the town of Jdeideh Makr, is designed to accommodate around 40,000 people.

The plan now goes to the regional planning committee for comments, before being sent back to the national council for final approval. It would then go to the cabinet for approval.

The cabinet launched the program six years ago by instructing an interministerial task force to draft plans for a new Arab city. The idea was pushed in particular by the Housing Ministry and the Israel Land Authority.

But in drafting the plan, the Interior Ministry was careful not to call the new community a city, apparently to avoid political opposition from anyone who might object to a new Arab city. Instead, the community was defined as an “urban expanse” and later as an “urban space.”

The city is geared toward middle-class people more eager to live in high-rise urban apartments than in a traditional Arab village. Still, the new city won’t be comprised entirely of high-rises, the Interior Ministry said.

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