(JNS.org) While the U.N. Security Council plans to hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the newly announced Israeli construction of about 1,000 new Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly backed the building of a new Arab city to the east of Acre in northern Israel.
Ahead of Wednesday’s U.N. discussion, Netanyahu responded to critical statements regarding the planned Jerusalem construction from the U.N., EU, and the U.S., calling the comments "detached from reality" and defending Israel's right to build in its capital city.
Israel’s National Council for Planning and Building will discuss the final approval for the Arab city next week. The city would house about 40,000 people and would be the first new non-Bedouin Arab city since the founding of Israel.
“This is a great idea,” Prof. Sammy Smooha, a sociologist from the University of Haifa, told the Jerusalem Post.
“New Arab towns and villages for the Arab population are highly needed,” he added.
Smooha also praised the choice to build the Arab city in the Galilee region, given that 60 percent of Israeli Arabs live in that area.
“Its proximity to highways is another advantage… The new city should serve as a precedent to other housing solutions, including state-supported new neighborhoods in Arab towns and villages, and in Jewish cities as well as new mixed Arab-Jewish towns,” he said.