Israel on Tuesday unveiled its first ever city with a Druze majority established in the country.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked declared the community of Maghar as an official city during a meeting with the heads of the Druze and Circassian authorities.
The local council is set to have its status upgraded due to its economic and organizational development. The new status will also grant more powers to the municipality and the mayor. Among other considerations were the average income of the residents, which is similar to that of cities and meet the criteria of the Interior Ministry.
Maghar is a mixed community, the Druze account for about 57% of the 24,000 people living in it, with the rest being Muslims (21.4%) and Christians (21%). Among its famous residents is coalition member and Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas.
There are other communities in Israel where the majority of the population is Druze, but they are significantly smaller than Maghar, population-wise, and cannot be declared as cities.
According to the approved plans, Maghar is expected to hit 30,000 residents in the next few years.
According to Shaked, the declaration may improve the image of the community and its attractiveness when it comes to development, employment and trade.
At the meeting held in the local authority of Sajor, also attended by the head of Maghar council, Shaked surprised the officials with the decision, saying, "any authority that proves itself in development, improves its organizational processes, economic growth, and increases individual income - will receive our assistance and support".
"Maghar demonstrated it deserves to move forward and become an important city in Israel. This is yet another proof of the brave and strong connection between the Druze community and the Jewish people, this partnership is expressed not only in confidence but in the lives of citizens," Shaked added.