Promoting pluralism and social values in northern Israel

Northern Israel is one of the country’s most beautiful and culturally diverse regions. KKL-JNF, together with its Friends worldwide, continually works to boost it socially and economically.

August 15, 2018 14:15
1 minute read.
KKL-JNF delegation at the pluralistic pre-military program in Kibbutz Hannaton

KKL-JNF delegation at the pluralistic pre-military program in Kibbutz Hannaton. (photo credit: LILAH WEISS KKL-JNF)


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On August 9th KKL-JNF’s Fundraising Division embarked upon a tour of projects on the verge of implementation in Israel’s Galilee region, each of which touches upon a different aspect of life in the region. Their common denominator is the promotion of a pluralistic, egalitarian and values-based society. The group visited the Friendship House in Kiryat Bialik, the pluralistic pre-military preparation program at Kibbutz Hannaton, the Yad LaBanim Druze memorial center in Daliyat al-Karmel and the Horn of Carmel Recreation Area in Mount Carmel Forest.

The Friendship House in Kiryat Bialik In Kiryat Bialik’s Tzur Shalom neighborhood, construction of a new community center that will serve Ethiopian-Israeli residents, the city and its environs as a social hub and venue for cultural activities is almost complete. This shared initiative has been implemented jointly by a number of organizations including KKL-JNF, the United Jewish Israel Appeal in Britain, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Israel Lands Administration and the Kiryat Bialik Municipality.

Working in conjunction with the municipality, KKL-JNF will carry out landscaping and development work around this new community center, whose design is inspired by the traditional Ethiopian tukul. Landscaping will include tree planting, the provision of paths and seating areas and, at local residents’ request, infrastructure for a community garden. This environmental development will enable the city and its community to hold open-air events and extend local residents’ knowledge of Israeli and Ethiopian heritage and culture.

The new structure will provide space for the activities of the nearby absorption services bureau, which was established four years ago and is managed today by Ora Tessema, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of ten. For her, this is the closing of a circle: “Back then, when we arrived here, no one had immigrated before us, and it was very hard for us linguistically. Today the absorption services bureau is open to the public: people come along every day and receive all the services they need – the ministry of housing, the ministry of absorption, and interpreting services – and the social welfare ministry sends us people, too. We serve as a bridge to all the government institutions, and they turn to us for help on all kinds of subjects.”

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