Danny Atar: Transforming Israel from 'promised land' to land of tomorrow

#38: Danny Atar

By HANNAH HOCHNER
September 28, 2019 19:56
2 minute read.
Danny Atar: Transforming Israel from 'promised land' to land of tomorrow

Danny Atar. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

As the chairman of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Israel’s largest environmental agency, Danny Atar set goals to bring about real change for residents of the periphery – two of which are for a million Israelis to relocate to the Negev and half-a-million to the Galilee.

Atar believes that the Jewish state’s resilience depends on narrowing gaps between people in the center and outlying areas. A few months ago, the KKL-JNF board approved Atar’s “KKL-JNF 2040: Moving to the Land of Tomorrow” program, which plans to transform the Negev and Galilee into advanced hi-tech areas or local Silicon Valleys, which will attract young individuals and families from Israel and all over the world.

In an effort to implement this plan, Atar has been working on collaborations with the Israeli government, corporations and university campuses in Israel and abroad as a way to encourage new immigrants to build their homes in these developing areas, which would help strengthen the State of Israel.

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On August 14, at a ceremony to welcome the latest Nefesh B’Nefesh flight with 242 olim (new immigrants) on board – including 41 future lone soldiers – Atar said: “We view aliyah as a value of utmost importance, especially the olim who plan on serving the country and will one day create permanent homes in Israel. To help realize this dream, we are currently launching a long-term flagship program, ‘KKL-JNF 2040: Moving to the Land of Tomorrow’ aimed at bringing a million and a half new residents to the Negev and Galilee. We will do everything we can to give these young olim a stable ground during their military service, while providing the proper tools for integrating into this country to ensure the long-term success of their life in Israel.”

Atar has been responsible for initiating many important KKL-JNF programs to help kids living in the periphery, such as the House for Youth in the Galilee’s Nazareth Illit, one of ten houses that were constructed in communities in Israel’s poorer, peripheral regions as an engaging learning hub and inviting “second home.” These homes benefit and empower youth from disadvantaged communities by providing a supportive learning environment, enabling social mobility and reducing educational disparities through tutoring for matriculation exams.


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