Daniel Atar, head of KKL, spoke to the Maariv 2019 Conference, and recalled his words from just a few months ago: "When we met here three months ago, it was election eve, and then, we talked about how, on the eve of elections, we were not dealing with challenges and threats from home and abroad. We then focused on the departure of our youth from the Galilee and the Negev.” Atar said that if the situation continues, Israel will remain in the same precarious position. “Research points that the increasing gaps between the periphery and the center, will continue and deepen.”Atar noted that while the State of Israel is considered one of the leading countries in the field of technology, 93% of high-tech is based in Tel Aviv. “How are the residents in the Galilee and the Negev feeling?” he said. Atar said that these gaps have been discussed for year, but nothing changes. “KKL, which was established 120 years ago to redeem lands in the Holy Land, has decided to change and take on the greatest challenge of the State of Israel. It may not be our job, but we have decided to take it upon ourselves, and to assist and possibly force the State of Israel in bringing new residents to the Negev and Galilee,” declared Atar.
Atar announced that KKL has built a three-step plan, which includes the JNF, the State of Israel and the Jewish world. “In all the challenges facing Israel, the Jewish world has always been able to stabilize and be an influence,” said Atar. “When I travel the world introducing the Israel 2040 program, I come across two groups. One is an enthusiastic group and another group says that they very much want to help but claim that the relationship with the State of Israel is hindering it. "Atar asserted that a lack of state planning is hurting Israel’s goals. He said that KKL is opposed to the ‘Mechir Lemishtaken’ affordable housing program in its current form, because it encourages young people from the Negev and the Galilee to depart and go to the country’s center. In addition, he said, people in the country’s center receive a much higher amount than those living in the periphery. "How can a city run an education and employment system with 10,000 residents," Atar continued. "What is the difference between Afula and other peripheral cities? It is because Afula has 50,000 residents and it can run independently. I am aware of at least four mayors who try their hardest to make their city weaker, in order to get more support from the state. Does that make sense? Our agenda is distorted.”
Danny Atar, head of KKL, speaks at the Maariv 2019 Conference