Revitalizing Israel’s Periphery: KKL-JNF leaders discuss ‘Israel 2040’

With the advent of working from home and remote locations, It no longer matters where an employer is situated. “Someone can hire an employee that is living in Zefat or Kiryat Shemona."

KKL Israel 2040: The coronavirus crisis as an opportunity for Diaspora Jewry (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
KKL Israel 2040: The coronavirus crisis as an opportunity for Diaspora Jewry
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
In a panel discussion with Steve Linde, editor of the Jerusalem Report, at the Jerusalem Post’s virtual conference, ‘COVID-19 and the Jews: Challenges and Opportunities, a group of leading KKL-JNF executives explained the strategic significance of the organization’s ‘Israel 2040’ plan, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Itzhak Mirone, head of the Israel 2040 program, said that Israel’s emergence as the startup nation and as a high-tech power has not extended to the country’s peripheral regions of the Galilee and the Negev. Israel 2040 is aimed at relocating 1.5 million people over the next 20 years to these areas and creating a high-tech ecosystem in Israel’s north and south, with the Israeli government and the world Jewish communities as major partners. 

Karine Bolton, director of international relations for KKL-JNF pointed out that despite the economic turmoil in the world today, Jewish communities around the world “have answered the call,” and are investing in the program. She added that since the pandemic began, there has been a marked rise in interest in Aliyah – between 30% and 40% – from potential olim in the United States. 
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Itzhak Mirone said that paradoxically, in some ways, the impact of the coronavirus has been a positive one. With the advent of working from home and remote locations, high-tech companies in Israel’s center are no longer concerned where their employees actually live. “Someone can hire an employee that is living in Zefat or Kiryat Shemona. It no longer matters where the employer is situated.” Mirone added that Israel 2040 is focusing on concentrating and supporting technology initiatives relating to the Corona pandemic. 
Dr. Dan Marom, chief strategist of Israel 2040 and a faculty member at the business school of Hebrew said that the program is much more than a theoretical plan. Just last week, KKL-JNF launched its first innovation center near the Sea of Galilee, and more are on the way.