A new professional forum for the economic advancement of Beersheba has been set up and held its first meeting last week, reports www.local.co.il. The forum, the initiative of Deputy Mayor and holder of the business licensing portfolio Tal Elal, aims to create "reciprocal discussions" between business owners and the various authorities responsible for them, with the intention of reducing misunderstandings and enabling businesses to function better. According to the report, Elal initiated the forum as a framework to enable regular, continuous and friendly discussions to be held that would help the city's businesses function and grow. "I believe that only in this way is it possible to reach understandings and agreements and to simplify bureaucratic processes, and it is the commitment of the city of Beersheba to provide the platform for this connection," Elal said. The report said the forum comprises representatives from the Ministries of Health, Environmental Protection and the Interior, as well as police, firefighters and the municipal engineering and business licensing branches. It said the first meeting, held last week, focused on reception centers and gardens, with Mayor Rubik Danilovitch instructing the forum to discuss how best to help these businesses after they were hard hit financially by Operation Cast Lead earlier this year.