NORTH Fifty communities in the northern region are set to participate in an afternoon educational enrichment program for children aged three to eight, in the upcoming school year. According to the Local website, lessons, insights and feedback accumulated from last year have resulted in a new and improved program that is diverse, rich and principled.“The plan is a huge achievement and an extraordinary success, far exceeding expectations,” wrote Dr. Orna Simhon, the Education Ministry’s northern district director, in a letter to supervisors, school principals and kindergartens participating in the program. “This program gives added educational value at a high level, and is an influential and strategic tool for learning, education, values, achievements and successes, and also in reducing gaps in the northern district, which is a peripheral district, multicultural and decentralized with various demographics and ethnicities – more than any other district,” the Local website quoted Simhon as saying in the letter.The average number of pupils – both Hebrewand Arabic-speaking children – per class is 26 in kindergartens; 30 in first and second grades; and eight in special education. Each school will appoint an institutional program coordinator.Man falls off boat and is injured by propeller A 21-year-old man was critically injured Sunday after falling off a boat near the Holiday Inn beach at Lake Kinneret, and hitting the propeller of a motor boat.Magen David Adom paramedics rushed to the scene together with a mobile intensive care unit. The paramedics provided medical care before evacuating the man to Poriya Hospital, in serious condition and with an abdominal injury.CENTER European teens in Israel for leadership program Twenty-eight European Jewish teenagers arrived in Israel last week in the framework of a young leadership program run by the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the European Jewish Congress and World ORT Kadima Mada, in cooperation with the Alexander Muss School in Hod Hasharon. The program aims to provide participants with training to become future Jewish leaders in the Diaspora.The program consists of three parts: a week-long team-building seminar in London, a seminar in Strasbourg and a two-week program in Israel. World ORT Kadima Mada stated that the teenagers, aged 16 to 18, underwent a rigorous selection process to be accepted to the program. They will be studying the history, tradition and heritage of Israel, and gaining leadership skills; after completing the program, each participant will conduct a personal leadership project in their local community.Program participants traveled to Israel from countries throughout Europe, including: Turkey, Belarus, Italy, Slovakia, Russia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia and more.The teenagers will visit sites throughout Israel, such as the Western Wall and City of David, Mount Herzl, Masada, the Negev, the Galilee and Tel Aviv. During their visit, they will learn about the history and heritage of the Jewish people, Zionist and biblical leaders, the State of Israel, the challenges facing Israel today and the Jewish state’s relationship with the Diaspora Boy criticaLlY injured in fall from Nahshonit Park climbing wall A boy fell from a climbing wall in Nahshonit Park, a United Hatzalah spokesman said Sunday.“A 14-year-old boy fell from a climbing wall and injured his head. We administered first aid on the scene and brought him to the hospital in critical condition,” a medic on the scene said. TEL AVIV gallery owners get behind Horowitz for mayor Gallery owners in Tel Aviv this week announced their support for MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) in his candidacy for city mayor.In a meeting with Horowitz, representatives described their long struggle against the municipality policy of high taxes, and their threat to boycott upcoming city cultural events such as “Loving Art Making Art” and “White Night” if the problem is not resolved.Horowitz expressed his commitment to addressing the galleries’ issues and, first and foremost, to setting a special property tax classification for galleries and artists in the city. “A strong society is built on a strong culture. The local authority should cherish artists, upon whom the culture is based, and help them to foster their creativity – and not just see them as a business or target of tax collection,” Horowitz said.“Under my leadership, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will change the current situation, where there are thousands of artists and gallery owners crushed by the oppressive and exploitative policies of [Tel Aviv Mayor] Ron Huldai,” he added. “If I am voted in, I will change their status for property taxes, I will budget for community projects and I will advance the use of public buildings for artists and galleries, for longterm rent at reasonable fees.”Gallery owners heading the campaign said that after years of hardship and struggle, it was time to make a difference and to “stop exploitative and opaque policies of the municipality towards galleries in the city.”“For years, the municipality has used us to draw tourists and brand the city as a cultural center open for the enjoyment of visitors, free of charge, throughout the week. But in reality, we are treated as commercial businesses, and we are breaking under the financial burden,” they stated. “Today, after Nitzan Horowitz expressed commitment to change the situation and support the galleries as an integral part of the city’s cultural scene, we express our support for him in the mayoral election.”SOUTH Traffic police launch road safety initiative for Eilat-bound drivers The Israel Police last week launched a road safety operation on the Arava Road, which thousands of people use during the summer on their way to and from Eilat. Police explained that the length of the road, the intense heat of the desert and the traffic make for a hazardous journey. The national traffic police have therefore increased its presence on the road, added two new rest stops for drivers and passengers, and will also be conducting advocacy initiatives.“The aim of the activities is to increase awareness of safe driving and stopping on the way to rest. Driving and fatigue do not go well together,” explained the commander of Eilat’s traffic police unit, Supt. Mati Sofer. “The refreshment stations will be operated by police, alongside volunteers, who will explain to drivers about road safety, and distribute cold water and leaflets on the issues of seat belts, vehicle maintenance and alertness.At the rest station, we are not conducting enforcement but providing information.”Sofer said that since the journey to Eilat is long, he recommends that drivers prepare accordingly, by checking their vehicles properly, sleeping well before the trip and starting on the journey as refreshed as possible, and ensuring that seat belts and other safety devices are suitable for the ages of children traveling in the car.Kiryat Gat woman suspected of beating baby daughter Police last week arrested a Kiryat Gat resident on suspicion of beating her baby daughter and causing her serious injuries.The one-year-old baby was hospitalized in Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, suffering from two fractures in her leg.The hospital reported the case to police, which subsequently arrested the baby’s mother. The suspect denies the allegations.