City Notes: Gov’t approves 1st stage of investment plan for Druse, Circassian communities

A roundup of local stories, from Tiberias to Tel Aviv to Beersheba.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver join young immigrants from around the world in dedicating the Beit Brodetsky Center for Young Immigrants in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: ZED FILMS)
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver join young immigrants from around the world in dedicating the Beit Brodetsky Center for Young Immigrants in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: ZED FILMS)
The government on Sunday approved the first part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s five-year plan for the Druse and Circassian communities, which aims to aid development in areas such as education, infrastructure and employment.
The plan totals NIS 185 million and will increase the rate of subsidies for plots of land for discharged soldiers; it includes an investment of NIS 52m. for intra- and inter-city roads and road safety, as well as NIS 45m. for formal and informal education, improving social services and social rehabilitation, and the expansion of an anti-violence project.
The Druse and Circassian population numbers approximately 134,000; communities covered in the plan include Abu Sinan, Beit Jann, Julis, Daliat al-Carmel, Hurfeish, Yanuh-Jatt, Yirka, Kisra-Samiya, Kafr Kama, Mughar, Sajur, Ein el-Asad and Usfiya.
Teen sprinter takes gold in Tiberias-to-Kinneret night run
Last week, 243 entrants participated in a night run between Tiberias and Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), the Local website reported Sunday. Among them were Tiberias Mayor Yossi Ben-David and a group of young people; 16-yearold Ilani Hayot won the race, running the long track totaling 6.6 km. in 22 minutes.
The night run is part of the Tiberias Winner Marathon, run by the Athletic Association in cooperation with the Tiberias Municipality and the Association of Kinneret Cities.
The Local website cited Dana Becker, director of the Sovev Kinneret wing of the Kinneret Streams and Drainage Authority, as saying that the initiative is another step in the “Other Kinneret” project led by the Kinneret Towns Association; the goal is to improve the infrastructure and development of sport competitions on the Kinneret’s shores, in response to the needs of different target audiences.
The next competition, the 38th international Tiberias Winner Marathon, is set for January 9.
New center for young olim dedicated in Tel Aviv
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver dedicated a new center in Tel Aviv for young immigrants from around the world last week. The Beit Brodetsky Young Olim Center is a joint venture between the Jewish Agency and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, operated in conjunction with the Education Ministry, to encourage young people from around the world to make aliya and assist their integration into Israeli society.
Participating in the first session of the live-in center will be 294 immigrants between the ages of 18 and 35, from 23 countries – most of whom arrived in Israel over the past month, and more than half of whom hold academic degrees.
“This is a year of record aliya, with some 25,000 immigrants arriving in Israel from all over the world,” Sharansky told the olim. “People around the world ask how immigrants continue to come despite the images of warfare. If they look at you, they will understand how good and complete life is in Israel. Beit Brodetsky is an excellent place to learn Hebrew, to get to know Israel – and to find a shidduch [marriage match].”
Landver remarked: “Today you received a first home in Israel, a warm home and a social and professional structure. At the same time, it is important to me that you know that even when you finish your stay at this center, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry will be another home to you for many years; the ministry’s professional staff will accompany you on your path to successful absorption and integration into Israeli society. You are the future of the State of Israel.”
As part of the live-in program, the young immigrants will participate in an ulpan taught by staff from the Education Ministry’s division for adult education. The Jewish Agency described the program as rich and diverse, both socially and culturally, with counseling and guidance on continuing education and advancing careers in Israel. The center is intended to eventually be home to some 600 olim, who will be divided into two sessions a year.
Volunteers light first Hanukka candle with Holocaust survivors
Volunteers were set to participate in the second national day for Holocaust survivors on Tuesday, the first night of Hanukka, as part of an initiative by Friends of the IDF, in the framework of the IMPACT Day for the Community annual program.
Hundreds of volunteers were expected to visit nursing homes and day centers for the elderly across the country, to hear the survivors’ stories, give them holiday gifts and light the first candle with them. The initiative, called “Eitan’s Light” after the IDF’s summer operation in Gaza (Operation Protective Edge, or Tzuk Eitan in Hebrew) was organized in conjunction with the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel.
The central candle-lighting event will be held in Holon’s Day Center for the Elderly, in the presence of UK Ambassador Matthew Gould, Foundation for Holocaust Victims in Israel chairman Avi Dichter and Holon Mayor Moti Sasson.
The following day, survivors from two nursing homes were set to attend an event at Ashdod’s naval base, accompanied by volunteers, where they were to present gift packages to combat soldiers, in appreciation of their contribution and defense of the homeland during Operation Protective Edge; they were also scheduled to partake in a candle-lighting event with the soldiers.
Beersheba police arrest teens for horsing around in masks
Israel Police’s Southern District announced last week that following a special investigation, it had arrested two teenagers who had been driving around Beersheba wearing horse masks, scaring children. Police had received a number of complaints in the days leading up to the arrest, about the two young men who called themselves the “angry horses” and used the masks to frighten children on the street.
The pair, aged 18 and 19, were taken to Beersheba police’s youth unit for questioning.
BGU professor awarded Shield of the Reserves award
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev rector Prof. Zvi Hacohen last week received the Magen Hamiluim (Shield of the Reserves) award on behalf of the university, at a ceremony honoring IDF reservists.
There, BGU was recognized for its exceptional support for students and staff members who do active reserve duty.
The ceremony at Tel Aviv University was held in the presence of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, IDF brass and senior Defense Ministry officials.
Some 2,000 BGU students were called up for reserve duty during Operation Protective Edge. Many served for most of the duration of the 50-day operation, which began just as exams for the spring semester were scheduled to commence. According to BGU, more of its students were called up than from any other single institution.
Upon the students’ return from service, BGU – together with its student union – worked to ensure they were not penalized for being away; granting them substantial academic benefits such as tutoring, financial aid pledges and even a gift certificate to be used in city restaurants.
A special evening honoring the reservists took place last week in Beersheba’s Forum Club, with students enjoying dinner and live music by the popular singer Muki, and a dance party late into the night.
“I am determined that not a single one of our students will drop out of their studies because of this conflict,” stated BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi.