NorthThe first Olive Branch Conference was held in Sakhnin last week, promoting the nutritional and health benefits of the basic oil found in nearly every Israeli kitchen, as well as discussing strategies related to the development of the olive oil industry. In cooperation with Tel Hai College, the conference took place during the two-week Olive Festival held throughout the Galilee, the Golan Heights and the northern valleys.The olive growing industry has expanded in recent years beyond its traditional geographic areas – the Galilee and the Triangle. Tens of thousands of olive trees have been planted recently in the Negev, the Golan and the Beit She’an Valley. During the festival, various sites in the North hosted activities such as tours of olive presses, musical performances, olive picking, farmers’ markets and workshops.Additionally, art exhibits and outdoor activities such as bicycle tours were available. The festival concluded with a “Mediterranean experience” in which the olive was presented as the element that connects all the peoples living in the Mediterranean Basin.The Galilee and Negev Development Authority and the Olive Council sponsored the festival and the conference.Israelis turn out for World Cleanup Day Thousands of Israelis took part in World Cleanup Day last week, joining hundreds of thousands across the globe who pitched in to collect garbage from nature sites.Organized in Israel by the Jewish National Fund (JNFKKL), locals were directed mainly to forests in an effort to restore their beauty, untainted by litter and trash.Groups of schoolchildren, soldiers, university students, youth movement members, local residents and employees of various companies participated in clean-up operations at more than 150 sites around the country. In the North, hundreds of soldiers volunteered to help clean up the Lavi Forest, one of several dozen such activities held in the region.Also taking part in JNF-KKL’s day of clean-up activities was Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who welcomed to Israel the world’s first solar taxi and its driver, Louis Palmer. The solar-powered vehicle, which had toured some 40 countries, kicked off its Israel tour on clean-up day.Police target kiosks selling liquor to kids Police in the North launched an operation to cite store owners that sell alcohol to minors. Officers conducted surveillance on underage buyers purchasing alcohol in a number of Ma’alot businesses, including kiosks and coffee shops. Criminal files were opened for those caught selling alcohol to minors, and business owners were expected to have their licenses reviewed.Police said that “these types of activities are carried out routinely in order to reduce the incidence of alcohol sales to minors and to prevent crimes committed by minors while under the influence of alcohol,” the Local website reported.Galilee aims to train local managers The Western Galilee College will lay the cornerstone for its new School of Management next week, garnering praise from business and community leaders in the North. A recent study carried out by the Geocartography Institute found that 70 percent of businesses in the Galilee have difficulty recruiting staff, and 12% specifically have trouble hiring managers. The opening of the school was expected to have a positive effect on increasing the number of qualified candidates in the local workforce, as well as stemming the flow of young professionals moving to the center of the country.The School of Management will include two lecture halls, a number of classrooms, meeting rooms, simulation rooms and seminar halls. An outdoor amphitheater is also planned. The cornerstone ceremony will be held at the college on Sunday, with a number of local academic and public officials expected to attend.CENTER Jaffa holds Id al-Adha spectacular Hundreds of Muslim Scouts from Jaffa, Nazareth and the Triangle participated in a parade celebrating the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha this week. The students, instructors and volunteers marched down Jaffa’s Yefet Street with flags of the movement, marching bands and drummers and were cheered on by thousands of local residents. Following the march, the youth and parade goers gathered at the municipal Muslim Youth Center for a fireworks display.Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai said, “I congratulate [Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s] Muslim residents in Jaffa on the occasion of Id al-Adha. Like every other year, I enjoyed participating in the colorful and spectacular parade.”Road safety exhibition tours area malls A photography exhibition aimed at raising awareness about road safety is traveling to shopping malls in the Center of the country throughout November as part of a joint project carried out in cooperation with the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving and the Azrieli Group, which owns a number of malls in the area.The photographic works highlighted in the “On the Road” exhibition were created by photography and visual communication students from academic institutions across the country. Sixty pieces were selected from 250 applicants. The works were judged on their artistic value and their connection to the subject of road safety. The exhibition will spend two weeks at the Ayalon Mall before moving on to the Givatayim and Hod Hasharon malls.Or Yarok director-general Shmuel Abuav said, “We are holding the exhibition as part of many activities the association conducts in the community.We believe that only through various activities accessible to different parts of the population can we raise awareness about the importance of fighting against road accidents.”SOUTH Eye clinic caters to Eilat residents Some 3,500 needy residents of Eilat will be seeing the world in focus once again as the result of a volunteer eye clinic organized and funded by the ABSI France Jewish organization with support from the Eilat Municipality.For three days this week, Eilat residents who cannot afford new glasses – such as those under the care of social services, the elderly, children, IDF soldiers from area bases and new immigrants – were invited to the Yitzhak Rabin High School where the clinic was set up.A team of some 150 volunteers from ABSI, led by Dr. Jill Taib, a senior ophthalmologist from Paris, conducted eye exams and provided glasses to the Eilat residents at the temporary clinic.The program, in its 20th year, has benefited residents of dozens of cities in Israel. The Eilat Municipality was responsible for the logistical aspects of the operation, such as the import of nearly two tons of equipment, organizing volunteers and identifying those in need of the free eye care. The city invested NIS 200,000 in the project.Yalta and Eilat become sister cities The Eilat Municipality added another sister city partnership to its roster this week when it signed an agreement with Yalta in Ukraine. The sister-city agreement was signed by Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi and Yalta Mayor Alexei Boirtchok, who flew to Eilat for the ceremony with several members of his city council. The Conservatory Orchestra, conducted by Dima Bogonov, performed the two countries’ national anthems at the ceremony.Yitzhak Halevi said the factors that made the two cities a good match for the partnership were the large Russian and Ukrainian immigrants living in Eilat, the two cities’ economies that are both largely based on tourism, and their comparable size.Some of the other cities partnered with Eilat as sister and twin cities are Los Angeles (US), Toronto (Canada), Durban (South Africa), Kamen (Germany), Kampen (The Netherlands), Smolyan (Bulgaria), Sopron (Hungary) and Serres (Greece).Kiryat Gat traffic officers arrested Seven Traffic Police officers from Kiryat Gat were arrested last week on suspicion of accepting bribes and favors in exchange for canceling traffic tickets for members of the public. Four of the officers had their remands extended the day after their arrest.The officers were arrested as part of an undercover investigation carried out in recent months by the Police’s Internal Affairs Division. Along with the police officers, a civilian was also arrested on suspicion of providing favors to the officers.The Traffic Police responded to the arrests, saying, “The Internal Affairs Division arrested a number of officers under suspicion of ethical breaches.” The division pledged its full cooperation with the investigation.Southern border illegal crossings at high Some 620 African migrants and asylum seekers were arrested while crossing Israel’s southern border with Egypt last weekend. The arrests brought the total number of people caught illegally crossing the border this month to 950, the highest number in one week to date.