COMMUNITY BUILDING

The future starts here: Our case for population growth and regional economic development in Israel’s north and south.

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Throughout our history, JNF has played a central role in developing hundreds of communities in Israel, including the bustling metropolis of Tel Aviv.  

Today, we’re still dreaming big. With 90% of Israel’s population concentrated in the Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem Corridor, the rest of the country is left largely uninhabited. Imagine if 70% of the United States' 322 million residents were crammed into California, Nevada, and Arizona. This is the reality in Israel: seven out of 10 Israelis live in approximately 10% of the country's total geography.

This is why population growth and regional economic development in Israel’s northern and southern regions form the backbone of our Go North and Blueprint Negev strategies. Our goal is to realize the full potential of the Galilee and Negev as rich centers of agriculture, tourism and technology development.  

By motivating scores of Israelis in overcrowded cities—and thousands of Americans—to move to the Negev and Galilee, we are in the process of dramatically changing Israel’s landscape. 

Now, once barren lands are prospering through a combination of visionary programs and partnerships that focus strategically on immigration growth, infrastructure development, faster housing starts, career training & employment services, and ensuring green spaces and recreation sites for families. 

Our roadmap for development of the Negev and Galilee leverages more than a century of accumulated know-how and hands-on experience. It leverages the involvement of governmental agencies and trusted partner organizations. And more importantly, it leverages the goodwill and support of community members like you. 

 
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GO NORTH

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Northern Israel, known as the Galilee, has long been recognized for its great potential. The majority of Israel’s natural water resources and abundant forests are in the Galilee, and its gorgeous scenery, climate, rich history and culture attract millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year. But despite the region’s plethora of assets, it remains underdeveloped and falls short of its economic potential. Jewish National Fund's Go North initiative is revitalizing this region, with the goal of bringing 300,000 new residents to the area and supporting them with critical modern infrastructure, increased tourism, and opportunities for education and employment. The Go North strategic initiative to strengthen and grow the region is vital for the long-term strength and prosperity of our Jewish homeland.

BLUEPRINT NEGEV

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The Negev Desert represents 60% of Israel’s landmass but is home to just 8% of the population. Jewish National Fund's major initiative to revitalize this underdeveloped region is called Blueprint Negev. This interdisciplinary, internationally recognized campaign is improving quality of life for all residents of Southern Israel and encouraging a population shift away from crowded, expensive central Israel. Our goal is to double the population's size by bringing 500,000 new residents to the Negev. In order to do this, we are playing a major role in community development across this region, building parks, playgrounds, and youth centers; providing employment and education opportunities; promoting tourism; improving transportation; and building water and agricultural infrastructure. Today, Be’er Sheva and the surrounding communities are blooming in a once barren desert.

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FUND

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Affordable housing, with access to good schools, jobs, and community, is central to our goal of establishing new neighborhoods in the north and south. The Housing Development Fund provides targeted funding for physical infrastructure which is needed to commence the home building process. Under Israeli municipal regulations, physical infrastructure can only be developed after all the lots in a community are purchased and financed, which can lead to delays of up to five years. The Housing Development Fund provides loans to communities, lending them the capital necessary for ground infrastructure to be completed. This initiative is imperative to investing in the Negev and Galilee by speeding up the process of home ownership.

 

To date, the Housing Development Fund has supported over 600 lots. Over 540 lots are under expansion in the south, with another 100 under expansion in the Galilee. These new housing developments will provide homes for new families, immigrants, olim, military veterans, and seniors - all groups in need of affordable housing outside of crowded urban areas. 

INVESTING IN OLIM

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Today, well-educated, passionate olim are more essential to Israel's future than ever. Jewish National Fund brings people to Israel to support its community and prosperity through modern day aliyah through partner Nefesh B'Nefesh. With the core goal of nation building, JNF infuses Israel with thousands of skilled and idealistic olim, who drive economic growth and development. Key initiatives support Lone Soldiers, encourages olim to build their lives in the Negev and Galilee, and brings specialized doctors to the north and south, which are experiencing a severe physician shortage. 

PROJECT BASEBALL

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Jewish National Fund's Project Baseball brings this sport, which builds sportsmanship fosters teamwork, and cultivates confidence, to Israel, where it is quickly growing into a beloved pastime. Project Baseball gives the children of Israel an opportunity to learn life lessons while building lasting friendships and gives children who have made Aliyah a taste of home and provides a tool that helps them bond with their new Israeli peers. Children have something familiar to look forward to, and a commonality that bridges the cultural gap of moving to a new place. By building neighborhood baseball and softball fields and providing coaching and instruction, JNF is planting the seeds for tomorrow’s stronger, more cohesive communities today. Batter up!

SOCIAL IMPACT AND ACTIVISM

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Jewish National Fund is moving Israel and its people forward in the 21st century through the implementation of educational programs, partnerships, and volunteerism. JNF partner Makom builds groups who move into communities in the Negev and Galilee with a specific purpose or mission. It could be to improve education in a community, uplift a minority group such as the Bedouin or Druze, or renew life in a declining kibbutz. Their success is in groups moving together in order to work and support one another. This is how they align themselves with Jewish National Fund’s mission to bring 500,000 new residents to the Negev and 300,000 to Galilee. Another avenue employed by JNF is to provide educational opportunities to youth in grades 5-12 to create meaningful connections with the land while building interpersonal and leadership skills.

 

Through a transformative program led by Jewish National Fund partner Green Horizons, we lead hiking and camping trips throughout Israel and offer activities designed to promote self-confidence, independence, social responsibility and an appreciation for Israel’s history and natural beauty. And, with farming a crucial economic resource for Israel, Jewish National Fund, as part of its Blueprint Negev and Go North initiatives to improve the quality of life in the Negev and Galilee, through population growth and economic development, is providing farmers with the help they need.

 

JNF also helps to protect vast portions of farm and ranch land from illegal seizures, thefts, arson and vandalism. Our partner Hashomer Hachadash brings young people from across Israel to work the land, learn about Zionism, the history of Israel, and become leaders in social change. Dozens of volunteers in the Negev and Galilee assist farmers and ranchers on a daily basis who are faced with constant challenges in protecting and securing their land. The numbers are staggering: Hashomer Hachadash and Jewish National Fund have together introduced 50,000 volunteers to farming and 10,000 to unique educational programming. We've created a powerful youth movement with 1,500 active participants, raised public awareness among 2.5 million people, and promoted advocacy for legislation and policy change. 

 

2016 Environmental Prize of the Negev winner Earth’s Promise is a 10-year-old program that promotes urban agriculture through developing neglected urban areas into green spaces that produce fresh, healthy and readily available food sources for local communities. Jewish National Fund provides essential support and assistance to Earth’s Promise in Israel's Negev and with our ongoing support, improves the quality of life for those dependent on the development of dozens of garden spaces that provide "city dwellers" in Be'er Sheva with fresh and nutritious food, and the ability to preserve natural resources, while raising awareness of environment problems on the local and regional levels by presenting an alternative and sustainable model for food security. Other projects include working with at-risk children in an afterschool program by providing them with garden education, providing garden education to high school students in Bedouin communities, and hosting events to raise awareness about local food. Recently, for example, volunteers harvested nearly a ton of olives from a small local grove and made olive oil to sell. 



PLANT TREES IN ISRAEL