Four Israeli cities selected to drive innovation


The four cities that were selected to join the Hazira program are Eilat, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Sakhnin

Four additional cities have been selected by the Interior Ministry and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation to participate in the Hazira initiative, aimed at accelerating civic innovation within their municipalities - joining previous members Bat Yam, Ashdod, Acre and The Western Negev Regional Cluster. The four cities that were selected to join the Hazira program are Eilat, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Sakhnin.

The initiative provides each of the municipalities with tools needed to take on complex challenges and further their building capacities.

Innovation teams or "i-teams" are then employed and implemented at the local level to drive advancements.“We are helping to apply practical innovation to solve the health, social and economic challenges of the corona-era," said Interior Ministry Director-General Mordechai Cohen. "Through the integration of innovative tools, we are strengthening the role of the local authority in the eyes of residents, local partners and central government.

"Alongside our partners in this initiative, we were determined to continue with the second cycle of the program, despite the current challenging period we are all facing,” he said.

Each of the four cities will take on complex challenges and embark on a two-year long, in-depth innovation process, which begins with the recruitment of their own i-team. Each team will receive multi-disciplinary training directly from Hazira, which takes an "impactful approach to innovation aimed at building civic innovation capacity that will be capable of sustainably and innovatively addressing the challenges and improving the lives of residents for years to come," the Hazira initiative said in a statement.

The previously selected cities have each undertaken their own projects since being chosen. Ashdod is working on improving commercial and service businesses in residential districts in order to revive the public space. The Western Negev Regional Cluster is developing its existing transportation services, to connect more cities to major transport hubs in the region. The Bat Yam municipality is working on cleaning up its city, and persuading the public to do the same. Acre is working to revive small businesses.

“The Hazira Initiative is another expression of the legacy of Shimon Peres. He believed that municipalities and local authorities are at the forefront of public leadership and should therefore be equipped with the best innovative tools possible to bridge gaps and serve the entire public," said Efrat Duvdevani, Director-General of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

"Particularly during this corona-age, we see how important it is for municipalities to make information accessible to the public and to safeguard the health, education, economy and welfare of their residents," she said. "This unique collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ministry of the Interior and the Peres Center is intended to serve as a turning point for the wellbeing of residents where the program is implemented.”

Source: The Jerusalem Post

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
(photo credit: CHEN SHENHAV

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