President Rivlin: Regional Clusters a Pillar of New Israeli ...
President Rivlin: Regional Clusters a Pillar of New Israeli Society
On July 11th, a conference held at the President's residence, Regional Clusters as a Space for Shared Living, highlighted Regional Clusters as one of the four pillars of Israeli Hope. "Israeli Hope - a New Israeli Order" is President Rivlin's vision for an Israeli society whose four relatively equal sectors (secular Jewish, the national-religious Jewish, Arab citizens, and the Haredi community) cooperate with each other around values of shared society.
Regional Clusters are a newer model for geographic organization that includes Jewish and Arab localities, stronger and weaker communities, major cities, smaller local councils and regional councils. They bring together municipal leaders from these localities to create joint forums for regional dialogue, and to promote more effective services such as environmental protection, physical infrastructure, culture and sports. Currently, there are a total of five regional clusters—three in the Galilee and two in the Negev.
The conference, organized by President Rivlin, the Ministry of the Interior, and JDC-ELKA-the Institute for Leadership and Governance, was attended by government officials and lay leaders who have been involved in development and implementation of regional clusters over the past few years. Presently, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance are promoting legislation in the Knesset that would recognize clusters as a new regional statutory entity, which in turn would generate a more direct and efficient system for the clusters to receive ministerial funding.
Government and lay leaders, including mayors from participating cities in the Negev, spoke at the conference about the necessity for and benefits of the regional cluster system.
The conference was opened by a video presentation from President Rivlin on “Israeli Hope - a New Israeli Order.” Minister of Interior Rabbi Aryeh Mahloof Deri spoke about the need to ensure each locality’s ability to preserve their unique identity while simultaneously being able to identify shared interests with neighboring communities, a balance that has been addressed with the creation of regional clusters. The Director of JDC-Israel, Prof. Yossi Tamir, spoke about the clusters as part of a vision that promotes social cohesion in Israel. He quoted an OECD study of 34 countries conducted on the issue of social cohesion that found Israel to be among the lowest ranked at 28.
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