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March 7, 2022 3:36 pm
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New Program Brings Innovation to Jewish-Arab Cities in Israel

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Jewish worshippers pray outside a residential building, in Ashdod, Israel, Sept. 18, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

A new Israeli program seeks to bring innovation to the local authorities of Jewish-Arab cities.

Dubbed “Hazira,” the project calls for the formation of “Innovation Teams” that will introduce new work processes and tools to authorities in so-called “mixed” cities, in order to improve the lives of residents. It is sponsored by Israel’s Interior Ministry, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

To date, about a dozen “Innovation Teams” have been established in Acre, Bat Yam, Ashdod, Sakhnin, Beit Shemesh, Netanya, Ashkelon, Umm al-Fahm, Lod, Eilat, and in the Negev.

Initiatives within the program have focused on helping small businesses, enhancing civic hygiene, and improving transportation and connectivity.

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“Hazira has a very ambitious mission to spread a culture of innovation throughout local authorities in Israel,” said Roland Persaud, innovation program officer at Bloomberg Philanthropies, at a conference for participants in Jaffa this week.

Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told the conference that the ministry “believes in investing in human capital,” and expressed pride in “this first of its kind partnership.”

Efrat Duvdevani, director general of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, said the project looks “at real time application of new solutions and innovations to help promote better standards of public services, thus directly impacting the day-to-day of hundreds of thousands of Israelis from all backgrounds and walks of life.”

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