Electronic Newsletterl no' 8

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate the Holiday of Passover which signifies for us a celebration of freedom and how God protects us against enemies and tremendous odds, we do not forget that we have to actively work and make an effort to advance ourselves in times of Peace and tranquility as well as always be prepared for the emergency, especially this year when we celebrate our 60th Independence day.

I wish all our Jewish friends a Happy Passover and Season's and Holiday greetings to everyone.

Sincerely,

Zohar Oved,
Mayor


Dear Friends and Supporters of Tiberias,

This new issue of our newsletter will once again reflect the efforts we are making to realize the tremendous potential of our beloved town. History, present and future are reflected here, just as the blossoming of spring (the season of the New Year in biblical times) mingles with the historical and religious events of the Exodus from Egypt.

For us at the Foreign Affairs office it is especially a busy period as we prepare to host many delegations arriving as of the end of April from Worms in Germany, Montpellier France, Mayor Ginesta from St. Raphael France, Passau Germany, Feodosia Ukraine, Naples Florida USA, a business delegation from Russia and more.

Beside the delegations that are arriving at an especially significant time when we celebrate 60 years of independence for Israel and 60 years of renewing the Jewish rule in Tiberias, we continue to work on advancing our town forward with development, projects, construction and planning. Tiberias, during the battles in 1948, was the first city to fall back in the hands of the Jewish warriors. On the anniversary marking this day victorious day, families of those who lost their lives in this battle will be honored in a special ceremony in Tiberias.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue. We are always pleased to receive comments and suggestions.

Passover & Season's greetings to everyone.

Respectfully,

Eitan Oved, Councilman
In charge of Foreign Affairs and Security


Events:

The 2nd Annual Senior Citizens Festival
January 27-31. For the 2nd year in a row, the National Senior Citizens Festival took place in Tiberias with hundreds of seniors flocking the town and enjoying the fabulous winter weather. The participants had a full week of activities, tours and hikes, enjoying the region's hot springs, archeology and history. The week was concluded with the central event and performance of Israel's latest idols winning the "A Star is Born" contest (the equivalent of "American Idol").

Purim Holiday events shared with Sderot evaquated children
March 23. As part of the Purim holiday events, the children and families of Tiberias enjoyed a festive event with various fun performances throughout the day, music, theater, dancing and comedy. 200 children from the southern border town of Sderot, which has recently been under constant bombing from Hamas in Gaza, were invited to join the celebrations and relax.

Culture:

The Annual National Wind Instruments Festival in Tiberias – for the 3rd year in a row
March 5. Over 400 gifted musicians participated in this unique event hosted in Tiberias by the Wizo municipal music school for the 3rd year in arrow. Various orchestras from across the country, including: Jerusalem, Holon, Acre, Carmiel, Kfar Saba and more participated and performed in the various events and the special wind instruments Marathon.

Tiberias Prodigy Violinist to light the ceremonial Independence torch in Jerusalem
March 25. The national 60th Independence day celebration administration announced the list of chosen children and adults who will light the ceremonial Independence day torch. Amongst the 12 children and youth chosen is 8 year old Genia Grishkov, Prodigy violinist and Tiberias resident. Genia was invited by Mayor Oved along with Dr. Anna Rosnovski, Director of the Violinist School of Music to receive the honorable City Shield and congratulated her on her achievements.

Photography Exhibition of Ethiopian immigrants depicting their everyday life and experiences
March 27. This unique photography exhibition initiated by the Restal Absorption center in Tiberias (Jewish Agency) and presented there is the result of the photography workshop offered to the absorption center residents, newly arrived immigrants from Ethiopia, as part of their enrichment and empowerment. The exhibit shows various aspects of the immigrants’ life and experience of absorption in and into the Israeli society.

Education:

The Annual Partnership 2000 Scholarship award at the Kinneret Regional College
February 6. As part of the annual tradition of the region's partnership communities (Milwaukee, Tulsa & St. Paul), a ceremony was held at the Kinneret regional college granting 35 generous scholarships to students of the college as well as student at the Holliday Inn Culinary College. All of the students are residents of the Tiberias surrounding region. 15 of the grants were awarded to students who participate in the "Youth Futures" project mentoring kids from disadvantaged backgrounds in return for their grant. A thank you letter written by one of the children mentored in the project was read drawing applause.

A new computer science laboratory in memory of Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon
February 7. Five years after the tragic Columbia shuttle disaster and in memory of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon who perished in this disaster, a new computer-science laboratory was opened at the Galil-Nofarim AMAL High school. Amal Nofarim high school has been running a Space-Studies department for 6 years and with the new laboratory the program will expand. This project was donated by YTEK Technologies Company and in conjunction with the Jewish Agencie's "Space Club" enrichment project. The opening ceremony was honored by the presence of Israeli Education minister Prof. Yuli Tamir and Mayor Zohar Oved.

Tiberias Youth volunteering in the Community
February 12. As part of the department of Youth and the Joint organization, the new AMAN project for volunteering youth began in Tiberias. Over 150 youth from 9th-12th grade joint the project and were assigned various projects after a comprehensive training course. Some of the projects involving the youth are: Therapeutic Clowning, Youth in Motion (working on increasing transportation safety issues), Fire department volunteers, social councilors in Kindergartens and more.

More Tiberias Students in the Academy
March 31. Data released by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics shows an increase of 10.2% in the number of Tiberias students studying for the undergraduate degree in academic institutions throughout Israel in the 2007 Academic year. This data is especially impressive when comparing to the national statistics showing general increase of only 3.4% in the number of students in the country.
Community:

Green Neighborhood – Drug rehabilitation project
March. The first class of this unique drug rehabilitation project has concluded their gardening training course and have received an official Gardener's certificate. The 9 participants have undergone an intensive 800-hour course including on the job training as well as community empowerment workshops. All nine participants have been hired by the Tiberias Economic Company and have been assigned to maintain various public gardens and parks across town.

A new Legal Aid service at the Social Services Department
March 26. As part of a new collaborative effort between the Social Services department in the municipality and the National Lawyer's Bureau, a new Right and Legal Aid Center was established at the social services department offering legal aid and consultation free of charge to those in need. Volunteer Attorneys at law will be providing this pro-bono service.

Development:

Corner stone ceremony for new major road at northern entrance
February 21. Israeli Minister of Transportation, Mr. Shaul Mofaz honored the ceremony marking the beginning of works for building and paving the new 348 road leading in to Tiberias from the north. This road is meant to solve the major traffic jams occurring especially during the holidays and high seasons.

The new Tiberias Rakat Water Corporation
March. This new corporation joining the water treatment and supply system for Tiberias, Migdal and Yavniel municipalities will improve service to the public and quality of water supply. The corporation being a separate unit from the municipality will also enable turning valuable resources in to upgrading the water system. In future more municipalities are planned to join the corporation.

Security:

Continuing efforts and preparations
March 16. As part of the general actions for preparing the city for possible emergency situations and promoting general awareness of the citizens and the municipal systems, Mayor Oved performed a full day of work with his senior staff at a local shelter. This was in order to send a message to all residents to keep maintaining their shelters and keeping them ready for possible emergency. The renovation and utilization of 0ver 100 public shelters was completed after many efforts lead by Councilman Eitan Oved who is in charge of Security. A current survey shows that over 90% of shelters in Tiberias are operative.

Archeology:

Memorial ceremony in honor of Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld
March 9. Prof. Hirschfeld one of Israel's leading archeologists who passed away last year. He left a tremendous body of work after many years of digging and excavating in Tiberias. Unfortunately, his untimely death left many questions unanswered. The ceremony was honored by the presence of Prof. Hirschfeld's family, Mayor Oved and many senior representatives of the Archeological community in Israel. A presentation of Prof. Hirschfeld's work and achievements was shown. This was made possible thanks to Mr. Guy Shabi of the Foreign Affairs office, Mr. Uri Mazar, Head of the Tiberias Preservation Society and lead by Councilman Eitan Oved who is constantly working against the odds to keep the excavations alive.

Excavations renewed at the Roman-Byzantine city
March 11. The final digging season took place during March 2008. Some of the new and exciting findings were: ruins of an ancient Roman Bath-house, a new mosaic floor and 8 massive granite columns. The new findings combined with the late Prof. Hirschfelds work will be published in a new book about Roman Tiberias.







Archeological Park and visitor center to be built at Roman-Byzantine site
March 31. This new initiative "Berko Park" will allow the general public to experience the glorious history of Tiberias through reconstruction of ancient Roman and Byzantine life. The archeological park will be combined with a natural park and lying on the shores of the Sea of Galilee will become one of Israel’s most attractive. The first part of the planned park is planned to be open to the public by Summer 2009.

Tourism:

Over a million and a half tourists visited Tiberias in 2007
February 5. Statistics concluding 2007 published by the Israel Hotel Association shows a massive increase in tourism in Tiberias of 25%, while other major tourism cities showed a decline. Also showing, for the first months of 2008, a continuation of this positive trend with an additional 8% increase in visits compared to the previous season.


Chinese and Russian market showing interest in Tiberias
March 4. Following the Tourism agreement signed by Israel and China as well as the twin-city agreement between Wuxi and Tiberias, the first delegation of Tour-operators and agents from China arrived for a visit in Tiberias. Dalia Sluzki, Director of the Tourism Department, prepared a comprehensive tour of the city and its highlights and spoke to the group about possible collaborative efforts. In addition, three more municipal and business delegations from Beijing following intensive talks with our General Consul in China will also be arriving soon. The Russian Ambassador will also be visiting Tiberias as part of the preparations for increase in tourism from Russia following the cancellation of visas between Israel and Russia.

Foreign Affairs:

Partnership 2000 - updates
February 25. A young leadership mission from the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota visited Tiberias and the Sovev Kinneret region. The purpose of the visit was to learn of the various projects operating in the region and the group had a chance to meet with the Kinneret regional college senior staff, students. Over dinner they met with the various participants of leading P2K projects in the region such as: Taglit, Chef Exchange, Rosario project, Youth Futures and the Education Bridge.

Romanian Minister of Tourism and Commerce visits Tiberias
March 4. As a continuation of previous efforts and with the assistance of the SKAL tourism local branch, Romanian Minister of Tourism and Commerce, Ovidiu Silghi paid a visit to Tiberias. Mayor Oved met with the minister who then went on to visit the various ancient and religious sites in Tiberias and the region.


Hosting a Spanish Delegation representing 10 major municipalities
March 6. The delegation consisted of directors of tourism departments in each city: Barcelona, Toledo, Cordova, Girona, Segovia and more. The purpose of this visit was to initiate collaborative projects based on shared history between these ancient towns in Spain and historical cities in Israel. Following a meeting with the directors at the Tiberias Town-Hall, the delegation went on to visit the Maimonides (RAMBAM) burial site and other historical sites in the city.

Sports:

Tiberias rowing club - achievements at the Kishon tournament
March. The Tiberias Rowing Club participants won first places at both the Eight and the Four boat race. This achievement allowed them to keep the title of leading club in Israel. In May 2008 the club will be attending the World Championship in Munich, Germany after having achieved the minimum score required for representation of Israel in the championship.

More achievements for Tiberias youth Kayak rowers
March 15. Tiberias youth Kayak rowers continue to show their outstanding abilities. In the recent AHAVA (Love) competition for Kayak rowers from across the country held in Beit Yerach, Jordan Valley, the Tiberias rowers won 8 medals (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in the various competitions.

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