elctronic newsletter no' 2

Dear Friends and Supporters Hello,
We are pleased to be able to bring to you the second edition of the Tiberias-Up-To-Date newsletter. The newsletter attempts to report the various aspects of life in Tiberias in recent months, including: community activities, Sister-City developments, economic developments, educational developments and various other issues.
This time we made an effort to produce the newsletter in four different languages: English, French, German and Spanish, in order to be more accessible to all our friends abroad. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all our dedicated volunteers at the Foreign Affairs office for making this possible.
Dear friends, I want to invite you to come and visit Tiberias soon, and witness first hand the major changes and face-lift that the city is undergoing. I will be delighted to receive your comments and ideas for further development and collaboration in the various aspects of
community life in Tiberias both in Israel and abroad.
Eitan Oved, Councilman
Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee
Tiberias Municipality

MASA - Journey to Tiberias – a new volunteering program

January 2007 opened a new tradition in the ISC project (Israel Service Corps) with collaboration with the Oranim Company, The Jewish Agency and Tiberias Foreign Affairs Office.
18 young Jewish volunteers arrived from USA and Canada, immediately after their graduation from their academic studies. They are housed in a special dorm facility and they take part in various volunteering assignment: During the mornings they help school students with their English studies at the schools, in the afternoons they work with children in community centers and welfare clubs, the local absorption center for Ethiopian immigrants, the local Red Magen David station, the archeological excavation, the municipal dog-pound and more.
Once a week is dedicated to renovating bomb shelters. The volunteers also have Hebrew Ulpan lessons and enjoy social activities and trips around the Galilee and Israel at large.

Two cycles of volunteers are planned for each year each for a duration of 6 months.
Every volunteer is “adopted” by a family and they spend together Friday nights, Saturday and holidays.
The first group that arrived in January has representative from across the North American continent: Boston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Iowa, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto, New York and more. They have all merged well into the everyday life in Tiberias as well as taking advantage of the active social student scene in the area.

Go Galilee – The 13th Annual Tourism Marketing Event

This international conference promoting tourism in the Galilee, for tourism industry agents, operators, journalists, decision makers and heads of congregations world wide has become a tradition hosted by Tiberias since 1990. This year had a special significance because of the war in the Summer which negatively impacted the whole region.
Led by the Tiberias Hotel Association, this 4 day conference, held January 30th – February 4th, hosting over 150 participants from across the globe, began with an opening ceremony at the new archeological excavation site of the Roman city in Tiberias. The purpose of this event was to expose the participants to the multitude of sites and experiences the religious, historical, leisure & sports that our region has to offer.
The participants from the USA, Philippines, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Hong-Kong, Russia, Bellarus and more, toured Tiberias, the Galilee, the Golan Heights, Nazareth, Acre (Acco) etc.
Two events especially worth while noting: The Friday evening Home Hospitality event, where Tiberian families, known for their unique and heart warming hospitality, opened their homes and hosted the participants for a traditional Sabbath meal.

Second – On the fourth day they participated in a Driving Rally. With a rented car, a map of the region and general directions they drove around the Galilee region. They had to arrive at certain set sites and then return to Tiberias. Well, it was a success, as they could see, first hand, that the area was safe and peaceful.
At the end of the convention – some participants noted – humorously – that the experience they had was so eventful that they think the convention should change its name to: Go – Go –Go – Galilee!!!

New Horizons for Civil Diplomacy
While widening the civil diplomacy activity in town, opening mere gates and developing connection’s with the world – we have added two more towns to the list of twin-towns that is growing rapidly
The town’s council confirmed agreements with St. Rafael in France and Wuxi in China.
St. Rafael, is located in the French Riviera and is a known recreational resort.
Wuxi, is the 10th largest city in China, about a 2 hours drive away from Shanghai, with over 4.5 million permanent residents and lies on the shores of Taho Lake.
2 delegated from foreign affairs in Wuxi arrived in March for a 3 days visit, as the town’s guests.
They met the Mayor Mr. Zohar Oved, and visited the local police station speaking with the Deputy Chief, toured an elementary school, the Dona Gracia Historical Museum, and other interesting and historical sites.
Especially worth noting the visit to the local High-Tech Galtronics Plant in Upper Tiberias Industrial zone – a major manufacturer and supplier of antenas to various known international communication companies such as Motorola and Samsung. Galtronics recently established a factory in Wuxi, a new branch to this company.

This was a preliminary visit in preparation of the visit by Deputy Mayor of Wuxi Mr. Ma, which will take place at the end of April which is arriving for the official signing of the formal agreement between the two cities.
These two cities will join our twin-cities:
France – Montpellier.
Germany – Worms
USA – Greatneck, New York
USA – Tulsa, Oklahoma
USA – Allentown, Pennsilvenia

News Events & Visits
Israel Youth Award
Tiberias has joined the International Youth Award, an international challenging program for personal leadership and excellence amongst youth in the community.
The participants are between 14-25 years old, exhibiting outstanding work and abilities in areas of volunteering in the community, youth activity and personal excellence. The participants will take part in an exchange delegation with peers from other countries.

Tourism in Tiberias
Tiberias has taken the lead as the most toured town in Israel during 2006 with 10% growth in the number of visitors despite the war in the Summer.
This is especially significant when comparing to major tourism cities such as Tel Aviv & Eilat with 2-3%.

Tiberias Youth Volunteering in Tourism
The Tourists Department in Tiberias municipality with the assistance of local Junior High Schools have created a program for training students for participation in welcoming the tourist in the Passover Holiday.
A tourist information stand will be placed in the town center and the students will hand out pamphlets, brochures information about events in town and places worth while visiting.
This activity is part of a project called “Tiberias welcomes Tourists”.
In this project the pupils will benefit as they’ll learn about Historical places in Tiberias, how tourism and tourists are important to the country in general and in Tiberias especially.

A rally in support of the three abducted IDF soldiers in Lebanon & Gaza
Many Tiberias pupils took part in a demonstration calling for the release of Israeli P.O.W in Lebanon and Gaza. On January 22, 2007, the “Ulpana” (a Junior High School for girls) which initiated the ralley with students from Tiberias Junior and high schools in the effort to free the 3 soldiers held in captivity – Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser

Parent Organization Annual conference
On February 2, the annual parent's convention took place with over 350 delegated from all educational facilities in the city. This year the subject was: Involvement and the will to influence the education of the students

Cleaning the Tiberias Marine
On January 26, the Police Underwater Volunteer Diving Unit initiated a cleanup campaign for removing the dirt from the bottom of the lake. Approximately a ton of dirt was removed – for the benefit of the lake and the environment.

Recital For Tiberias
The well-known American-Korean Artist Chiang Chekaing, performed a Piano Concert in the local Music Conservatorium as a tribute to Tiberias, which took place on 29.1.07. This was made possible through the Oklahoma-Israel friendship initiative (OKI).

The “Taste a Falafel” Celebrations
Sunday, February 18 was a special day for all Tiberias residents – The 50 years old “Center” of kiosks of Falafel and other food and clothing, was taken down and moved across the street, in order to allow the construction of a major office building. On the day, all residents and visitors were invited to enjoy free Falafel as a celebration of old and new.
The new building construction is part of a major development initiative taking place across town and evident to all visitors. Once the building is complete, the kiosks and Falafel stands will be moved back to their original location – with a new and improved modern facility. For all Tiberian residents and visitors this marks a major change that will inevitably result in a new Tiberias.

In March famous Israeli artists from across the country participated in a unique exhibition of comics drawings portraying the 2nd Lebanese war from a humoristic angle. The comics showed the events and sentiments of the artists and of all those experiencing the war that burst into our lives in the middle of the summer

Mr. Rich Wolf, President of the Jewish Press Association in the USA paid a visit in town on the 25th of January. The Mayor, Mr. Zohar Oved gave a presentation of the various touristic and major construction projects going on around the city. Mr. Rich was then escorted around town to witness the changes. During the visit it was agreed to continue the co-operation.
On 19.2.07, a delegation from Bucharest arrived for a friendly visit. During their visit, they met the Mayor Mr. Zohar Oved, the municipality town council and department directors in the town hall.
They Romanian delegation was presented with future plans for the town’s development. Further collaboration was agreed upon.
Prof. Yuli Tamir, the Israeli Minister of Education paid a formal visit to Tiberias hosted by Dror Lalush the Deputy Mayor and Head of Education. On her tour of the town she was introduced to the major educational facilities as well as met leading educators and administrators. Minister Tamir was truly impressed by the significant achievements she witnessed and promised to direct special funding for improvement and strengthening of the following issues:
- Expanding the Day-long educational program
- Computer and technology learning
- Improving achievement in matriculation exams.
- Dorm construction for college students.
- School facilities' renovation.

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