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Additional Israeli municipalities selected for local government innovation initiative

Hazira is a national hub for city innovation in Israel, providing municipalities with the tools needed to tackle their most difficult, complex challenges, and build capacity.

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Netanya is one of the latest cities to join the Hazira innovation initiative
Netanya is one of the latest cities to join the Hazira innovation initiative

Four additional Israeli cities have been selected to expand the Hazira initiative, a major programme to accelerate civic innovation in municipalities across Israel.

 

Hazira is a joint project between the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Israel’s Ministry of the Interior.

 

City innovation

 

Hazira is a national hub for city innovation in Israel, providing municipalities with the tools needed to tackle their most difficult, complex challenges, and build capacity. Innovation teams (i-teams) are established at the local level to implement this.

 

In partnership with the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation and the Ministry of the Interior, Hazira plans to scale the i-teams programme to 12 cities across Israel over the course of five years.

“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”

The four latest municipalities selected to join the programme are Eilat, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Sakhnin. They join the first four cities selected: Ashdod, Akko, Bat Yam and the Western Negev Regional Cluster.

 

Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city and a major port city, with 55,000 inhabitants and 8.2 million tourists per year.

Beit Shemesh is a diverse and growing city, with 125,000 residents. The municipality’s leadership and senior management have demonstrated a passion and readiness for innovative, cross-organisational processes.

Netanya is the capital of the Sharon region, with 230,000 residents. The city was established in the late 1920s and the local authority has eagerly adopted innovative processes in terms of manpower and accessibility towards residents.

Sakhnin is an Arab city in the Lower Galilee with 35,000 residents, who are majority Muslim with a Christian minority. Sakhnin is an influential city in the Arab community.

 

Each of the selected local authorities will tackle a complex challenge and embark on a two-year in-depth innovation process, beginning with the recruitment of their own local i-team, including a team lead and five members from across city departments.

“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”

The i-teams will receive training from the Hazira team, a multidisciplinary team of professionals trained and experienced in the programme’s tested, 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 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 Centre for Peace and Innovation.

 

She continued: “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.”

 

First round activity

 

The first round of the Hazira initiative included Ashdod, Bat Yam, Akko and the Western Negev Regional Cluster which are using innovation to understand and address the following challenges:

  • Ashdod, against the background of the Covid-19 crisis and declining businesses, is improving the prosperity of commercial and service businesses in residential districts, in order to revive the public space
  • The Western Negev Regional Cluster is improving mobility and connectivity to major arterials and public transportation services
  • Bat Yam is improving cleanliness and the public sense of cleanliness in the city
  • Akko is reviving small businesses.

“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,” added Mordechai Cohen, director general of the Ministry of the Interior.

 

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

 

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