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April 14, 1978 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-04-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

16 Friday, April 14, 1918 1

THE DEIRO1T. IEW1SS IIEWS

Things Are Beginning

MAGICIAN

Available For All Occasions

The northern town of
Kiryat Shemona has not
had an easy history. A
struggling development
town whose predomirvatly
North African population
was physically isolated
from the center of the coun-
try, -Kiryat Shemona suf-
fered in the years 1974-75
from a semi-regular pound-
ing of Katushya rockets
from across the Lebanese
border, as well as a particu-
larly gruesome terrorist at-
tack.
Under these shocks, the
town's population dropped
from 21,000 to 17,000, and

25 years experience

MAGICAL MEL

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Happy 40th
Birthday
AL BREYER

Love,
Your Wife's
Younger
Sister
& Family

IRVING'S

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the future seemed grimmer
than ever.
But in the last several
years, a new spirit has ari-
sen in the troubled town.
"There is a new sense of to-
getherness here," factory
worker Yitzhak Hiyon told
Walter Ruby of Israel Di-
gest.
"There is work for all
who want it, a progress-
ive city administration
with new programs and
ideas, and new apart-
ments going up
everywhere."
Adds Hy Rubin, 27 and a
father of four, "I wouldn't

3065 Orchard Lake Rd.

CLEARANCE

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Also Large Discounts on Beddings

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want to live or raise my kids
anywhere else. Many of
those who left during the
Katushya period are com-
ing back. We still have
many problems, but for the
first times, we really feel
like we are progressing."
"In this town, even more
than other places, there is
the feeling that the past is
dead, and that the challenge
lies in creating a better fu-
ture," says Prosper Azran,
the municipal director of
population and absorption.
Azran's department is re-
sponsible for one of Kiryat
Shemona's most pressing
priorities: bringing new-
comers to the town, and
helping to convince those
who left to come home.
Azran seeds represen-
tatives each week to Tel
Aviv and Haifa to talk
with potential Kiryat
Shemonaites and discuss
with them the full range
of incentives available to
them. .
"We are trying to encour-
age settlement by young,
academically trained
people, who will demand
better services and help
raise the quality of life in
the town," said Azran.
For example, teachers
are given apartments that
are virtually rent free. As a
result, the caliber of our

...fir PASSOVER

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teaching staff has risen
dramatically. Today we re-
ceive so many applicants
that we are in a position to
choose only the best."
The municipality is also
actively seeking recruits
from abroad. "We are now
trying to bring a core group
of about ten professional
families from Columbus,
Ohio. If this group of doc-
tors, chemists, and social
workers take hold here, we
hope to bring many more."
The other side of the
program is to bring back
many of the people who
left Kiryat Shemona for
the large cities only to be
disappointed with what
they found. They also
keep in contact with
Kiryat Shemona students
who are attending semi-
nars and universities.
"We need these people to
come home and contribute
their talents to the de-
velopment of the town."
Kiryat Shemona is now in
the midst of a building
boom, with new apartment
buildings creeping up the
mountain side. But the
municipality has developed
a project for those who want
something different from
the standard apartment.
Under this project, families
buy land and can build their
own houses according to
their own specifications.
"This program has been
highly successful," says Az-
ran. It makes the town
seem more like a village,
with its own personality."
The municipality has
also initiated a project to
plant gardens in vacant
lots and has a master
plan to improve the ap-
pearance of the main
road through the town.
Alongside the activism of
the municipality is a new
volunteerism among the
citizenry. No one
exemplifies this spirit as
well as Yitzhak Ya'acobi, a
72-year-old former jour-
nalist (Davar, Jerusalem
Post) who moved with his
wife to Kiryat Shemona in
the aftermath of the 1974
terrorist attack. Ya'acobi
has used his organizational
talent and national connec-
tions to create a school for
ex-soldiers. Young people
who did not finish high
school take an intensive one
year program ending in the
matriculation examination.
"What chance do young

men who have only finished
ninth grade have in
society?" Ya'acobi asks.
"Here we hope to give these
young people a chance to
fmd a good profession or go
on to higher education."

The program, which is
financed by the Minis-
tries of Defense and Edu-
cation as well as the
World Sephardic Found-
ation, has demonstrated
great promise. The stu-
dents, many of whom
come from deprived
backgrounds, have
shown great motivation,
with many passing into
pre-engineering pro-
grams and others going
to the universities.

"I am very grateful to Mr.
Ya'acobi and the Ministry of
Defense for this opportu-
nity," says Aharon Uzi of
Tiberias. "After leaving the
army, I just hung around
the streets until I found
this. Now everything is
open to me. I feel like a new
person."
At the local Community
Center, there are a number
of innovative new pro-
grams. Perhaps the most
exciting is the Community
Center sponsored program
of block workers.
The block workers, all
young women, are trained
by social workers to work
with 30-40 families each,
helping them to solve their
personal difficulties.
Says program director
Ami Peretz, "Many of
these people will not go to
a welfare office to see a
social worker, or will
forget to take their in-
fants to the child care
clinic for injections. The
block workers keep after
these families, and often
take them to the neces-
sary places."
Despite its new spirit,
Kiryat Shemona still has
many problems. So why
should a young couple leave
Tel Aviv and move to such
an isolated spot?
"In Kiryat Shmona, a
young person feels that he
can make a difference, that
he can contribute some-
thing to building the town."
says Prosper Azran.
"This is a youthful town,
with a warm spirit, located
in the most beautiful spot in
Israel. Things can only get
better here."

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TODA'

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-

-
Shown above is a view of the northern Israeli town
of Kiryat Shemona, set against the hills of Galilee.

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