Community Building

Our Go North Strategy

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Jewish National Fund's Go North strategic initiative to strengthen and grow the Galilee region is vital for long-term prosperity of the Jewish homeland. From building the new JNF Western Galilee Tourist Information Center in Akko to supporting local businesses, Go North has gone a long way in improving the quality of life in the Western Galilee. Our work also extends to the Upper Eastern Galilee, a region known as the "food basket" of Israel. We are investing in technology, business management, cooking, restaurants, agricultural research and development, hospitality, and hotels. Similar to the Western Galilee, the Upper Eastern Galilee will soon see increased economic growth and become a destination place for tourists and Israelis alike, and for those in search of steady employment, a place to call home.    

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Go North, World Tourists

An estimated 2.5 million tourists come to Akko annually to take in the ancient colorful remains of its port city. Getting visitors to see the interior region and to shop, dine, and stay overnight required the vision of Jewish National Fund. Today, more and more travelers are discovering the lush landscapes of this storied region every year, and tourism is fueling new development and empowering the Galilee’s younger residents to put down roots. Working with a regional Chamber of Commerce, JNF has transformed the Go North experience and boosted the local economy as a result.


Akko, the Gateway to the Galilee


Sitting on a verdant peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, Akko is a mere 15 miles from Haifa. The former Templar city awaits tourists with a passion for history and architecture—everything from “towering ramparts, deep moats, green domes, slender minarets, church towers, and secret passageways to subterranean vaults,” reports the Lonely Planet travel guide.


Though it has remained largely unchanged for 750 years, it’s hardly the arid desert land that travelers think of when considering Israel as a destination. Still, a confluence of circumstances, among them being the city’s proximity to the urban areas to the south and a relative lack of accommodations, had previously limited Akko’s potential role as a first stop on what could be longer trips throughout the Western Galilee. Jewish National Fund's Western Galilee Tourist Information Center, located in the heart of Akko’s Old City, now serves as a gateway for information and discovery about hundreds of destinations through the Galilee. Working with a consortium of small tourism operators and boutique businesses to raise the Galilee’s profile, JNF has developed the area’s hospitality and leisure industries by enhancing culinary, arts, cultural and heritage tourism—all in a multi-faith environment.

Careers Beyond Tourism

Though the growing tourism industry here is providing new opportunity, it’s not enough to keep or incentivize young adults from settling elsewhere or to attract new immigrants to the north. To encourage settlement, Jewish National Fund is continuing to commit resources to the Erez College Natural Gas Vocational Training Center in Shlomi. Natural gas is a new industry in Israel. The special training program offered at the college includes practical engineering and training in natural gas principles and offers job seekers the tools they need to find long-term employment.


Graduates of the center, some 12,000 to date, represent a wide range of citizens, aged 20 to 65, including single mothers, former soldiers, and newly arrived residents. It’s also an ethnically diverse group represented by Jews, Arabs, Druze, Bedouins, and Christians. To further encourage local employment, we offer business networking forums to bring together small- and medium-sized businesses for mutual support. Participants benefit from specialized workshops in marketing, client services, serving the tourist trade, and more. Our goal: To see these businesses thrive and succeed.


In Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Eastern Galilee, initiatives there include a world-class Culinary Academy with students learning directly from farmers and growers; business management training at Tel Hai College, small business loans for new restaurants and businesses; a food technology and research center at Beit Asher; and more. 


While wineries, fine dining, and historical attractions bring in tourists, the Galilee must offer more to young people, who often leave the region to settle in Tel Aviv and other urban areas. Jewish National Fund's community building takes many forms. Programs support local businesses and entrepreneurs, protect farmland, and provide leadership training.


The JNF Housing Development Fund provides infrastructure support, currently focusing on the community of Eschar. Additional projects, such as the Ma'alot Lake Monfort Project, a massive plan to build a community of commerce and recreation at the foot of the namesake lake will connect the town to the lake park and will feature galleries and artists lodgings. Along the central boulevard, a compound will be developed for classes, workshops, and cafes. The project will serve as a place for commerce and recreation and an amphitheater will host special performances.


Quality of life also includes good medical care which is always in need. Our plans include building new medical centers in both the Western and Upper Eastern Galilee regions, an essential component for future population growth.