Event Report: Exploring the Success Stories of Kfar-Saba and Jaljulia Municipalities   30/05/2023

On a tour organized by the Galilee Society, in partnership with Haifa University and Shefa`Amer Municipality, personnel from Shefa’Amer City Municipality embarked on an enlightening tour to Kfar-Saba and Jaljulia Municipalities. The purpose of this tour was to showcase the remarkable accomplishments of these municipalities in implementing effective policies and plans in the face of climate change.

Our first stop was Kfar-Saba, where we were greeted by the warm hospitality of the senior municipal staff at their sustainability center. The CEOs of both municipalities exchanged heartfelt greetings, expressing their hopes for a deep collaboration and knowledge exchange between the two cities. Omar Elmalak, CEO of Shefa’Amer, expressed his gratitude to his counterpart for their willingness to share expertise in climate change planning. In a lighthearted moment, he mistakenly mentioned that Shefa’Amer municipality had secured funding from the EU two years ago, when in fact it was the Galilee Society that received the grant for “Harnessing Professional Expertise and Localized Knowledge for Collaborative Climate Resilience in Shefa-’Amr,” in partnership with Haifa University and Shefa`Amer Municipality.

During the visit, the Kfar-Saba municipal staff, including City Architect Michal Shriver Galvandorf, Head of City Beautification Department Udi Lahav, Advisor to the Mayor for Women’s Status, Gender Equality, and Public Engagement Tali Rona, Director of the Department for Health Promotion and Urban Vaccination Sharon Georgie, Deputy CEO of Water Operations Ma’oz Lipshitz, Director of the Administration for Urban Renewal Itzik Ben Yitzhak, Director of the Department for Sustainability and Innovation Tami Katsburg Nevenzel, and Director of the Department for Sustainability and Urban Adaptation to Climate Change Shlomit Ketro, delivered insightful presentations, each highlighting their unique perspectives and roles in the development and implementation of the comprehensive climate change plan.

Following the engaging discussions, our group embarked on a captivating tour of two significant locations in Kfar-Saba. The first was the water tower, offering a panoramic view of the city adorned with solar panels on buildings and municipal areas. These solar panels not only aimed to reduce electricity costs but also had the added value of providing shade and a serene atmosphere for playgrounds and sporting fields. The director of water management of the city gave a detailed explanation on how the city manages its water recourse in an efficient way.

Our next stop was the bio-filter, an impressive construction nestled within one of the parks. Constructed using natural and environmentally friendly materials, such as specific types of rock and coal, this bio-filter effectively filters contaminated well water before circulating it throughout the city.

Jaljulia Village Visit: Energy Independence and Sustainable Initiatives

After a brief lunch break at a local restaurant in Jaljulia, we proceeded to the Jaljulia village local council, where we received a warm welcome from the mayor and the CEO. Etai Tsahar, the CEO, provided a detailed overview of the local council’s methods for achieving energy independence. Through collaboration with a private company, solar panels were installed on all council buildings, resulting in zero electricity costs. The savings enabled the council to rebuild village infrastructure and create new public spaces. Their future plan involves subsidizing the installation of garbage disposal devices in every household’s sinks, reducing garbage collection costs. During the tour, we witnessed the transformed landscape, showcasing the village’s progress and commitment to sustainability.

The tour proved to be an invaluable experience, showcasing the innovative approaches and successful initiatives implemented by Kfar-Saba and Jaljulia Municipalities in tackling climate change. It left our group inspired and motivated, fostering a sense of optimism for future collaborations and the exchange of knowledge between Shefa’Amer and these pioneering cities.