This article appeared in the December 2013 Newsletter (read in full here) for the Shahaf Foundation–a partnership of 16 donors for Israel and abroad that support a network of 170 young communities in Israel.
Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen visited the Sederot young Communities on November 21, 2013: “Communities are one of the more important things that are happening in Israel; this is modern Zionism and I would be happy to recommend to every mayor in Israel to embrace the capabilities of the young communities to effect change.”
The minister also noted that the government is not doing enough to support communities in these areas and that it must take more responsibility: “The Shahaf Foundation is linking various communities across the country from every sector – secular, religious, Druze, Ethiopians, etc. But the one that should be taking responsibility for the situation is the government itself.”
In Sederot, Cohen met with the Afikim Ba’Negev community, founded in 1993, consisting of about 300 families that work to strengthen the city. They work in the city’s education system, provide services to children at risk and operate support services for families in need.
The minister also met with the Mitz’ad community, a part of M’dor L’dor, in which young Kavkazi adults take responsibility to find ways to better integrate new immigrants into Israeli society. He also visited the Migvan urban kibbutz in Sederot, a community with about 70 members that operates, among other things, the first high-tech company in Sederot, which is developing advanced on-line environments for communities and businesses. Cohen also met with residents with special needs that live in the urban kibbutz environment, a unique model for community integration.