Glimpses of Israel - Progree In The Galilee

by Joy Hunting

The Galilee's population has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and business planning has moved into top gear as an investment boom -- road building and tele-communications expansion for example -- has brought about a shrinking in travel time within the region, and also has brought the centre of the country's population areas much closer.

The growing communities in the towns serve many industrial parks and high-tech plants. Trained personnel, low rentals and a good quality of life have enticed many industries to relocate in the area. As well tourism is growing, with previously neglected historic and Biblical sites being displayed.

Two years ago the Tsur Industrial University was opened, whose aim is to create a framework combining academic knowledge with practical experience. Tefen Industrial Park, located in a hilly area a twenty minute drive from Nahariya on the coast, provides the venue for the practical side of the program. Students actually spend much of their time working in industry, which has educational value and helps the students cover part of their training costs.

Some residents from Har Halutz, the hilltop settlement in Western Galilee, who have come from Tel Aviv to live in the Galilee area, now have a public relations firm, Tefen Communications, to service leading commerical companies in the north of Israel. And other major industries have opened factories that attract workers from the large town of Ma'alot.

Nearby is Kfar Vradim (Rose Village) which attracts professionals, and is a hot-house of entrepreneurs manufacturing new products for export: commercial computer-based systems, fabrication of quartz and glass for semi-conductors, moulds and plastic components, and hand-made pottery and stoneware.

The aim for all the towns in the entire region is to absorb the maximum number of people while doing the minimum damage to the environment. No polluting industries are allowed, and the factories and surrounds are kept meticulously clean. There is a sculpture garden, and gardens of rosemary, juniper, acacia and roses --  roses everywhere.

Zionism has been "coming and doing" in the Galilee region, firstly settling the land and providing defence for the settlers, and then developing entrepreneurial industry in order to help the nation achieve economic independence.