The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labor opened, Monday, a unique employment center in the Upper Galilee city of Kiryat Shmonah for former members of the South Lebanese Army and members of their families. Almost 13 years since then prime minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli troops out of a security zone they had set up in southern Lebanon, and there is a 30-percent unemployment rate among the men and 70 percent among the women.
Minister Shalom Simchon said the greatest challenge is locating those eligible for the full-service centers and getting them to avail themselves of the opportunity. The number of working-age people in the target community is about 1,000. The Kiryat Shmonah facility joins one in Nahariya, near Israel's Mediterranean border with Lebanon, which opened in November. Their activities are scheduled to expand to Tiberias, on the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee in the upcoming months.