The mystical city of Tzfat is likely to be getting a facelift with an infusion of new funds raised in the United States by the city's energetic mayor, Ilan Shochat. The mayor raised about half a million dollars for education, social services and cultural projects.
He also raised another NIS 1.5 million to renovate and upgrade the cultural center in Tzfat, “Beit Yigal Alon.” The last time the building saw a facelift was twenty years ago.
Shochat and his wife Sivan, who set out on their fund raising mission more than a week ago, met with with an organization that represents dozens of Jews, according to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew news service.
“I explained to potential donors that Tzfat is at a crossroads and that we must prepare the groundwork for major projects – first and foremost, the medical school,” the mayor said. “We made presentations on the changes taking place within the city, and convinced them of the need to help Tzfat” he said.
Shochat said he also met in Newark, New Jersey with officials from the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund / Keren Kayemet L'Israel – the big-ticket donors who agreed to underwrite the renovation of Beit Yigal Alon.
In the next few weeks, the Galilee city will issue a request for proposals to groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who are eligible to receive the funds for social and cultural activities. The funds will be transfered directly to the organizations, rather than through the municipality, according to the mayor.
“It wasn't easy to convince donors to invest such a mammoth sum in Tzfat. This is an historic event that will give new momentum to Tzfat and will greatly advance projects that are being held up,” Shochat said. “I hope it is only the beginning and that we can raise additional funds in the future.”