Bloomberg Charity Grants Money to Israeli Cities

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem chosen as two out of 14 cities to receive grant money from Bloomberg Philanthropies

Cynthia Blank ,

A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Michael Bloomberg's charity announced last Monday that it will provide urban innovation grants to Israel's two biggest cities - Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 

Tel Aviv, located along the Mediterranean in central west Israel, has a population of 414,600 residents. Jerusalem, nestled in the Judean hill in the eastern part of the country, has a population of 801,000. 

Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York City, is a staunch supporter of the Jewish state. 

During Operation Protective Edge, Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv, after the United States' Federal Aviation Administration declared a ban on flights to and from Israel, in an effort to "show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel.”

“Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely,” Bloomberg said at the time. “The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately." 

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were two out of 14 cities designated to receive grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies for its Innovation Teams program. The grants total $45 million. 

Tel Aviv-Yafo will receive $650,000, while Jerusalem will receive $850,000. They are the first two cities outside of the United States to receive such grants. 

The funds will be used to hire "innovation teams" for three years as part of a program to “improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives - relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges,” Bloomberg Philanthropies wrote in a December 15 statement. 

Jerusalem plans to use the new personnel to address issues of poverty and economic development, while Tel Aviv-Yafo will focus its attention on illegal immigration and the high cost of living, according to that same statement.