How do we make peoplehood tangible in our 21st century world? We’re doing it. The impressive achievements of the first ten years of our partnership demonstrate our collective force when we partner in common purpose.
Since 1996, when leaders from our community stepped forward to become part of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 (P2K), our commitment and involvement have become a powerful catalyst for change in Toronto and Eilat-Eilot.
Today, we are one of 550 global communities in 44 partnerships with Israel. Sharing ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success, our P2K partnerships have become the paradigm for successfully partnering the Jewish world.
What Will You Make of It?
1996 Partnership 2000 hosts mega-mission of 400-plus from the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto in the Eilat-Eilot region learning about the partnership.
1997 First delegation of teachers from Eilat-Eilot travels to Toronto to develop Gesher Chai (Living Bridges) programming. • Area kindergartners participate in hands-on science at the new Science and Technology Center. P2K funds transportation costs for all kindergartens.
1998 Our partnership assists in master plan to promote tourism and related initiatives in the Eilot region.
1999 P2K helps establish Eilat Holocaust Studies Center. • Expansion of “Anyone Can Do It” program enables 200-plus at-risk students to bridge educational gaps and advance to higher education. • “Ometz” educational initiative takes school dropouts and students at risk through intensive, individualized studies to pass their matriculation exams.
2000 Our P2K collaboration helps launch Yachdav Center for single-parent families. More than 100 families participate.
2001 Ben Gurion University opens Eilat campus, which today welcomes students from P2K-supported programs and scholarship recipients. • Eilot Region introduces Edom program, to help Ethiopian-Israeli youth from kibbutzim pass university entrance exams. Ten matriculate each year.
2002 Despite the security situation, Toronto sends at least one mission to the region each month. • P2K provides some 200 scholarships to disadvantaged children for enrichment activities.
2003 With Toronto’s assistance, the number of students passing the matriculation exams rises from 27% to well above the national average. • Toronto donates a specially equipped fire truck with 13-story extension ladder. One month later, it responds first on the scene of the horrific terror attack in Taba and saves many lives.
2004 Toronto makes a strategic decision to focus its philanthropic work in the Eilat-Eilot region on primary subjects such as education, environment and ecology, demographic development, people-to-people exchange activities and more. This action is expected to result in significant change and improvement.
2005 New Commando Friends project connects unsupervised youth with university student mentors, reducing both crime and negative social behaviors.
2006 Launch of Youth Futures, a flagship educational initiative helping children and youth at risk excel academically while developing and integrating socially.
A Decade of Connection
Our first P2K consultation took place in 1997 in Toronto with delegates from Eilat-Eilot.
At the time, Eilat’s highly transient population numbered nearly 40,000, with disproportionately high numbers of new immigrants and the nation’s highest percentage of single-parent households. Part of the strategically critical yet isolated Eilot region—a sparsely populated area encompassing 12 percent of Israel’s landmass—even with its breathtaking environment, Eilat-Eilot grappled with serious challenges. With tourism and low-skill employment the mainstay of Eilat’s economy, and negligible communal services for the region’s scattered kibbutzim, this was not a place where people wanted to live and work.
A Decade of Mutual Impact
Our visionary partnership has contributed greatly to the educational, economic and social development of the Eilat-Eilot area.
Since our partnership began, Eilat’s population has grown by more than a third. Even with that phenomenal growth, the city has been able to begin to reverse its fortunes. Through our innovative educational programs, more high school students advance to higher education. Families dependent on social welfare have help and hope. An up-and-coming university in Eilat, with a broad academic syllabus, will also benefit the entire region. In addition to attracting more students to the area and increasing opportunities for youth, it will also strengthen local business as large numbers of graduates remain and take root, and outside investors develop businesses around them.
A new health center offering a wide array of medical services has significantly improved health care in the Eilot region with our collaboration.
Continuing commitments to further develop Yosephtal Hospital will continue to improve services. An occupational development center will encourage higher employment and work advancement. The high school now has the critical mass to give students more choices of majors. And a unique mentoring program is taking youth at risk off the streets.
We have built living bridges between Toronto and Eilat-Eilot through scores of reciprocal visits of teachers, principals, doctors, families, students and volunteers— strengthening both of our communities.
“When a family looks for a place to live, their foremost considerations are health care, education and employment. When the Toronto Jewish community joined with Eilat and Eilot in Partnership 2000, we looked at these issues, rolled up our sleeves, and began to work together to create a reality that others would want to become a part of. And it is obvious that, although the work is not complete, we have come a long way together.” Hany Shamir, Chair of Young Leadership in Eilat-Eilot
“Partnership 2000 is important to our community because it brings our Toronto volunteers together with our Israeli counterparts in a true partnership, where decisions are made collaboratively and where personal connections, the key to a strong relationship, are nurtured.” Morland Brown, Co-Chair of P2K Toronto-Eilat-Eilot
Together, taking our partnership to the next level
What an extraordinary impact we’ve had so far. And it’s really just the beginning. Recently, we have developed a long-term strategic plan to help transform Eilat-Eilot’s demographic and employment opportunities. Promoting excellence in education and technology; attracting development; creating places where families want to live and work.
At the same time, we are innovating to connect our next generation to Israel in new ways; creating enduring connections that will shape Toronto’s future. A decade ago, our communities boldly grasped this opportunity to make a dramatic difference as one people. Now we’re ready to take this partnership to the next level.