Even before the end of the war last month, we were busy developing plans to help rebuild the north, and we have already submitted a proposal for wide-ranging activities to our funding partners. We will use Tsafona, the subsidiary company owned by the Jewish Agency and entrepreneurs that is responsible for the development of a long-term plan for the north, for the planning stage of these programs. The total unmet need that we have detailed in the paper is estimated at more than $380 million.
Our aim is to work with the government to use the opportunity forced on us to bring the residents of north to the same level as their compatriots in the center of the country where such issues as employment, educational success and school drop-out rate are concerned. There are currently significant gaps in these areas, and our success in closing them can be easily measured.
The projects we have proposed will build on existing and new Jewish Agency programs and expertise, and will use our infrastructure and strategic relationships in order to ensure rapid implementation with minimum bureaucracy and delays, while fully leveraging all available resources and ensuring that there will be no duplication of efforts.
The projects can be divided into four main categories, each of which seeks to address different problems facing the north and its population.
New Tomorrow will continue on from the Moving our Children to Safety campaign and focuses on the younger generation of residents of the north. A comprehensive program of scholastic, values and cultural enrichment through both formal and informal education institutions for 6-18 year olds, will help the younger generation recover from the trauma of the war. The year-long program will utilize and expand upon the Youth Futures model.
Revitalize Northern Israel's Economy: we plan to create an evergreen fund that will provide capital and business development loans to support economic recovery and growth throughout the north. The program will reach out to many of the estimated 90,000 small businesses in the north - those that employ up to 30 workers - but will, naturally, indirectly impact the entire Israeli economy.We are in contact with a number of bodies about the management of the fund and hope that its creation will be approved by UJC.
Direct Assistance to Frontline Populations: we must continue our enhanced support for victims of terror, immigrant combat soldiers and olim living in absorption centers in north through a variety of enrichment and social welfare programs, while we also plan to encourage MASA participants to do volunteer service in the north.
Building Vital Communal Infrastructure: While the government will compensate those residents whose homes have been destroyed or damaged - in total some 10,000 homes were damaged by the rockets - it cannot alone repair the physical damage to the public structures in the north or refurbish them. We are therefore working to find funding for the renovation of public buildings in the north such as community centers.
In addition, our proposal includes special capital projects for hospitals in the north and the provision of new and vital equipment for the schools in the north that suffered damage from katyusha rockets