home icon work icon education icon city icon

Efsharibari in the City: Ashkelon

Ashkelon, with its growing population, boasts not only its scenic sea-facing hills, ample greenery, and park spaces, but also infrastructure aimed at promoting the well-being of its residents.

Ashkelon: Introduction

לוגוNumber of residents: 145,432
Socio-economic index: 5
Mayor: Tomer Glam
Health coordinator: Miri Rimon
Head of health committee: Doron Nakshari, deputy mayor
Year of joining Efsharibari in the City: 2020
Facebook page: Ashkelon Municipality; Efsharibari Ashkelon

The council’s vision and the importance of health

Ashkelon has approximately 150,000 residents. It is a city with a steady influx of immigration which has doubled in size over the past decade. 
The Ashkelon Municipality has established objectives and benchmarks aimed at fostering a healthy and active community and improving the residents' quality of life.

In 2019, Ashkelon joined the Healthy Cities Network and was accepted into the Efsharibari in the City project in 2020.
The city aims is to develop a community culture of healthy and active lifestyle in various frameworks, across different segments of its population by creating plans, infrastructure, and guidance frameworks in various settings. 

Health-promoting policy

Implementing a policy to establish sport facilities and allocating areas for physical activity for high-risk and disabled populations:

  • Accessibility adaptations have been completed for all sports facilities in the city
  • Neighborhood fitness facilities, with adapted devices, have been established

Implementing a policy for adding physical activity time for school children:

  • The Zuzu program is implemented in 17 5th-6th grade classes (in a third weekly physical education class)
  • Six clubs are conducted in 7th-9th grade classes – sports activity after school hours
  • Folk dancing and active breaks are implemented in elementary schools
  • Annual leagues are conducted in various sports for 5th-6th, 7th-8th, and 9th-10th grade classes, for boys and girls

A policy for provision of healthy refreshments and water at meetings and events managed by the local authority:

  • Healthy refreshments and water are provided at all sporting events
  • A directive has been issued to the heads of divisions in the city that refreshments in meetings should consist of healthy food such as fruits and vegetables

A policy for supervising food in kiosks and vending machines in local public places:

  • The Ashkelon Municipality is in the process of writing the policy

A policy for enforcing the ban on smoking in public areas as per the requirements outlined in the report presented to the Minister of Health:

  • The municipality implements enforcement measures to ensure compliance with the ban on smoking in public places

Improving the physical environment

  • Bicycle paths were built across the city
  • Walking paths have been improved
  • Cool water points were added along the promenade

Efsharibari in the community

  • “Active in the City”: Open air gymnastics gatherings in the city’s neighborhoods
  • The "Climbing the Stairs" campaign encourages the use the of stairs in residential buildings, offices, and educational institutions 
  • A campaign called “I am 10 at the 10 o’clock meal” was conducted in first-grade classes to encourage appropriate meal planning and preparation, along with online resources for parents
  • The "Active on the Net" campaign involved distributing online videos that focused on promoting physical activity and the use of fitness facilities in the local neighborhoods
  • Proper nutrition: A campaign providing guidance in shopping centers, and distributing online videos, including videos for infants 
  • COVID-19: Distributing online videos for folk dance guidance

Unique program: “Active in the City”

  • Objectives and benchmarks: making physical activity accessible for adults in open areas close to home (adapted to suit the COVID-19 period)
  • The program aims to introduce adults to different physical activity options that can be done without guidance
  • Target audience: adults
  • Short description of the program: providing information about gathering spots in various neighborhoods for engaging in sporting activities, tai chi, yoga, and  bone-building exercises. The program aims to provide guided physical activity, open to the public and adapted for adults. It emphasizes developing the motivation needed to continue these activities independently during free time 
  • Partnerships: the Sports Department, the spokesperson, and the Community Centers Network
  • The program’s achievements: an active partnership of the participants, recruiting new participants (by word of mouth), and increasing the number of participants over time
  • The program was activated after the first quarantine; and so, it was adapted for the existing restrictions. 20 people participated in each group and 6 gatherings were held every week

yoga in the park

physical activity in the park

Efsharibari in education

Health promoting schools in 2019
Elementary schools: 16
High schools: 5

Key programs and activities in the education system

  • The “Walk to School” campaign: encouraging safe walking to school; Zoom lectures for parents, teachers, and children
  • The “Active in School” campaign: aimed to encourage physical activity among pupils and introduce them to new forms of activities.

map of health promoting scools

Link to the full map of health promoting education institutions

Publicity campaigns

  • A campaign promoting healthy nutrition among the municipality’s employees 
  • A smoking cessation courses campaign
  • A campaign encouraging people to use the stairs
  • More information on the website: "More Active and Healthier" of Efsharibari Ashkelon

Peak events

  • International Challenge Day (a day of sporting activities, in collaboration with the Popular Sports Association, involving all segments of the population.)
  • World Walking Day: promoting walking among the residents and a central event with a 5 km walking track

walking day poster, 30/10 ashkelon walks for it: step contest for world walking day, prizes for first to third places in each category. on walking day every step counts and ashkelon residents walk for it and health coins in the app

Further reading

Efsharibari in the City: map of participating local authorities and companies (Hebrew)
Efsharibari in the City guide for local authorities (Hebrew)