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Efsharibari in the City: Jezreel Valley

With 15 kibbutzim, 14 moshavim, 7 community settlements, and 2 villages, the Jezreel Valley regional council develops sports and tourism infrastructure to promote the residents’ health.

Photo taken by: Tzachi Varmus

Jezreel Valley Regional Council: Introduction

Number of residents: 43,000
Socio-economic index: 8
Head of council: Eyal Betzer
Health coordinator: Chen Zaretzki
Head of health committee: Avi Samovich, deputy mayor
Year of joining Efsharibari in the City: 2020
Facebook page: Jezreel Valley Regional Council

The council’s vision and the importance of health

The Efsharibari program: Jezreel Valley Regional Council’s goal has been to raise the residents and council employees’ awareness of the importance of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, with an emphasis on physical activity and healthy nutrition, out of responsibility for its residents; to educate and provide residents with the resources, tools, and skills required to maintain and improve their health.

The council has further undertaken to develop the public spaces in its jurisdiction to enable residents to practice an active and healthy lifestyle.
Promoting the health issue in the council is part of the sports department’s role, which is subordinate to the Director General of the council. The council joined the Efsharibari program during the pilot program in 2012, and after the program was cancelled in 2015, the council operated independently and allocated budgets for health promotion. In 2020, the council resumed taking an active part in the Efsharibari national program.

Health-promoting policy

When the council joined the Efsharibari program in 2012, the refreshment practice at council meetings was changed, as was the catering offered to the council summer campers. In 2020, the approved smoking corners procedure was advertised, in which smoking corners were defined and signs were hung informing the public of the smoking prohibition in the council building’s public space.

Improving the physical environment

  • Building new sports facilities in six localities
  • Upgrading existing sports facilities and purchasing dedicated equipment in 19 localities

Unique program: the Step Challenge: a local competition for World Walking Day

A step accumulation competition, intended to increase the engagement of council residents in physical activity as part of their daily routine, was held in the week preceding the peak event of World Walking Day. For six days, the residents of various localities competed amongst them. The goal was achieving the biggest number of accumulated steps and the biggest number of participating residents. In the end of each day, a representative of the council sent a report stating the number of residents who had walked and the total number of steps.

The council's sports and tourism departments have partnered on this program. An additional goal was to create community bonding around the step competition and encourage residents to participate in regional and local activities.

28 localities (out of 39) participated in the competition; the youngest participant was 10 years old, and the oldest was 94; 6,910 step measures were reported. The total number of steps taken by the residents during the challenge was 67,268,734. The winning locality was Beit She'arim, which had the largest number of walking residents. The prize for the winning locality is assistance in purchasing a local ninja facility for the benefit of residents.

walking trail

Efsharibari in education

Health-promoting schools in 2019
Elementary schools: 14
High schools: 2

Map of health promoting educational institutes

Link to the map of the health-promoting educational institutes

Key programs in the educational system

Nutritional accompaniment in early childhood frameworks in the localities: as part of the cooperation between Efsharibari in Jezreel Valley and the Education Department, Idit Ezov, a professional dietitian, accompanied five early childhood frameworks in the council’s localities: Nahalal, Ramat David, Machane Yehudit, Shimshit, and Gazit. As part of the accompaniment, the educational teams met the dietitian three times, and another session was conducted through Zoom with the parents of the kindergarten children. During the session, the teams studied about proper nutrition, catering, and how kids should be taught about the topic of nutrition.

Professional counselling program: workshops for youth on a variety of topics relating to the issue of an active and healthy lifestyle in the localities. Youth coordinators and teenagers in the localities selected the type of activity in which they wanted to participate, such as combat fitness, basketball, self-defense, cooking workshops, etc.

Publicity campaigns and peak events

Over the year, we have dealt with the prevention of risky behaviors and hazards: the forgotten child syndrome, child drowning in home swimming pools, snake bites, and COVID-19 transmission.

Further reading

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