The national "City Without Violence" program has been chosen as the Israeli government and the Ministry of Public Security's flagship program for combating anti-social behavior, violence, delinquency and crime.
All of the relevant programs, projects, activities and the efforts made by the local municipalities all operate under the authority of the "City Without Violence" program.
The program is a multi-disciplinary, system-wide plan to deal with all types of violent situations, crime and anti-social behavior within the city. In each municipality the program is run by the head of the municipality in cooperation with all the organizations and departments involved in areas of law enforcement, welfare, education, absorption and more.
The aim of the program is to intensify the residents' sense of personal security, by establishing a synchronized and effective unified force (led by the head of the authority) which combines both civilian and police efforts.
The Israeli Government's National Program, in Cooperation with the Friendship Fund
The program is led on a national level by a ministerial committee, established to combat violence. The program is run by a national steering committee, comprised of representatives of all government ministries dealing with social issues, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Ministry of Immigration Absorption, the Ministry of Pensioner Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and more, as well as representatives of the Friendship Fund; and is headed by the Director General of the Ministry of Public Security, with aid from a professional staff which guides, leads and sees through the implementation of the program within the cities and supervises it.
The program is funded by the Israeli government, via the Ministry of Public Security, as well as by the Friendship Fund - headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstien - and participating local municipalities. In addition to the basic budget, the program also pools additional municipal resources aimed at combating violence and crime.
The Friendship Fund, headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstien, is active in promoting social issues and dealing with Israel's central social problems. Following the implementation of the program, the fund joined in as the Israeli government's main partner for the implementation of the program and the allocation of a wide range of resources, all for the sake of the program's success.
From a Local to a National Program
The program originally began in 2004 in Eilat, led by Dr. Orly Innes, a doctor of Sociology, and the Mayor of Eilat, Meir Yitzhak Halevi, where the program continues to operate to this day. Following the program's success in minimizing violence and crime in the city, and in light of the increased need for a system-wide fight against the country's growing phenomenon of violence, the ministerial committee for the battle against violence decided in September 2006 to adopt the "City Without Violence" program as a nationwide model for fighting violence within local municipalities. Today, the program is operational in 98 municipalities across the country, and the goal of the Ministry is to expand the "City Without Violence" program to as many areas within Israel as possible.
A Different, Innovative and Unique Program
The uniqueness of the "City Without Violence" program lies in its dynamic approach and ability to combine multiple factors within the authority into one consolidated work force. The basic assumption of the program is that in order to deal with violence effectively, an all encompassing and holistic solution must be provided, rather than focusing on a single element or population. The focus of change, therefore, is the whole city, rather than just one neighborhood or school.
During the learning, planning and developing processes conducted in Eilat, the scope and severity of the various phenomena were revealed. In response, the necessary development needs and changes were defined.
Enlisting all the Municipal Forces
In order for such a program to be successful, the city's management must cooperate with the various systems operating within it, in placing the program at the head of their priorities, and working tirelessly towards making the necessary changes, pooling resources and implementing the various activities.
A Universal Model Suitable to Every Municipality
The program offers a methodology which enables various communities to make use of the model in order to conduct a local diagnosis, build a work program, and implement it while using a variety of tools that were developed during this process. The combination of a dedicated leadership together with professional, measurable parameters, leads to change. The results of the program speak for themselves.
In 2010, the program was expanded to 66 additional municipalities, and operated in 78 local authorities across the country. In 2011-2012, more authorities joined the program, and "City Without Violence" is now operational in a total of 98 municipalities throughout the country.