Beit Shean is a town in the north east of Israel just 10 kms from the border with Jordan and in the heart of Israel’s agricultural belt. It is an ancient city that was on the main trade route from Egypt to Syria in the Roman and Byzantium periods. Today the population is around 17,000 and most are descendants of Jews from Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, and Iraq.
The town has a small industrial area but it employs very few people. In general, wages are low due to the lack of local work opportunities and poor public transportation makes it difficult for people to travel far for work.
Relative to other towns in Israel, car ownership is low.The town’s main economy is from retail trade. Recently, Beit Shean has started to develop but growth is slower than other similar towns in Israel.
The old Ottoman railway line that passed through Beit Shean to Damascus closed in 1947 just before the State of Israel was established in 1948. The railway line reopened in 2016 and today runs from Beit Shean to Haifa, which is a major port and industrial area. The new transport connection is a huge lever to help the region’s demographic growth programs.
Beit Shean has great potential to increase trade and employment options for residents and to attract new families. This is the focus of our work.
TIMEFRAME: 2009 – current.
INTERVENTION TYPE: Place-based.