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TWINNING > ISRAEL

Wineries, arts and crafts and agro-tourism on the biblical hills of Israel n Barrels of wine in a vinery in the moshav of Mata, close to Jerusalem

www.enpi-info.eu As the numbers employed in traditional agriculture steadily decline, Israel's Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged residents of agricultural communities to turn to alternative employment. Wineries and dairies, micro-breweries, rural bed and breakfast accommodation, and arts and crafts outlets are among the new options being explored. Thanks to the European Union’s widespread experience with rural diversification, Israel has turned to the EU's Twinning project for help in shaping a new rural development policy, focusing on agro-tourism. An EU Neighbourhood Info Centre journalist visited some of the rural diversification activities, and has this report. Text by: Marc Weiss Pictures by: AFP © EU/Neighbourhood Info Centre JERUSALEM - It all began in 2001 when Leah, who lives in a farming community in Israel's Mate Yehuda regional council, asked her nephew Nevo Haza if she could pick his neighbour's grapes, left over after the harvest, in order to make wine. The wine was a hit, and Leah swears that the love and devotion she put into the wine-making was instrumental in her recovery from cancer. Nevo, a religious man, spoke in terms of divine intervention and promised his aunt he would continue making wine. He began to study viticulture with the aim of setting up a family business… Fast-forward 12 years. Coach parties and organised tours visit the Nevo boutique winery at Mata, a moshav agricultural community half an hour from Jerusalem, almost every day. After a guided tour that includes tastings and an explanation of the winemaking process, the guests visit the country-style visitor centre. They can order a delicious meal prepared by Nevo's This publication does wife, Iris, using locally-grown fresh produce, washed down, of course, with a glass or two of Nevo wine. Nevo wines not represent the age for 20 months in French oak barrels, placed in an old bomb shelter official view of the EC no longer in use, before selling for about 25 euros a bottle. Today, the or the EU institutions. EU Neighbourhood Info Centre region boasts more than 30 boutique wineries. The EC accepts no Feature no. 117 responsibility or This is a series of features on projects liability whatsoever A new rural development policy funded by the EU, prepared by with regard to its Increasingly, residents of Israel's agricultural communities are seeking journalists and photographers on the content. alternative livelihoods as the numbers employed in traditional agriculture ground or the EU Neighbourhood steadily decline. Info Centre. Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) saw the © 2014 EU/Neighbourhood Info Centre potential of agro-tourism and encouraged residents of farming


Wineries, arts and crafts and agro-tourism on the biblical hills of Israel

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EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Feature no. 117

n EU Ambassador to Israel Lars

“The EU has a lot to offer in terms of diversification: trying to accommodate new industries and agrotourist ventures into rural areas. However, it's a two-way street, and Europe can also learn from the Israeli experience”

Faaborg-Andersen (C) listens to a vinery owner during a visit to a vinery in the moshav of Mata

communities to venture into new areas, such as wineries and dairies, micro-breweries, rural bed and breakfast accommodation and arts and crafts outlets. European Union member states have widespread experience with rural diversification and, with this in mind, Israel turned to the EU's Twinning programme for help in shaping a new rural development policy, focusing on agro-tourism. EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, says that the EU’s Twinning programme aims to share European experience in fields of interest to its immediate neighbours, like Israel: “At first sight – he says – it might seem unusual that we have anything to offer to Israel, with its rich tradition of kibbutzim and moshavim. But the EU has a lot to offer in terms of diversification: trying to accommodate new industries and agro-tourist ventures into rural areas. However, it's a two-way street, and Europe can also learn from the Israeli experience – cross fertilisation, to use agricultural terminology, beneficial to both parties.” “Israeli entrepreneurs, whether in kibbutzim, moshavim or for instance the Bedouin communities in the Negev, who are trying to develop agro-tourism initiatives, face similar administrative challenges – continues the Ambassador - I am fascinated by the way all these initiatives develop rural areas, while keeping alive the different traditions that enrich Israel's diverse society”. As part of the Twinning project, MARD chose Italian and German experts to assist Israel with its rural development programme, aiming at approximating Israel's rural development policy with existing EU legislation and thus realizing one of the objectives of the EU-Israel Action Plan under European Neighbourhood Policy. Italy's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies chose Giuliano Polenzani from Umbria as Resident Twinning Advisor (RTA). Polenzani provides hands-on expertise in mobilising the most suitable Italian and German experts to help meet Israel's challenges. His day-to-day cooperation with MARD staff makes it easier to adopt the EU rural development approach to the Israeli environment. “EU and Israeli farmers have similar needs and are looking for new income sources,” Polenzani says. “Rural development policy is the most suitable tool for accompanying agricultural diversification and development of rural communities. Through twinning, MARD is drawing up a new programme able to support agrotourism and innovative ideas from local farmer entrepreneurs seeking an alternative source of income.” Grandfather’s Art Gallery Nissim Levy was born in the Kurdish region of Iraq in 1941 and migrated to Israel with his family, aged 10. He worked as a farmer in moshav Zafririm, not far from Mata, but struggled to make a living. At the ripe age of 58 he decided to devote more time to his real passion: metalwork.

“EU and Israeli farmers have similar needs and are looking for new income sources”

n Sheep made of scraps in the israeli moshav of Tzafririm, close to Jerusalem


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EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Feature no. 117

He soon discovered he possessed a rare talent for turning discarded day-to day artefacts into works of art. Relatives, friends and neighbours began to flock to Nissim's outdoor workshop, dubbed ‘Grandfather's Gallery’ by his granddaughters, to see every imaginable piece of metal, wood and plastic junk recycled into sculptures of animals, musical instruments and much more besides. Grandfather's Gallery soon turned into a tourist attraction. To cope with the growing number of visitors, Ziona, Nissim's wife, began offering ethnic Iraqi-style meals, and Nissim's daughter, Galia, runs chocolate-making n Residents of farming communities are encouraged to venture into new areas, such as wineries and workshops. The family have also built a Kurdish heritage dairies, micro-breweries, rural bed and breakfast accommodations room with displays of original Kurdish costumes, carpets and photographs. Today the Levy family generates about half of its income from tourism, and Grandfather's Gallery has become a shining example of an initiative backed by MARD to encourage diversification of activities in rural areas. Shai Dotan, MARD's agro-tourism director and RTA counterpart, believes diversification is “In the framework of the one of the important tools of rural development. Twinning project we are “In the framework of the Twinning project we are learning from the EU how to help many learning from the EU how and varied initiatives, such as the Nevo winery and Grandfather's Gallery,” he says. to help many and varied As MARD develops a comprehensive framework for agricultural sustainable development, initiatives, such as the the EU will continue to provide advice and financial assistance with the aim of strengthening Nevo winery and Israeli rural communities.

Grandfather's Gallery”

TWINNING It is an instrument for the cooperation between Public Administrations of EU Member States (MS) and of beneficiary countries.

http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/tenders/twinning/index_en.htm Twinning is an EC initiative originally designed to help candidate countries acquire the necessary skills and experience to adopt, implement and enforce EU legislation. Since 2004, Twinning has also been available to countries in the ENPI region. On a demand driven base, the projects bring together public sector expertise from EU Member States and partner countries, with the aim of enhancing co-operation activities. Twinning projects are joint projects, shared by the two partner administrations. The partner country retains ownership. To find out more EU Neighbourhood Info Centre fiche http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=167&id_type=10 Twinning News http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/overview/twinning_en.htm EU Neighbourhood Feature story Sharing experience to bring equal opportunities Multi-country cooperation instruments http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=271&id_type=10

EU Neighbourhood Info Centre An ENPI project The EU Neighbourhood Info Centre is a project funded by the EU in the framework of the Regional Communication programme, highlighting the partnership between the EU and Neighbouring countries. The project is managed by Action Global Communications.

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Agro tourism en  

Feature story in English on agro-tourism in Israel