Katzrin A Microcosm Of The Zionist Dream!

Katzrin, the capital of the Golan, was established in 1977 as a planned urban centre for the Golan under the auspices of the Israeli government in November 1973. 1976 saw construction begin, and it has now become a regional hub providing educational, administrative and cultural services throughout the region.

The first settlers were from Tel Aviv and Haifa. By the 1980s, the second influx of Jews came from the former Soviet Union and represented a third of the local population. The 21st century saw a third wave of English-speaking Jews from the United Kingdom, America, South Africa, Canada, and Australia call Katzrin home.

This diverse demographic has flourished despite the initial lack of infrastructure development. Until 2014, the Ministry of Housing had five tenders for construction in quarter 10, but no entrepreneur tended. This same disinterest was reflected in the sparse development of the Industrial area.

2014 was a bellwether moment in Katzrins’s future as investors and developers became aware of its potential and attractiveness for young and old alike to invest in their future and that of their children by laying down roots in Israel’s north.

2014 coincided with a change of administration in the local government of Katzrin as a young, farsighted Jew became Mayor. Dimi Apartzev, husband, father and son, was about to become Katzrins’s most successful administrator in its short history. Turn the clock forward to 2024, and under his visionary leadership, Katzrin has serious ambitions to become a vibrant and cohesive capital of the Golan, a place of beauty, innovation, growing employment opportunities and above all, a fulfilment of the Zionist agenda for the Jewish State and embracing all its residents and leaving none behind.

February 28, 2024, Katzrin will go to the polls to elect a new council and a Mayor to administer it for the next five years. One can’t help asking, ‘If it ain’t Broke, don’t Fix it’. Another 5 years of Dimi Apartzev would be more of the same sustainable development and steady growth, securing a much-needed Jewish majority in Israel’s north. Dimi Apartzev is acutely aware of the looming immigration of Jews from countries of the diaspora not seen since the Russian Aliya. He knows that places like Katzrin must be ready to absorb the arrival of tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants fleeing the shadow of Jew-hatred now enveloping the West. Dimi Apartzev knows from personal experience during his years under the anti-Semitic Soviet Union that the very reason for Zionism’s existence is the return of our people to the Land. This understanding has motivated his passion for Katzrin and its people’s future.

Dimi Apartzev believes Katzrin must grow or die according to the policies implemented by whoever is elected Mayor in February. Should it be Dimi Apartzev, then Katzrin will see an immigrant-fed economy that benefits all its residents—providing health care, schools, diverse businesses and new synagogues for the growing religious population along with sports facilities for the youth and young at heart while not overlooking the cultural life of a diverse population.

Dimi Apartzev is not concerned with partisan politics or negative campaigns that play the man. He is interested in seeing what he started ten years ago to its completion. With another five years, he will have contributed to establishing the Jewish national home in the Golan.

Yosef Yigal Drever

Yosef Yigal Drever and Sylvia Drever co-founded Achdut HaLev in 2006 to reach out to the Jewish community's around the world providing support in learning Torah and promoting the 'Return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.' Yosef Yigal made Aliya in 2014 while Sylvia his wife is an Israeli. In late 2014 Achdut HaLev concentrated all its resources towards Aliya and the rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael. Excluding none and embracing all. The commandment to settle the Land of Israel is equal in importance to all the Torah Commandments all together: (Sifri Deut 12:29)