Photo Credit: Kfir Sivan
Tel Aviv-Yafo

Tel Aviv is a founding member in a new effort pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation to build “resilience” in cities around the world that are faced with social, physical and economic challenges that come “as an increasing part of the 21st century.”

The city’s mayor, Ron Huldai, appointed Efrat Makin-Knafo as Tel Aviv-Yafo’s first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a new position created to lead citywide resilience-building efforts.

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The $164 million project, “100 Resilient Cities” (100RC) was launched this year as a global effort. Makin-Knafo’s position involves helping the city prepare for, withstand and bounce back from the ‘shocks’ of catastrophic events like earthquakes, fires, and floods and ‘stresses’ of slow-moving disasters like economic inequality, homelessness, and unemployment, which Huldai contends are increasingly part of 21st century life.

As Chief Resilience Officer, Makin-Knafo will report directly to Director-General Menachem Leiba and will oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive ‘Resilience Strategy’ for the city.

“Tel-Aviv-Yafo is a fantastic global, growing, open and innovative metropolis. The city has long been dealing with its resilience,” said Huldai. “However, there is still more to learn and do for us as a society.

“To be a truly resilient society means also dealing with the social economic polarization, supporting weaker parts of the community, affordable housing and encouraging true solidarity across the Tel Aviv-Yafo communities.”

Tel Aviv-Yafo’s participation with the 100RC project officially launched in December 2016 with a “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop.” Makin-Knafo’s position is to be fully funded by 100RC.

The CRO position is specifically designed to break down existing barriers at the local level, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances and financing mechanisms to address the resilience vulnerabilities of all city residents, with a particular focus on low-income and vulnerable populations.

“Efrat Makin-Knafo joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “Efrat Makin Knafo will become a global leader in resilience, and will be an asset for Tel Aviv-Yafo and other cities around the world.”

Makin-Knafo has worked as Chief of Staff at the office of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services since 2013. She also has worked as a prosecutor at the Center District of the Ministry of Justice, among her many other achievements.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.