Chicago philanthropists are helping bring food-tech and entrepreneurship to Israel's North

Known as the "breadbasket of Israel," the Galilee region has undergone a culinary revolution, becoming the latest hotspot for food-tech innovation. Now, thanks to a new partnership between Jewish National Fund-USA and the Margalit Startup City Galil, and with backing from Chicago-based philanthropists, the world's dinner plates might soon look different.

Nisan Zeevi, vice president & impact director of Margalit Startup City Galil, recently visited Chicago to highlight his successes with Jewish National Fund-USA partners (donors).

On July 19, 2023, he addressed members of JNFuture, the organization's community of young professionals ages 22-40, at an intimate dinner at Nuovo, where he discussed Startup City Galil's vision for the future of the Galilee and Jewish National Fund-USA's role in that vision.

Jewish National Fund-USA's new food-tech hub in northern Israel combines the country's historic strength in food and agriculture with its international leadership in cutting-edge technologies. Together with Margalit Startup City Galil, its approach is to bring venture capitalism into the food-tech sector, uniting the leading food and agricultural communities, municipalities, research institutes, multinational manufacturers, and especially start-ups.

Zeevi emphasized this the next day when he spoke to leaders of the organization's Women for Israel Society members at Bryn Mawr Country Club, where he highlighted Jewish National Fund-USA-powered GaliLadies, a community for innovative women in northern Israel with a vision to develop the Galilee and Golan regions by making women's dreams of social and environmental impact come true.

That night, again at Bryn Mawr, Zeevi was the keynote speaker at an exclusive reception for the organization's society members, where Jewish National Fund-USA partners learned how they can invest in Startup City Galil and continue to grow the Galilee.

For Margalit Startup City Galil, its Center of Innovation is about making the Galilee a more desirable place to live, bringing funding and the well-paying jobs that come with it to the area.

"Our main goal is to create high-quality, high-salary jobs," said Zeevi. "Because when you create high-salary jobs, you can attract young professional families and create an economic development model that can actually succeed."

And Jewish National Fund-USA is the perfect partner to help make this happen. The organization already launched its Go North strategic initiative, which aims to attract 300,000 new residents to Israel's rural north by boosting tourism, supporting housing development, bringing jobs to the community, making medical services accessible, and improving the quality of life for residents. Startup City Galil is yet another way to bring business and people to the region.

"Building out the Galilee is a strategic goal in building a stronger, more resilient, and more secure northern Israel for whatever may come to that region," said Jewish National Fund-USA's National Campaign Director, Midwest, Ellen Spira Hattenbach. "Margalit Startup City Galil is an important part of the ecosystem we are building in the region, and the future of Israel's north has never been brighter."

To learn more, visit or contact Ellen Spira Hattenbach at

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