The Shafir Regional Council is located in the northern Negev, linking Israel’s congested center and its sparse periphery. It is situated along the strategic junctions linking Tel Aviv with Beersheva and Ashkelon with Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The Shafir Region covers an area of approximately 61.8 sq. miles (160 sq. kilometers) and consists of 14 rural communities, including Moshav Shitufi Massuot Yitzhak (mostly populated by residents who prior to 1948 were first Holocaust survivors and then lived in Gush Etzion), Kibbutz Ein Tsurim, three regional centers and eight moshavim (cooperative communities).
The Shafir Region was established during the years 1948-52 by immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Iran, Germany Kurdistan, Hungary and Yemen. The population of the region is approximately 8,000 residents, consisting mainly of veteran Israelis. Several hundred former residents of Gush Katif in Gaza also moved to Shafir recently. Most of the residents of Shafir are religiously and kashrut observant.
Most of the Region’s inhabitants are engaged in agricultural employment, the main branches being field crops, fruit orchards and the rearing of livestock. Small industrial enterprises are to be found in Shafir. Kibbutz Ein Tsurim houses a number of factories, including Tadmor (a leather factory), the Bottle Tree factory, Ezem (manufacturer of faucets) and Ozma (air conditioners). The $300+million dollar Al Baad factory, producing disposable paper goods, is located on Kibbutz Massuot Yitzhak.
Because of its unique religious character, there are many nationally-acclaimed religious educational institutions in the area, including the Yaakov Herzog Center at Ein Tsurim, Yeshivat Or Etzion, a higher education Yeshiva, a military residential facility, and an Ulpana (boarding school for girls). In addition, the National Center for Shechita (ritual slaughter) Rulings is based in Shafir.
Mayor Asher Aberjil
The mayor of Shafir is Asher Aberjil. He was elected in November 2002. Asher has a B.Ed. from Bar Ilan University, a Masters of Education from Touro College and a Management Diploma from Bar Ilan University. Asher was a high school teacher who went on to train other teachers. He has been a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Housing. He has also managed an Economic Development Corporation.