Nothing has impacted the city more than the loss of tourism. Two weeks ago, Mayor Shuki Ohana made an impassioned plea in the Knesset for funds to aid our struggling local businesses. Last week, the mayor joined over 50 people in a demonstration urging the Knesset to increase funding. Yesterday, the new Minister of Tourism, Asaf Zamir, visited the city for a day of meetings and a tour of the city. The mayor outlined the challenges facing us, and the devastating impact the loss of tourism is having on on our local economy. "Many of our local businesses- particularly our artisans and those working directly in the tourism industry, have not survived the last months. The expectation of restored international tourism is far away, and it is vital that we have support in promoting and marketing the city both in Israel and abroad," said the mayor. The afternoon tour took Mr. Zamir to the site of two new planned hotels near the Canaan Spa on Mout Canaan. They visited the construction site at Kikar Ashtam, a cooperative development project being built by the municipality, the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Tourism. The tour went through the Artists Alley, where most of the galleries have been shuttered since March. Minister Zamir, who speaks perfect English, was clearly swept up by the spirit of the city. He committed to working with the mayor and the Ministry of Finance for additional economic relief for gallery owners and small businesses. While Mayor Ohana is a committed Likudnik, and Minister Zamir from the Blue and White Party, the two made a warm connection. Their shared enthusiasm for a thriving Zefat transcends party, and Zamir promised to work closely with the municipality. "This is such a beautiful city," said Minister Zamir. "I am impressed with the beauty of this city, the amazing residents and its' great tourist potential. I am committed to working with the mayor to help this city achieve its full potential."