JNF Ontario Community Mission Tours the Western Negev

The 2015 JNF Ontario Community mission spent ten days touring Israel, learning about the country and KKL-JNF's contribution to the people and the environment.

March 8, 2015 11:57
2 minute read.

JNF Ontario Community 758. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)

On Wednesday, February 25, the JNF Ontario Community Mission toured the Western Negev and saw how KKL-JNF is transforming the desert into a fertile and welcoming region for residents and visitors.

"Our goal is familiarize the participants of the February 2015 JNF Canadian mission with the many dimensions of KKL-JNF's activities and the role the organization plays in people's lives here," said Franklin Simkevitz, mission leader and director of JNF Regional Ontario. Ten days of touring the length and breadth of the country accomplished that goal, and the twenty participants, half of whom were visiting Israel for the first time, went home with a new appreciation of the country and what KKL-JNF has accomplished over the years, with the support of JNF Canada. 

The day began with an early morning visit to KKL-JNF's tree nursery in Eshtaol, where the group was greeted by Gioia Menasce of KKL-JNF's Canadian Desk. The Jewish Lunar year 5775 is a sabbatical year, during which the land of Israel rests and new trees are not planted. However, as KKL-JNF forester Eran Zabadi explained, for now tree seedlings may be planted in pots and then planted in the earth after next Rosh Hashanah. Everyone was given an almond tree seedling which they planted in plastic containers, and were then presented with a seedling planting certificate.

The group, which included a number of people from small communities around Ontario, proceeded to the Nir Am reservoir on the border of the Gaza Strip, which was constructed by KKL-JNF with support from its friends in Canada. Yishai, the KKL-JNF guide, told the guests that the reservoir, which has a volume of 4 million cubic meters, stores treated wastewater that is afterwards channeled for agricultural use. The Gaza Strip is a stone's throw away from the scenic lookout next to the reservoir, and the group received a detailed explanation about the war that broke out during the summer between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group. As Franklin Simkevitz said, "this lookout gives people perspective about the proximity of Israel's enemies. A tour like this allows its participants to see things they never saw before."

For further information, comments or permission please contact
Ahuva Bar-Lev
KKL-JNF – Information and Internet Department

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