Australian and Israeli Teenagers Meet in Merhav Am

About 40 students from the Carmel School in Perth, Australia, toured the Negev in the footsteps of Ben Gurion’s vision for making the desert bloom.

July 9, 2015 13:05
2 minute read.

Australian and Israeli. (photo credit: KKL, ILAN TIBI)


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In Merhav Am, a rural town whose green development is supported by JNF Australia, they met local teenagers who are also making the desert bloom in their own way.

The Shorashim trip to Israel is a tradition for tenth graders in the Carmel School, a Jewish school in Perth, Australia. The high school students come to Israel for eighteen days of trips, tours and meetings, all over Israel. “We've been learning about Israel our whole lives, but coming here, it makes it personal, it makes you find your own identity,” said Naomi Blitz, who was in Israel for the first time. She was especially impressed by the Negev and said, “The desert is very different than what I thought. I had imagined it empty and dry, and I found out that there is a lot of life going on there.”

The Negev tour began at the cabin of David and Paula Ben Gurion in Kibbutz Sde Boker, where the young people learned about the man he was and his life as the first prime minister of the State of Israel. 

From Sde Boker they proceeded to Merhav Am, a religious community in the Negev. JNF Australia supports the development of green projects throughout the town-a playground for the local children, garden landscaping around the community center and a schoolyard for the new preschool center.

After having lunch together, the teenagers from Perth and Merhav Am played a game.

Very soon the conversations got more personal, and the teenagers started talking openly about life in Australia and life in Israel. Elroi taught his new friends how to say haverim with the Israeli guttural het, and Jamie Nick taught her new friends how to say enthusiastic with an authentic Australian accent. Indeed, there was a lot of excitement in the room, and of course the young people did not forget to exchange Facebook information so they could keep in touch.

“We learn Hebrew and hear a lot about Israel, but to experience it for ourselves is simply amazing,” said Jamie as the meeting ended. “It’s so easy to make contact with Israelis, because we’re all related after all. I’m proud of JNF Australia for being involved in the development of Israel,” she said, “because we are actually building the Jewish State together.”

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

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