sapir park 298 courtesy.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It is a well-known fact that throughout Australia's 106 years of history since federation in 1901 - which by a strange quirk of fate coincides with the founding of KKL-JNF in the same year - this country, so far from Israel in terms of distance but yet so close in terms of friendship, has always been there in support of the ideals and values which both countries hold so dear.
This friendship and support for Israel is well manifested through the work of JNF in Australia which, since 1917, has provided financial support for vital developmental projects - projects that make a difference - in all parts of Israel.
From the vital Shlomi water reclamation project in the north then southwards to the Misgav where the development of Australia Park with its surrounding forests and infrastructure has boosted the region, moving south-east to Bachan where JNF Australia's support has facilitated Israel's biggest recycled water facility in the country's most important farming region, followed by a commitment to Israel's largest metropolitan area - Greater Tel-Aviv - where the revitalized Yarkon bears testimony to JNF Australia's desire to see a rehabilitated river serve this densely populated area as well as providing a tangible tribute to the memory of the four Australian's who tragically perished during the opening ceremony of the 1997 Maccabiah Games, JNF Australia has been there.
Now, in line with Israel's need to expand populations from the dense central areas towards the sparsely populated Negev region, once again JNF Australia is at the forefront of pioneering moves to promote population growth through water and land conservation projects that will help to create new opportunities and sustainable growth in this area so vital to Israel's future security and stability.
JNF Australia's new projects in the northern Negev bring life and hope to a new generation of pioneers including the community of Atzmona who were forced to move from Gush Katif in 2005 and have now found new life and new hope on Kibbutz Shomriya in the Bnei Shimon Region of the northern Negev - focus point of JNF Australia's current projects where polluted water and effluent from the Hebron stream and other sources will be converted into life-giving treated waters that will promote new life and new opportunities in the region.
Aside from the 4 new reservoirs that will contain reclaimed waters from the area's sewage and from the polluted Hebron stream, JNF Australia's project will now be expanded by a further reclamation facility and reservoir on Kibbutz Shomriya which will provide a much needed boost to the Atzmona community many of whom have been uprooted twice - once from Sinai and again from Gush Katif.
Other examples of JNF Australia's life sustaining projects in Israel's arid south include support for the research and development station in the Arava which promotes the sustainable utilisation of scarce resources to help turn the desert green as well as projects at Park Sapir - an oasis for both the residents of the Arava as well those who travel through on the road between Eilat and the north.
JNF Australia is certainly at the forefront in helping to fulfil the vision of David Ben Gurion by providing for the future of Israel in the dry, inhospitable region that Israel so desperately needs to secure as a haven for future growth and sustainable development - a vision not unlike that which applies to the world's driest continent, Australia, where water and arid land management solutions that can benefit both countries indeed the world are supported through the initiatives of JNF Australia, which despite it's relatively small supporter base, is one of the most effective and dynamic members of the worldwide KKL-JNF family.
At a time when the world is only just now waking up to the effects of global warming and climate change, JNF Australia has long been setting an example of the need to conserve and protect our fragile environment by planting trees, rehabilitating rivers, recycling water, promoting research and technological enrichment in key areas, fostering the exchange of expertise and generally showing the world that it is not size that counts, but commitment and vision.