KKL-JNF UK mission in Halutziyot carrot fields

The objective of the tour was to present to the participants the progress of several projects to which they themselves had contributed.

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June 18, 2009 13:53
KKL-JNF UK mission in Halutziyot carrot fields

baby carrots kkl. (photo credit: )

A pile of plastic bags laid on the table at the front of the clubhouse hall at Moshav Yated in the Western Negev, filled with fresh carrots - the yield of the fields from the new community of Naveh recently established on the dunes of Halutza. Next to the pile of bright orange carrots, stood one of the women from the moshav with her baby son sleeping soundly in his carrier. This is the picture of the new "yield" of the settlers of Halutziyot - the new home of the 2006 evacuees of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip. The scene successfully illustrated the day's tour of the south and offered the Friends of KKL-JNF UK a chance to become familiar with the challenges and achievements of the State of Israel in 2009. The delegation, headed by the Chairman of KKL-JNF UK, Samuel Hayek, arrived for a four-day tour of Israel. The objective of the tour was to present to the participants the progress of several projects to which they themselves had contributed alongside the surge of building and development in the Negev in other areas. Delegates were most excited when the bus drove down the dirt roads in the afternoon that led deep into the sand dunes of Halutza towards the endless southern expanses that have changed completely over the past three years. The bus stopped at the edge of a large green field that contrasted sharply with the surrounding expanses of yellow sand. The guests and their guides strode through the green furrows of fields belonging to the farmers of Halutziyot, where organic carrots were growing. The rows of carrots quickly became the focal point of shouts of delight, sounds of crunching, and competitions of who could pull out the largest carrot. Those moments emphasized the feeling of a new beginning that emerges from the huge expanses that extend in every direction. The Co-Chairman of KKL-JNF, Avraham Duvdevani, explained it well during his brief remarks at the ceremony where members of the delegation planted young trees on "KKL-JNF Hill" now crowned with ancient tamarisk trees that overlook the dunes of Halutza stretching to the horizon. "What is happening here has never happened anywhere else in the world. This area has been covered in sand dunes since the time the world was created. No one ever tried to settle here and no one could live here until these people came here from Gush Katif to make a new beginning for the third time in their lives. You can see the results. It is our job to help them." After the ceremony Richard Manwell, a member of the delegation stood at the top of the hill, pointed towards the area designated for the permanent settlement of Naveh, and asked what were the concrete blocks standing in the area. He was told that they were part of the infrastructure for electricity, water, and communication for the new homes. In response, Manwell answered, "In my mind, it is a similar picture to that I saw two weeks ago when I visited the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau that I also photographed: a large plain with brick chimneys that were all that remained after the shacks were destroyed. But there is one great difference: That was the end of life and this is the beginning of life." The delegation began the day tour with a short visit to Moshav Nativ Ha'asara on the northern border of the Gaza Strip. From the windows of the bus members of the delegation could see the security road that KKL-JNF paved to the settlement, which would be used in the event that residents need to evacuate quickly. One of the local residents explained to delegates about the high protective walls that were built on the southern side of the moshav to defend against direct shooting at the houses. He also told stories illustrating the brave cooperation between the residents of the moshav and the neighboring moshavim and kibbutzim and the dedicated treatment given to the army units in the area who operate the warning signals in the area. Next morning the group rose early to start the tour with a visit to the site of the ancient synagogue at Maon where an elaborate mosaic floor was recently uncovered that reflects Jewish life from the 6th century B.C.E. There Elisha Mizrachi, head of KKL-JNF Western Negev region, presented the delegation with facts and tales about the continuity of Jewish life in the Negev since then. The delegates continued to the water reservoirs at Kibbutz Tze'elim that were built with the help of KKL-JNF Great Britain, where they were given the opportunity to hear more about the resources and efforts that have been invested in recent years to enable more efficient use of water for agriculture while utilizing new technology. They heard about researches conducted to create livelihoods for agricultural settlements in the periphery and were particularly interested in the ways in which saline groundwater is utilized to irrigate fields and in the growing use of purified sewage water to irrigate citrus groves that now cover what were once the barren hills of the Negev. At noon Samuel Hayek convened the members of the delegation around the swimming pool at Kibbutz Tze'elim for a general discussion about the objectives of the KKL-JNF community in the United Kingdom in the coming years. "KKL-JNF in the UK is an independent organization that makes its own decisions about the projects that it will adopt. At the same time, however, we are part of the family of international KKL-JNF and direct our activities according to the program defined by the directorate of KKL-JNF. Hayek emphasized that KKL-JNF UK intends, among other things, to increase its educational and public relations activities among young Jewish people in Great Britain and to increase their budget for education by tenfold within the next 4-5 years. "Last year our budget for education was £180,000, and this year it is twice that amount. The increase will continue in the coming years. It is extremely important to invest in the education of Jewish youth while offering information about the State of Israel and its people to the next generation." In the evening in the temporary clubhouse that was built in the temporary neighborhood at Moshav Yated, members of the delegation met some of the settlers of Halutza and listened to Rabbi Eli Adler, an evacuee from Moshav Atzmona in Gush Katif. "We don't look back [about what we have gone through] and we believe that the Israeli spirit is our main source of strength that makes this place where we are now what it has become. That spirit has given us the strength to go to the outermost periphery. Even when you go to the desert, to the edges of the country, you can succeed if you go there with that strong spirit. We welcome you, not feeling that you have come here "merely" to help us. We see you as equal partners with us who share the same magnificent spirit." For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail ahuvab@kkl.org.il Sponsored content


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