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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Aliyah to Southern Israel’

Southern Israel New Frontier for Jewish Immigrants

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Ravit Greenberg, the program director of the Go South Program, recently told U.W.I. that Southern Israel is the new frontier for Jewish immigrants making Aliyah to Israel.

Photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh

Photo credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh

Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that assists Jews immigrating to Israel from North America, is promoting Aliyah to Southern Israel via the Go South program. Go South Program director Ravit Greenberg recently told United With Israel, “The mission of the Go South Program is to raise awareness among potential olim (new immigrants) before they make Aliyah. We are also doing the same for people that already made Aliyah yet are living in the center or Jerusalem and assist olim living in Southern Israel to integrate into Israeli society.” The Nefesh B’Nefesh Go South program hosts employment search workshops, social events for both singles and families, and holiday activities for English speaking immigrants in Southern Israel.

Greenberg said housing is significantly less expensive in Southern Israel than it is in the central part of the country and Jerusalem. She said the average cost of living for a family of five in Modiin a city in central Israel, is $5,000, while in Southern Israel’s Be’ersheva, it is only $3,890.

In terms of employment, she said, “It is a region full of opportunities; there is a lot of development. There is the opportunity to make an impact; to start a community; and to dedicate yourself to the community. The South is Israel’s new frontier.” She mentioned the new technology park at Ben Gurion Universty, as well as the Israel Defense Forces, as possible employers for residents in Southern Israel. Greenberg also said that due to the existence of the fast train to Tel Aviv and the Route 6 Highway to Jerusalem, commuting into work in those areas is not as difficult as it used to be.

Greenberg said that although many Israelis are not interested in having a one hour commute to work and don’t want to live far away from their families, Jews from western countries don’t share this worldview: “It is more of a cultural norm in the US that you need to travel to work, to see your family. Yet it should not be an option only for pioneers; you are living in an affordable place for your convenience.”

Greenberg reported that the Go South program has been very successful, “We started in 2012 and I came on board in 2013. Through marketing campaigns, we gathered the interest of 800 families in moving to the south over the last few months and we are engaging with these families. I have had 250 people ask for more information through our website.” She emphasized, “People are shocked by the difference in the cost of living, when you show them a comparative budget. I think that olim who don’t know the geography didn’t know it was so close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. People are shocked how much Be’ersheva has grown. There are a lot of surprises and unraveling of myths. People have concepts of what it is and we are shattering misconceptions.”

Photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh

Photo credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh

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Why I Made Aliyah to Southern Israel

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Rachel Avraham on BGU campus

UWI Staff writer Rachel Avraham blogs from her own experience about why English-speaking Jews are returning from exile to make Aliyah to Southern Israel.

An increasing number of Jewish immigrants from English speaking countries are deciding to make their homes in Southern Israel, a peripheral region of the country, rather than in the Anglo enclaves in the greater Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. While there have always been more adventuresome Anglo Jewish immigrants who have made Aliyah to Southern Israel, this phenomenon is speeding up following a decision by Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that assists North American Jewish immigrants, to launch a Go South Program to encourage Anglos to move to Southern Israel. Since the introduction of this program, the number of Anglos moving to Southern Israel has tripled.

I recently made Aliyah too, and I decided to move to Be’ersheva because I wanted to pursue a masters’ degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. I felt that I could improve my Hebrew language skills significantly and learn more about the Middle East region by not living in an Anglo enclave. The gimel and dalet neighborhoods that surround Ben-Gurion University, where I live, have many Mizrahi Jewish inhabitants who immigrated to Israel from Arab states. Speaking daily to people whose ancestors hailed from Arab countries offered me an in depth understanding of Israeli politics, Middle Eastern and Jewish Diaspora history, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Mizrahi culture, which one merely would not get by living in an Anglo bubble. Residing in Be’ersheva also sped up my immersion into Israeli society in a way that one would not get in places like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I also had other Zionist reasons for wanting to move to Israel, which included a desire to find a Jewish spouse, to live in the midst of rich historical sites, and to provide a better Jewish education for my future children.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE SOUTH

Ein Geddi

It is critically important for Israel that Jewish immigrants settle in all parts of the country and not just the greater Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, believed that the future of Israel lies in the Negev, since it consists of 66 percent of the land within the State of Israel and offers much open space for Jewish communities to be established. The Negev is an integral part of Israel’s past, present, and future, hosting flourishing Jewish historical sites dating back to antiquity. The fortress at Masada was the last Jewish zealot stronghold against the Roman forces, while Ein Gedi boasted a Jewish community dating back to biblical times and Be’ersheva, as the home of the Jewish patriarch Avraham, is the cradle of Jewish monotheism. The Negev is rich in Jewish history and Jewish immigrants from English speaking countries like myself really want to live surrounded by this majestic historical heritage.

BGU campus

Also a strong Jewish population in the Negev counters the Palestinian Authority claim that the Negev is a settlement as some Israeli Bedouin have protested that the Negev should belong to them, not the Jewish people.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/blog-why-i-made-aliyah-to-southern-israel/2013/06/20/

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