Olim to celebrate 'Week of the South'

2,000 olim to celebrate life in Israel's south with week of activities throughout the region.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The Negev
The Negev
Flash 90

Residents of Arad, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Sderot, Yeruham, Kiryat Gat and even Eilat may be hearing a lot of English and Hebrew with an American accent this week. It won’t just be from tourists or Birthright students, nearly 2,000 Olim (immigrants) who made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh over the past decade are celebrating their love and connection to Israel’s south. “Shavua Darom” is part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s ongoing Post-Aliyah programming and is in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Jewish National Fund - USA.

During the week, a host of events will be held in the country’s southern cities, to which the Olim, who today are proud Israeli citizens, will be invited. In Be'er Sheva the over 1,000 Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim who live in the city are invited to participate in a Mindfulness and Yoga event, in Arad there will be a picnic together with members of the local Bnei Akiva youth group, and in Asheklon there will be a flower arrangement workshop.

“For over 117 years Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael has been assisting in making the Zionist dream a reality. Today, there is no doubt that Aliyah from the Diaspora, and especially the flourishing of Oleh communities in the Negev and the Galil, faithfully represent Zionism,” said Danny Atar, World Chairman of KKL. “The goal of KKL is to empower the State of Israel and to work at bringing one million new residents in the Negev and another half a million new residents in the Galil. To this end, we must strengthen these areas by offering greater employment opportunities, education, health care and recreational activities so that they are equal to those offered in Israel’s center. We thank the Olim who have chosen to build their lives in the country’s north and south, their presence is a significant step in strengthening Israel."

"The goal of Shavua Darom is not only to unite the Oleh community, but also to invite people from all over the country to taste the life of the vibrant community in the south,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B'Nefesh. “We continue to see hundreds of Olim from North America and the UK every year choose to build their lives in that area. The excitement and passion these Olim have for their new communities attest to the quality of life the south has to offer.”

Shavua Darom is part of a larger effort to energize Israel’s periphery through the joint Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) and Nefesh B’Nefesh “Go Beyond” initiative. The KKL-NBN joint “Go Beyond” initiative provides financial incentives and logistical resources for new Olim to move to those non-central regions, including enhanced Aliyah grants, personalized pilot trips, career counseling and resources, personalized education and community guidance, and other benefits.