Rivlin in Dimona: 'A city where dreams come true'

President Rivlin visits Dimona and the settlement established by the Ayalim Association near the city. "The whole country looks to Dimona.”

Hezki Baruch ,

Rivlin in Dimona
Rivlin in Dimona
Koby Gideon (GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin today, Wednesday, visited Dimona, and met with Mayor of Beni Bitton, members of the town council and staff of the municipality. The president toured the city along with the mayor who described its development in recent years and stopped for a brief view of Lake Dimona where the main Sukkot event for residents was held.

During the tour, Mayor Bitton said, “Dimona has the best education system in Israel and in the last decade we have received two awards for education because we invest half our budget in education. The population stopped falling over the last two years and Dimona is undergoing astonishing development.” During the tour of the city, the mayor showed the president the impressive growth in construction projects.

Bitton raised the difficulties faced by local authorities during such long periods of transitional government and urged him to do as much as possible in order to promote a unity government. "This is important for the State of Israel which needs a government. The local councils have been stuck for eight months without being able to receive budgets,” he said.

Following the mayor’s welcome, the rabbis of the city greeted the president on the festival of Sukkot and prayed for a blessed and fruitful year. "Tomorrow, my Sukkah will be full of Israelis from across the country," said the president to the people of Dimona about the Open Sukkah event to be held tomorrow at Beit HaNasi. "But today," he continued, “today I got to choose where I want to be hosted and there was no question that of all places in the world, Dimona is where I want to be.” The president added "Dimona is a city where dreams come true and the people of Dimona are wonderful. The schoolteachers in this city, for students of all ages, devote such time and effort to the children so they can realize make the most of their abilities. Today the whole country looks to Dimona.”

Later in the day, the president traveled the winding deserts roads to one of the Ayalim Association’s villages, where he sat in a bright and colorful sukkah for coffee and a personal conversation with the people of Ayalim - students, national service volunteers, and founders.

Ayalim, established in 2002, works to develop the geographic and social periphery of Israel through settlement and social activity. Its young people build and livein rural students in the Negev (including Dimona), the Galilee and Lod. Today, Ayalim has some 1,200 students and residents in 22 villages.

"Each generation has its pioneers,” said the president to the group. "Pioneering is an ongoing challenge. And Israeli today faces a significant challenge: to build a society based on partnership between the main groups that make up the people of Israel. Students have a major role in facing the challenges of Israeli society today, especially the challenge of partnership. Now the challenge is to go further, turning these villages into a incubator for Israel’s future leadership. You are important partners in this work,” the president said to the young people.”

The president spoke at length about the difficulties of desert life - transport, the challenging weather, making the wilderness inhabitable - and the ambitions that drive their involvement in their community. “When Ben Gurion said the Negev would be the test of the people in Israel, he could not imagine more success than you have created here,” said the president. "You have passed the test for all of us."