I just returned from an exciting meeting about starting a new town/village/kibbutz/moshav in Israel. I took a few buses and had to hitchhike twice to arrive at Netzer Hazani. Once I finally found the home of the meeting at Anita’s home, with a group of five young pioneers sitting around a table full of food. I was late so I just jumped right into the meeting and was filled in by a woman taking notes. Anita was talking about her experience starting two villages in Israel. The first was Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif (Gaza Strip). She moved to Israel from the US, I think in 1996. However due to the Oslo peace accords, Israel made the very controversial decision to remove all the Jews in the Gaza strip. This woman and her family were forced out of their home, synagogue, and village to an area of Caravans (trailer homes). Read more about the evacuation HERE.
She then played a large part in the vision to rebuild Netzer Hazani and nine years later the vision came into a beautiful reality. It gave us, the young people, a very exciting picture – pushing our vision to the max. Netzer Hazani is amazing, beautiful, clean, organized, and peaceful village in the Northern Negev. Pics Below.
The next few hours we sat around this table hearing stories from the pioneers that founded the village. They all wanted to know who this group of ideological pioneers and what we wanted to do. I didn’t know much, but I got a good sense of what this group was all about while they explained to the speakers. The dream is to create a town for Olim (Immigrants) and Chayalim Bodedim (Lone Soldiers). If you didn’t get from my blog that it’s not easy moving to Israel, serving in the IDF, and then making a future…then you should go back and read other posts, but this is why there is a need for a place like Kfar Olim. This place will be a vibrant home for people of all backgrounds; religious and secular, olim and sabarim, singles and families, etc. The focuses will be on Agriculture, Sustainability, Clean Energy, Music, Arts, and of course helping lone soldiers.
Sounds great, right? Well after hearing from our mentors, I came to realize that this is going to be a long/hard process. They all started staying, “You know you have a lot of bureaucracy to deal with and it’s not going to be easy.” The two man guys had a plan though and the processes are moving along. Meetings have been held in government offices and officials are starting to recognize the name, Kfar Olim. The whole time I was daydreaming that we were all sitting in a small room somewhere in Europe in the early 1900s. Everyone was speaking Hebrew, of course each with their own accents, talking about an ideal kibbutz in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel). There were all the same questions; Where will we settle? Who will join us? How will we make a living? How will we design the layout? Who will support us? How will we get money? What approvals do we need? It was all very exciting, but this isn’t just a daydream, it’s going to happen.
For now there is a corps group of a singles and families, the Garin (seed). I’m looking at joining them and helping with one of the most important items, fundraising. I have a ton of ideas and now just have to build a plan with goals. The current plan is to turn to the Israeli government and the many ministries that have an interest in settling new olim in the periphery of Israel. I think I can bring some life into this and get some American Jews to join.
We ended the meeting with a tour of Netzer Hazani during sunset. I could truly close my eyes and imagine a new place that I’d help build, just like the young pioneers before the state of Israel. Even if it means living in a tent for a few years, I think this is something I can get behind. :)
I’m sure I will write more about this project, but for now join the Facebook page.