A Day in the Western Negev

Written by on June 11, 2017 in

By Naama Zigdon, NBN-Go South Employment & Post Aliyah Advisor:

Since the establishment of Go South in 2013, we have done our small part in helping to get Be’er Sheva “on the map.” But, there are still plenty of places in the south that are not as known to both Olim and natives alike. On a recent day trip – one hour northwest of Be’er Sheva – we got a glimpse into the development of a different part of the Negev – The Western Negev.

The Western Negev is made up of seven regional councils (Chof Ashkelon, Lachish, Sha’ar HaNegev, Sdot Negev, Eshkol, Bnei Shimon & Merchavim) – with a total of approx.  76,000 residents. On our trip on April 4th, we chose to focus on two of these councils – Sha’ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev- and went to explore the city of Sderot (adjacent to Sha’ar HaNegev), Kibbutz Kfar Aza and Moshav Shuva. We were hosted by representatives from the respective communities, as well as by a few of our Olim! We learned a lot about the area’s different communities, housing options, education, employment opportunities, development, initiatives, tourism and culture.

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COMMUNITY & DEMOGRAPHICS

As it’s a city, a home to approx. 25,000 residents, the community of Sderot is a very diverse one. Today, the majority of the community is primarily of North African and former USSR descent, but they have been joined by Europeans, Ethiopians, others Israelis, and some North Americans. The vibrant Garin Torani (religious, torah-oriented community), comprised of nearly 600 families, has brought a new dynamic into the community. Additionally, Ayalim’s student’s village which is located at the heart of the city, is another young sub-community of students, which brings a lot of great energy into Sderot.

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The community of Kibbutz Kfar Aza is a much more intimate one in comparison, comprised of 760 members and other residents; often-times Kibbutzim offer the option of living on the Kibbutz and enjoying its facilities & services without going through the long process of becoming a full member. The Kibbutz is a Kibbutz Mitchadesh (a privatized Kibbutz) secular in affiliation, and is under the auspices of the Kibbutz Movement (Tnuat HaKibbutzim).

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Moshav Shuva is the smallest community out of the three, with nearly 600 residents in total. The Moshav was originally established by Olim from Tripoli in the 50’s, but is now also the home of a unique Garin, comprised of 35 young families with different religious affiliations – Dati Leumi, Torani, Chabad, Breslav and more. The Garin is a part of Nettiot – a chain of Garinim Messimati’im (mission-driven communities) of Ba’aei Tshuva and others. To learn more about Nettiot and the Garinim world in general, please click here.

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HOUSING

In vast parts of the Negev there is an exciting upsurge in real-estate, and thousands of new houses and apartments are being built. No less than five new neighbourhoods are planned in Sderot, as well as 3000 new residential units throughout the city. A three bedroom apartment, for an example, will cost between 650-980 thousand NIS.

An extension (Harchava) is being built in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and should be ready by 2018. The Kibbutz is looking for young families to join as members, as well as offers an option to rent and live on the Kibbutz. Walking around the Kibbutz you see comfortable one-story houses, surrounded by beautiful trees, grass and flowers.

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There are currently no houses for purchase in Moshav Shuva, but a few renting options are available.

EDUCATION

There are many good schools and high-schools in the city of Sderot, as well as tens of ganim (preschools). Hadar is an excellent special education school for students between the ages of 6-21. There are also 2 Hesder Yeshivas in the city, and the well-known Sapir College located nearby.

The children of Kibbutz Kfar Aza attend ganim on the Kibbutz, but later on attend the regional schools and high-schools located on the premises of Sapir College. Likewise, the children of Moshav Shuva have many great educational options throughout the area, such as Noam (Yeshuv Tushiya) and Maagalim (Yeshuv Maagalim) for elementary schools, and Nerya (Netivot) for a high-school.

EMPLOYMENT

Aside from the “regular” job opportunities that can be found in all large cities- such as in the fields of education, social services, culture and recreation, medical care etc., Sderot is the home of an impressive industrial area. Amdocs, Ziv Kitchens and Spectronics are just a few well-known companies to mention.

DEVELOPMENT AND INITIATIVES

This Pesach a new awesome children’s park was opened in Sderot…! We went there just before the grand opening and had a lot of fun running around the swings and slides. Additionally, many Legacy-Fund-supported projects can be seen throughout the city, such as the new state-of‐the‐art rehabilitation day center for the Gaza Strip area residents, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, communications and art therapy, tranquilization therapy and many other treatment methods.

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The train station of Sderot is conveniently located at the entrance of the city. Travel time to Tel Aviv is 1 hour, and only 38 minutes to Be’er Sheva. In order to get to the train- or to any other area of the city – one can hop on a local bus for 2.60 NIS or take a taxi for 10 NIS only!

TOURISM AND CULTURE

When visiting Sderot you’ll be able to enjoy some great restaurants such as Café Greg, Sushi Moto and Pastah VeZehu. Additionally, there is a Cinematheque, a public library, a skating park, a covered Shuk, several parks and other fun options.

Just some of the tourist highlights in the area include:

For further information about touring the area, please click here and here.

For any questions or inquiries about Aliyah to the Western Negev, as well as to the rest of southern Israel, you are more than welcome to contact Moshe from the Go South team at: moshe@nbn.org.il

For questions or inquiries about relocation to the Negev, please contact Donna: DHorwitz@nbn.org.il

See you in the Negev!

The Go South Team

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