Thursday, Feb. 4 – Negev Day

The weather was perfect for our Negev Day Tour – sunny and temperatures in the 70’s.  Of course, it was suggested that we bring some warmer clothes for when the sun sets. After all, we ARE in the desert!  How true, we needed those sweaters and jackets!  

We departed Tel Aviv for the Air Force Museum, a few minutes to the West of Beer Sheva. We were met there by  Almog, a 19 year old soldier in her obligatory 2 year service, that explained the history of the planes that started the IAF The Israel Air Force!   (see pictures below)

At the Air Force Museum we met Shahar, from the JNF of America who boarded the bus and explained his role and the JNF of America, as we drove to our next destination. Next on the itinerary for CAARI was a visit to the newly renovated Beer Sheva Visitor Center.
The Beer Sheva Visitors center is located on the northern bank of the Beer Sheva River Park, a park almost twice the size of Central Park, in NY City. This park is a 5 mile long project being built up by the KKL and JNF desks from around the world and many other partners like JNF of Canada and JNF of America.

Our first stop after lunch was to see the first part of this enormous river bank reclamation park which is the Montreal Oasis Park, from over 14 years ago the Canadians were the first to actually contribute to this River Reclamation project by their playground and green area located between the Pipes Bridge, A JNF of America project and a Vehicle bridge adjacent to the Beer Sheva Visitor center.
The Canadian Montreal Oasis Park was designed by the Landscape Architect Amir Miller. The Park is clean and in use by many local Beer Sheva youth at the time of our visit. Many of the CAARI participants knew the donors recognized on the signs.

Next CAARI walked over the Pipes Bridge, designed by Rami Meresh, to our waiting bus that took us to the 
Beit Eshel restoration and 12,000 person outdoor Amphitheater, to the East of the Pipes Bridge and Canadian Park. 

There we explained the significance of the Mitzpeh Beit Eshel and we viewed the ancient Tel of Beer Sheva from the top of the Amphitheater. 
Our final visit at the Beer Sheva River Park,  CAARI saw the empty reservoir, still under construction, and the land moving equipment  that is still working on the small lake/ reservoir that will soon be filled for recreational use. CAARI was so impressed with the contribution JNF-KKL has and is making to Beer Sheva and the southern communities.  

The last stop of the day was to visit Kibbutz Kramim, located close to the security fence,  Debbie Rulnik a member of the 80 family Kibbutz. Debbie gave us a  great tour, explaining how the kibbutz members were working together to serve both  the religious and secular members.  She hosted us in her newly built house and took us to an overlook to the north and west. And…that was our Day in the Negev!  Fabulous!

                         CAARI PICTURES

The Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel, CAARI, offers active seniors a unique opportunity to experience Israel. The program is designed to explore the biblical landscapes, follow the footsteps of the early pioneers, and envision the future of our Homeland. The CAARI Program includes community service, toursa speakers forum and the camaraderie of the CAARI Family. The Program is designed for to feel, touch, hear and see Israel from the mountains to the desert, from sea to sea, and from ancient to modern.

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