BEERSHEBA, Israel (Jan. 29)
Some 200 Israel Bonds leaders from North America and Europe on Wednesday visited the largest immigrant camp in the country, at Nahal Beka, on the southern edge of Beersheba, to watch absorption in the making.
About 5,000 immigrants already reside on the site: 472 from Ethiopia, the rest from the former Soviet Union. They live in 2,300 mini-apartments, with two units to a pre-fabricated home.
The camp is one of the few immigrant sites where Ethiopians live side-by-side with Russian-speaking immigrants. And, unlike at other sites, the immigrants at Nahal Beka enjoy a comprehensive set of services, including Hebrew classes, medical services, educational facilities and afternoon sports and entertainment clubs.
The Bonds leaders, members of the prestigious State of Israel Bonds Prime Minister’s Club, were here on a five-day mission ending Jan. 31.
The delegates were received by Yitzhak Ragger, mayor of Beersheba and Bonds past president.
Ragger promised the delegates that each time they would come to Beersheba, the capital of the Negev, they would find “more homes, more kindergartens, more trees — and, most important, more Jews, fulfilling David Ben-Gurion’s dream of a prosperous Negev.”