The Nitzana Educational Community in the Negev was founded with the assistance of the Jewish Agency in 1986, by Israel Prize winner Lova Eliav. Ever since its creation, Nitzana has been committed to education and emphasizes values such as Zionism, pluralism, self empowerment , a love for Israel and specifically the Negev Desert, while stressing the importance of sustainability, ecology and conservation. The main idea behind the community from the beginning has been to teach Israeli Youth and young Jews from the Diaspora about the Negev Desert as a "Living Desert", that contains great potential and endless settlement and development possibilities.
In order to carry out the establishment of Nitzana, a foundation committee was appointed whose members came from the various settlement and immigration departments of the Jewish Agency. Israel Prize Laureate Arieh Lova Eliav was head of the committee along with Zeev Zivan. In addition, an administration committee was created, headed by Eli Amir-CEO of the youth immigration department. The Nitzana project is budgeted and administrated by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The village offers an extraordinary education in a unique setting for young people from Israel and abroad. Each year, approximately 15,000 young people participate in the multiple seminars of Nitzana, the main ones being, The "Negev Zionist Ecological Seminar", "Follow the Sun" science seminar and the "Empowerment Seminar".
Most of the learning in the village is conducted in "field school" style-activities which take place outdoors. There are multiple advanced educational environments throughout the village.
The community is known as a pioneer in the field of environmental conservation and education. The various seminars teach about the importance of the Negev desert, ecology and protection of the environment, water sources and conservation, recycling and environmental sustainability.
The Solar Park at Nitzana teaches about the need to create a clean renewable energy. Students and visitors benefit from an education about the sun and its outstanding possibilities as a source of energy in varied uses that can be utilized in daily life. In the coming years, Nitzana will realize its goal of ecological self-sufficiency and begin operating solely upon natural energy sources.
Nitzana's new Youth Empowerment Center helps youth who have suffered from illness or disease to cope with their problems so that they can reenter their normal daily routines successfully.
Nearby archaeological ruins teach us of ancient civilizations that once lived here, but today we are here anticipating the future, teaching thousands of children every year about the need for clean, renewable energies, recycling, how to care for our nations' most important natural resource - water, and how to realize the potential and future of the beautiful desert that we inhabit.
Absorption of New Immigrants
The Nitzana Educational Community also provides a warm home for new immigrants from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union and North America. The program of MASA "Journey" facilitates immigrants’ smooth integration into Israeli society and prepares them for army service, employment and higher educational opportunities.
An Oasis in the Desert - Accommodations
The Educational Community of Nitzana is an oasis of life in the Negev desert. The village is surrounded by amazing agricultural projects. Its own local water source has literally brought life to the region. Amidst all of this beauty we offer accommodations to suit every taste - guest apartments, a youth hostel and even Bedouin tents.
Nitzana's facilities consist of a school, solar park, museum, recycling center, rehabilitation center, swimming pool, gym, dining room, synagogue, accommodations for 100 new immigrants, meeting rooms, computer rooms, a fleet of bicycles for desert trips, and more.
Nitzana’s Guiding Principles
• Building a Zionist community that nurtures social pluralism, tolerance, and the great diversity within Israel.
• As a part of the Jewish Agency for Israel we have a strong motivation to build relationships between the people of Israel and the world Jewry. We host and teach Jewish groups from around the globe.
• Assisting the absorption of young new immigrants by providing a warm, caring first home in Israel and equipping them with the personal tools and academic skills they need for successful integration.
• Strengthening the “peace border” with Egypt and maximizing the ecological and social potential that lay in this untapped region.
• Providing an educational program that instills students with an understanding and appreciation of the environment, healthy living, and sustainable energy.
• Innovating and leading Israel’s efforts toward ecological awareness and preservation.
Nitzana strives to be a regional and international meeting place for cooperation in scientific and educational fields such as ecology, water conservation, solar energy, agriculture and settlement in desert conditions.