28 July 2013

You first, Mr President


(President's house superimposed over Negev landscape)

22 Menachem Av 5773

No offense to anyone already living there or planning to move there, but it's already taken me 20 years to get where I am today and with God's help, I'm not going anywhere else!

Pres. Peres Calls for 100,000 Yesha Jews to Migrate to the Negev

President Shimon Peres called on Jews from Judea and Samaria last week to send a cohort with their strength and skills to settle the Negev.

Addressing an event to mark the 70th anniversary of Kibbutz Revivim – located deep in the Negev – Peres noted that at present, there are only 6,500 residents in the Ramat Hanegev region.

Even if half the Jews living in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) lived in the Negev, Peres said, the regions would look different.

“There would be another 100,000 people here,” Peres said. The president apparently had not considered the fact that nearly 400,000 Jews now live in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Jewish towns and cities in those regions are blossoming with boutique wineries, specialized industries and tourism-oriented activities for families.

By contrast, In the Negev, which comprises some 60 percent of the land mass of Israel, there are few Jewish communities and bus routes are still relatively sparse. There are no real train lines through the area, with the exception of one branch line to Dimona that reaches to the main transporation hub in the central major city of Be’er Sheva – considered the “capital” of the south. The other major city is the tourist capital of the south, Eilat, at the tip of the country, along the Red Sea coast.