Students of the Utime Ulpan network planted a grove in Ruhama Forest
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February in Israel is the time when the desert blooms. In February, the Negev is carpeted with blooming scarlet anemones and the Darom Adom (Red South) festival begins. This is the time of the beautiful holiday “Tu Bishvat” – New Year trees. Just as the Japanese enjoy the unforgettable colors of cherry blossoms, so hundreds of thousands of Israelis escape from the hustle and bustle of the cities to freeze in admiration before the stunning view of the flaming desert flowers.
Israel has a wonderful tradition – on the holiday «Tu Bishvat» plant new trees.
Now 650 new repatriates, students of the UTime Hebrew ulpan network, have joined this tradition. For them, the Jewish National Fund – Keren Kaemet l-Israel arranged an unforgettable holiday. They visited Kibbutz Ruhama located in the Negev – one of the places inextricably linked with modern Jewish history, the history of the realization of the Zionist dream of Jewish labor in their native Jewish land.
It was here that the first Jewish settlement in the Negev appeared after two thousand years of exile. Here, a little more than a century ago, the Moscow Jewish Society “Shearit Yisrael” purchased from a local Bedouin tribe a plot of land of 320 hectares, on which a Jewish agricultural colony was created, called the biblical word Ruhama. This place literally breathes history. The settlers were attacked by Arab rioters, here the legendary Lawrence of Arabia participated in the defense of the inhabitants of Ruhama, the First World War swept across the lands of the kibbutz. And each time, after hard trials, the kibbutz was revived.
The new Israelis listened with excitement to the story of the heroic fate of this place. The scarlet fields of anemones seemed to symbolize the blood shed in the struggle for the ideals of Zionism.
Another symbol was the arrival of new repatriates – ulpan students of the UTime network of tree seedlings. It's not just about introducing new Israelis to the traditions of Tu-bi-Shvat, which they celebrate for the first time in Israel.
Just as young plantings take root in the Land of Israel, so new immigrants take root in their new home country.
At the celebration in honor of the laying of the grove, new repatriates were greeted by the Deputy Chairman of the Jewish National Fund Robert Tivyaev, the head of the Eurasian Department of the JNF-KKL Yigal Yasinov, the general director of the Utime ulpan network Yuri Levitan, the director of the forestry of the Northern Negev Boris Volodarsky.
Years will pass. In the place where new seedlings have now appeared, mighty trees will rise, another grove will turn green in the desert, planted with the participation of JNF-KKL. New repatriates will no longer be new, they will become old-timers of the Land of Israel. The old wisdom says that every person should plant a tree and build his own house. Well, the tree has already been planted. And the repatriates will certainly find their home in their native land.
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