The "Eshkol" Regional Council
The "Eshkol" regional council was established in 1951 and called "Ma'on Region". In 1969, its name was altered to "Eshkol" after the late third Prime Minister of Israel Levi Eshkol.
The council's territory is 300 square miles. The area is characterized by exceptional ecological qualities. The high socio-economic level of the population enables to maintain a high level of education, culture and municipal services.
The settlements of the "Eshkol" regional council mark major stations and junctions in the history of the state of Israel.
During the 58 years of Israel's existence, and even before its establishment, the settlements of the Western Negev region were an inseparable part of the security array of the defense of the South, especially the Negev. In all the wars of Israel against its neighbors the Eshkol council's settlements served as posts and redeployment bases for the IDF forces in the southern front. Their firm stand along the border line of the Gaza strip and Egypt was, and still is a major factor in the defense of the country
We take pride in over 50 years of settlement, years of outstanding agricultural and industrial creativity and achievements; years of building a multi cultural society. A society that is proud of its social and welfare services, its educational institutions, and culture and sports activities.
"The true test of Israel lies in the Negev." (David Ben Gurion)
Negev and Galilee hold more than two-thirds of Israel's land reserves, yet house only 17% of the population. The outstanding potential for development and immigrant absorption in these areas remains largely untapped due to high unemployment rates coupled with weak educational infrastructures.
Populating the sparsely inhabited Western Negev region and defending its borders with the Gaza strip and Egypt is a demographic and security imperative for the State of Israel.
The Region strives to improve the standard of living for its pioneering 11,000 residents, of which 1,000 are new immigrants from the Former Soviet Union. Moreover, since attracting families to the Region is a national goal, it is important to offset the sense of isolation with a sturdy structure of recreational, educational and social services.
After the disengagement from the Gaza strip Eshkol in summer 2005 absorbed successfully some 160 families in their temporary homes at Yated and Yevul. Hopefully they will move in 2008 to their permanent homes at Halutzit 1 and Halutzit 4 near the Egyptian border.
One of the central goals of the Eshkol Regional Council is to minimize and bridge the gaps that exist between the residents of central Israel and the residents of the periphery where recreational, educational and social services are cheaper and abundant.