"If Nitzana didn't exist," said newly appointed Jewish Agency Treasurer Shai Hermesh, "we would have to invent it."
Hermesh, who became the Jewish Agency Treasurer last October, was deeply impressed by what he saw at the village.
In a letter sent to the Nitzana management after his visit Hermesh wrote. "I am a man of the Negev and know Nitzana well. Nevertheless, in my first visit to the southern region and the Negev since becoming Jewish Agency Treasurer, it was important for me to visit Nitzana in order to stress my faith in this enterprise and the significance that I place in it."
"This educational and community village," he continued, "was set up in the middle of the desert and has become an educational institution and unique phenomenon with tremendous significance for the region in particular, the Negev in particular and the entire State. Nitzana has become a magnet for all of us. It symbolizes the rejuvenation of settlement and characterizes the "ingathering of the exiles" and their integration under an educational and social umbrella. Israeli-born youth and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia teach and learn together. But beyond this, Nitzana sees its role as providing a high quality scientific education alongside a social education which enables new immigrants to integrate in the future social and employment opportunities of the country and study in Israel's institutions of higher education."
Hermesh also wrote that he is committed to Nitzana, its ideals and the Zionist mission and he will do all in his power to assist the village and its future development in any way possible.
Until becoming Jewish Agency Treasurer, Shai Hermesh served as Head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council for many years. In that capacity he met with members of the Denver/Boulder Jewish Federation Study Mission in 1999 prior to the Federation's partnership with Nitzana. The partnership that he helped set up between the San Diego Jewish Federation and the IBIM Educational Center in Shaar Hanegev served as a model for the Denver/Boulder partnership with Nitzana.
Tamuz 5763 - July 2003