Veronica Arutinyan and Igor Elazarov met at Nitzana. Both immigrated from Samarkand in Uzbekistan in the FSU and participated in the SELAH Science program. Elazarov, 22, studied at Nitzana in the 1999/00 academic year, while Arutinyan, 21 came to Nitzana the following year. Though they knew each other from Uzbekistan, their romance began at a party for Nitzana graduates and newcomers in September 2000.
SELAH Students proudly hold up their newly issued ID cards
“Nitzana was the best year of my life,” recalled Arutinyan. “I made so many new friends and the level of studies was really high. I finished the SELAH Science course with good Hebrew and learned a lot about computers, English and of course the desert.”
Both Arutinyan and Elazarov are now in their fourth and final year of studies for a B.Sc. in Engineering at the Negev academic Engineering College in Beer Sheva. They live with Arutinyan parents and brother who immigrated to Israel in 2001.
“We’d like to carry on living in the Negev after we have graduated,” said Arutinyan. “But ultimately we’ll go anywhere in Israel that we can find good jobs.” The SELAH Science program and KEDMA program for Ethiopian immigrants at Nitzana are supported by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, a long time supporter of the village and its absorption programs.
"Both SELAH Science and Kedma," said Nitzana Director David Palmach, "have proven themselves as highly successful programs for integrating new immigrants. At the same time we are transforming Nitzana into one of the country's foremost centers for studying science."
In November the 46 SELAH Science Students at Nitzana, participating in the fifth annual program, officially became Israeli citizens. They received their ID papers, together with more than 100 other SELAH students, at a festive ceremony at the Ahva College from Gidon Bar Lev, Director-General of the Interior Ministry.
Shvat 5764 - February 2004