On Israel’s southeastern frontier, in inhospitable land, pioneers in the 1950’s started communities. This is arid
desert with limited water and is not connected to the national water grid. Now comprising only 0.5% of its
population, they raise more than 50% of Israel’s fresh vegetables for export. AICAT are the world leaders in
advanced desert agriculture.
The Arava agricultural miracle has been made possible thanks to crucial and extensive research carried out at
the Arava R&D Center. “High-tech in Israel began with agriculture. Even with little land and less water, Israel
became an agricultural leader.”
AICAT, The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training, provides a unique “hands on” agriculture
studies program led by the Arava farmers and researchers, aimed to provide agricultural knowledge and skills
for students from developing countries on food safety and security. They host over 1,000 students annually,
from over 16 countries in Asia and Africa, with more than 25,000 graduates to date. Students stay for about
10 months and live, study and work with Israeli families.
Jewish National fund USA supports AICAT and funds other local projects and infrastructures including a
medical center, kindergartens, sports and aquatic centers and reservoirs. JNF USA work to build a nation,
founded by Theodor Herzl in 1901, continues with its effort in a “New Zionism.” Their work in the ARAVA is
part of a broader vision, “Blueprint Negev”, to assist in bringing residents to the under-populated regions of
Samantha Levi, a vibrant new Israeli from Colombia and convert to Judaism, tells her story, her love of this
land and of the challenging life she has chosen to lead. Samantha works in the Central Arava Regional
Council’s Resource Development Department, in charge of promoting all development projects in the Arava,
as well as coordinating the connections to the Jewish communities in the diaspora. She holds a BA in Finance
and International Relations and an MBA from the London School of Business and Finance, and she is fluent in
English, Spanish and Hebrew. She received a recognition from the Colombian Government for her dedicated
involvement in the development of advanced desert agriculture and its impact to the world food safety and
security. There will be a seven- minute story of the Jewish National Fund before we start this presentation.
Join us for what is sure to be another fascinating Speaker morning!
With gratitude to Gloria and Martin Greenstein and the Rene Bloch Foundation for their generous support.