Tuesday, November 16, 2021 11:28 AM
KKL-JNF is building a recreational park and adjacent community forest for the Bedouin city of Rahat, in the Negev.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place with great fanfare on Tuesday, October 26th, at the site of the future park, followed by a festive community happening.
These two loci of activity (the park and the forest) are being established in cooperation with the Rahat Municipality, as part of an empowering, constitutive process to change the face of the city and provide its residents with new opportunities for healthy recreation and leisure.
The project will be administered by a specially-established association, consisting of officials from KKL-JNF Southern Region, the Rahat Municipality, the Rahat Economic Development Company, the Shikma-Besor Drainage Authority and the Negev Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority.
The association will work with local residents on an ongoing basis to develop the park, ensuring that it caters to local needs and provides an immersive experience to all who visit it.
As he cut the ribbon to the future recreation site, Rahat Mayor Shai Faiz Abu Sahiban said: "We had a vision in 2009 that this strip of land would become an example of connection to the environment and belonging for the children of Rahat. Especially at a time when crime and violence are being talked about, it is right and important to provide solutions for the children of Rahat. I would therefore like to thank all the partners who contributed, and will contribute in the future, to this site."
According to KKL-JNF Southern Region Director Daniel Gigi, "over the past few years, the public parks in KKL-JNF's southern region have become the main anchor and magnet for cooperation between KKL-JNF Southern Region, the municipal authorities and public entities, with the goal of advancing the creation of green lungs and leisure culture for the local population and visitors to the area. The Nahal Gerar Park in the city of Rahat is the cornerstone of the south's shared parks and will be a bridgehead for a strong connection between different sectors of the population, people and nature, KKL-JNF and the Rahat Municipality, and all the partners of the administrative association."
The park, which will traverse both the older and newer city neighborhoods, will cover an area of about 375 acres and bridge between the different parts of the city, and serve as a springboard for the presence of cultural, trade and sports centers.
According to the plan, the Nahal Gerar streambank will continue to be developed and will provide a green space and magnificent view along the banks of this ancient stream that tells the story of our shared heritage – the "Abraham Path".
The "Abraham Path", a future and optimistic Middle Eastern tourist trail, will go from Haran to Hebron, connecting Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel - over 1,200 kilometers in the footsteps of Abraham, the father of the belief in one God.
Nahal Gerar stream is the largest tributary of the Besor stream. The stream begins near Kibbutz Lahav and after traversing about 50 kilometers of loess plains, it flows into the Besor stream.
The lower section of Nahal Gerar is also managed and developed by the KKL-JNF Southern Region and is part of the Nahal Gerar and Sharsheret Forest Park.
KKL-JNF is currently creating a scenic route for the benefit of the fauna, diverse flora and rich shared culture, a route whose value is greater than the sum of its parts.