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Nitzana in the Holy Land



Nitzana is an educational community and settlement in the Negev, located close to the peace border between Israel and  Egypt, 70 km. northwest of Beer Sheva. The community was established in 1986 by the Jewish Agency and its founder Arie Lova Eliav.




Nitzana in the Bible


Nitzana is situated  just 3 kilometers from the Egyptian border. The place holds much biblical history: This is where Kadesh Barnea is located ; where the 12 spies were first sent out into the "Promised Land." It is the location where Moses struck the rock for water and the general area that the rabbis tell us that the children of Israel spent 38 of their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Earlier in Biblical history it is the location of the Way of Shur and the route that literally went "down into Egypt." At the time of the Nabateans, Nitzana was one of the important cities that they had built along with Shivta, another city that they had built situate just 20 minutes away. In Shivta you will find special archeological ruins of a church with amazing acoustics for singing and a beautiful setting for dinner.  The Nitzana village offers an extraordinary education in a unique setting for young people from Israel and abroad.



Each year at Nitzana there are approximately 15,000 Israeli high school students that come to attend desert, science and ecological seminars. The seminars teach about the importance of the Negev desert, ecology and protection of the environment, water sources and conservation, recycling and environmental sustainability. The new Solar Park at Nitzana teaches about the need to create a clean renewable energy. Students and visitors benefit from an education about the sun and its outstanding possibilities as a source of energy in varied uses that can be utilized in our daily life. Israel's history is taught and Zionistic values are imparted while at the same time tolerance for all groups - secular, religious and minorities is conveyed.



Nitzana specializse in summer camps for young people, combining education with fun. These educational camps include subjects of science, English, music, ecology, solar energy and sports. We also offer Youth Leadership courses. 



Nitzana also serves as an absorption center. Every year 100 new immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and North America find Nitzana as their first home in Israel. Here they learn Hebrew, English, science, Judaism and are prepared for the army. After a one year program these young people are ready to embark into their new life in Eretz Israel.



A new rehabilitation center for youth who have suffered from a serious illness or disease will be opened in the summer of 2009 and completed in 2010, when finished it will facilitate 100 youth at a time.



The basic principles in the activities of Nitzana include;

Nitzana as a Zionist community that nurtures social pluralism - tolerance of the great diversity within Israel. First and foremost it is important to be a "good person."

Educational attitudes that include new approaches which provide students with a fresh educational experience and stresses ecological values; Strengthening the "peace border" with Egypt and the potential that lies within it.



The facilities consist of a school, solar park, museum, recycling center, swimming pool, dining room, synagogue, accommodations for 100 new immigrants, guest apartments, youth hostel, meeting rooms, computer rooms, a fleet of bicycles, etc.



Outside of Nitzana there is a forest which is used for an Outdoor Training Youth Empowerment sessions. The beautiful Path of Peace is running close by as well as ancient archeological ruins from the Byzantine and Turkish periods. This includes Tel Nitzana, ruins of churches, and ancient farmyard and more. It is possible to visit these sites by foot, bicycle or bus.




Ezuz, 20 minutes away in the opposite direction is a unique setting that offers camel rides, a Bedouin style dinner and overnight lodging in mud huts that are simple and clean. The quiet and beauty of the desert is truly amazing here with civilization far away. It is possible to go on a "leadership" tour intertwined with the camel trip. That is, to take a trip into the desert and experience how Moses felt and the dilemmas he encountered as a leader of the children of Israel. At the local settlement you can visit the organic cheese and yogurt shop and sip herbal tea while enjoying the view.



Modern Day Kadesh Barnea and surrounding settlements consist of hundreds of huge greenhouses. Here tasty tomatoes, grapes, pomegranates, olives, potatoes, salicornia and other vegetable are grown. Many are exported to Europe. The produce is extra tasty and sweet since it is watered with a local water source of brackish water. This recent discover of an underground aquifer has helped to bring life to the desert and to make it possible to ship the lovely fruits of Israel into other parts of the world.  A local honey house shows remarkably how the bees in the desert are able to produce honey. 



It is possible to help the modern day pioneers of this area by volunteering at an organic farm or at a new settlement where you can learn how to build an n amazing house out of mud and straw bales.



A visit to Nitzana will take you back in time, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here we have the most magnificent stars and the warmth and beauty of the desert is comparable to the people which live here.

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