Russell Robinson visits Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran
Russell Robinson CEO of JNF commits to continued partnership with Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran
I first met Russell Robinson in 2004, during the time I spent in Harvard University as a senior research fellow. Already then we agreed upon a strong partnership between Aleh Negev and JNF, even though at that point the village was just a stretch of yellow desert sand.
The Jewish National Fund is a strategic partner of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran. JNF specified Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran as its flagship project in its major plan for the development of the Negev (Blueprint Negev). It was therefore our great honor and pleasure to welcome CEO of JNF Russell Robinson to Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran last week, a month after the State of Israel’s resolution to support the establishment of a rehabilitation hospital at Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran. This support, in the sum of 36 million shekels, will be given to the village as a matching grant, contingent on the fundraising efforts of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran.
This new government resolution was undertaken following the recommendation of Israel’s Ministry of Health Director of Medical Affairs Professor Arnon Afek to recognize Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran as a major factor in the provision of quality rehabilitative medical services to the developing Negev region. It is important to note that in addition to serving as a home for life for the most severely disabled members of Israeli society – children like Eran Almog, for whom the village was named – Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran is already a leading outpatient rehabilitation center for hundreds of Negev residents who are referred to the village via local insurances following an accident, illness, or serious trauma. IDF soldiers wounded in Operation Protective Edge and other missions are also referred to the village for treatment via the Ministry of Defense’s Rehab Department.
The recent visit of Russell Robinson to the village marks a new stage in the JNF and US Jewry partnership with Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran and the State of Israel, in their joint efforts to continue to develop the village. Included in this initiative is the establishment of residences for volunteers, students and village staff in addition to the planned rehabilitation hospital. To further fundraising efforts for the village, JNF will establish a group of American Friends who will undertake to personally support the Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran village as well as recruit additional donors.
During his visit Russell met Adrienne and Rick Matros, American Jews from Orange County who were visiting Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran for the third time; the village, for them, stands as a powerful symbol of ethics and moral values. This is the same commitment that Russell Robinson speaks about when he meets with thousands of American Jews – the mutual responsibility of Jews throughout the world to each other, and to the one and only Jewish State. This commitment dictates that a strong society does not leave the vulnerable behind.
It is important to stress that Russell Robinson came to Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge when the village was under attack from neighboring Gaza, bringing with him 3 solidarity missions of American Jews who came to strengthen, support and express their belief in Israel and its ongoing activities.
The pictures that follow reveal a little of this ongoing special relationship.