JNF UK’s recent legacy mission to Israel once again illustrated how British support is helping to fulfil Ben Gurion’s vision of transforming the Negev.

Participants saw how towns like Yerucham have benefitted from the generosity of JNF UK’s legacies and donors.

For Pearl De Bruin, the realisation came when she was surprised with a plaque in the new Early Childhood Centre in the town, commemorating a previous donation she had made. She commented:

“I was really delighted to see a plaque marking my donation. It’s not something I was expecting but it’s nice to see the impact you can have – to see babies and toddlers playing in the new, modern, subsidised childcare facilities you’ve helped to support.”

This all followed an impressive concert by students of the newly renovated Music Conservatory.

While in Yerucham the group also had the chance to see the commemorative bench dedicated to the Ambassador of Israel to the UK, His Excellency Mark Regev, who had given a powerful and inspirational talk to legacy clients at KKL’s Rosh Hashanah Tea this year. Having seen the plaque, the Ambassador said: “JNF UK do so much good to preserve and strengthen the bond between our people and our homeland, and it was truly moving to be honoured in this way.”

The new interactive Education Hub at the Amit High School in Kiryat Malachi was another one of the highlights in the Negev that showcased the investment in skills that JNF UK is making in the region. On the same day participants also saw the latest hi-tech research at the Gav-Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park.

Any visit to southern Israel wouldn’t be complete without commemorating Israel’s pioneering first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, who believed Israel’s future lay in the Negev desert. Not only did participants visit his house, but they also prompted a detour to see his grave overlooking the stunning vista of the Zin Canyon.

The ten-day programme also took participants across the breadth of the country, including to Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl, the site of Israel’s national cemetery, where IDF soldiers happened to be present.

On the final day of the Mission they visited Masada and the popular oasis and nature reserve that is Ein Gedi.

Carolyn Addleman, Director of Legacies, commented:

“It was a real privilege to take some of our amazing supporters out to Israel to see first-hand the vital work of JNF UK and how legacy donations play such a huge part in Israel’s development.”