The box which helped build a country

February 26, 2014 by Ahuva Bar-Lev
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A sculpture of the iconic Blue Box has been dedicated at the Ruppin Academic Center near Netanya by KKL-JNF  to honor the memory of David, Gita and Michael Hoffman of Perth, Western Australia, whose legacy and generous support of KKL-JNF’s atcivities made the contribution of the sculpture possible.

blue-box-unveiling-Ancho-Gosh“There could be no better place for a sculpture of the KKL-JNF Blue Box than the campus of an academic center named for Arthur Ruppin, one of the founding fathers of Jewish agricultural settlement in the Land of Israel,” said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler at the dedication ceremony of a Blue Box sculpture at the Ruppin Academic Center in memory of David, Gita and Michael Hoffman of Perth in Western Australia.

The day began with a tour of the Ruppin School of Marine Sciences, which is situated on a separate campus on the Michmoret shore. Mr. Stenzler was accompanied by the heads of the Ruppin Academic Center, including Professor Shosh Arad, the president of Ruppin; Mr. Raanan Dinur, chairman of the Executive Committee; Professor Amnon Caspi, and others. Senior KKL-JNF brass included Meir Shpiegler, KKL-JNF Director General; Avi Dickstein, Executive Director of the KKL-JNF Resources, Development and PR Division; David Brand, Chief Forester; Ze’ev Kedem, director of the KKL-JNF Fundraising Department; Haim Messing, KKL-JNF Central Region Director, and others.

The Ruppin Academic Center School of Marine Sciences was established in 1997 under the academic patronage of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The school, which is the only one of its kind in Israel, trains its students in fields related to the sea, the marine environment and marine technology. The KKL-JNF senior brass visited laboratories with flowing sea water and marine agriculture laboratories, learning about sophisticated molecular biology research and other related topics.At the main campus, the group toured the green lawns that are dotted with environmental sculptures, all of which were designed by new immigrant artists. They then proceeded to the Academic Center’s library, which will be dedicated in June in memory of the donors, along with an information centre for the conservation of the environment, which will feature KKL-JNF educational and research publications, along with a display of KKL-JNF ecological achievements.

Speaking at the ceremony dedicating the Blue Box sculpture, Ranaan Dinur said that “those of us who went to school during the 1950s had a shared icon that was very different from those that are popular today – the KKL-JNF Blue Box. It expressed an ethical infrastructure that was characteristic of that time in our history – a nation that valued modesty, dedication and equality. The Ruppin Academic Center has adopted these values and seeks to implement them in a manner appropriate for this time and place, including environmental awareness and responding to Israel’s many social challenges.

“Today, we still seek new horizons, and we have turned our gaze in the direction of the sea. Ben Gurion said that ‘if someone stakes a claim on even one corner of the sea, the entire ocean will reveal itself to that person.’ I invite KKL-JNF to be part of this pioneering project. I would also like to thank the donors, KKL-JNF and its chairman Efi Stenzler, for their support of the Ruppin Academic Center. I look forward to seeing you again in June, when representatives of the donors will be here and we will officially dedicate the library and environmental information center.”

KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler noted that during the 1920s, “KKL-JNF purchased the swamp lands of Emek Hefer, drained them and made them suitable for human habitation. We have continued to be active in this region, promoting projects such as the Bachan water reservoir and the restoration of the Alexander River, with the help of our friends throughout the world.

“Everything we have accomplished began with a small blue box that built a country. KKL-JNF is committed to ensuring that the building and development of Israel, which is what the Blue Box symbolizes, will continue. We now face a new frontier, the sea. Marine research is critical for a country with a Mediterranean coastline, in terms of the environment and even marine agriculture. KKL-JNF is interested in working together with Ruppin in this field, and who knows, maybe bread will come not only from the earth, but also from the ocean!”

The Ruppin Academic Center was founded in 1949 in order to provide administrative education for Israel’s agricultural settlements. In addition to the School of Social Sciences and Management, the Center operates schools of engineering and marine sciences, with 14 academic departments awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees, and a total of some 4,500 students.

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