Meet the people of the Arava

August 21, 2015 by Hayley Hadassin
Read on for article

Scientists, agriculturalists and educators from the Arava region of Israel are to visit Australia.

The Arava

The Arava

One of the most remarkable things about the Arava region in Israel is that in this spectacular but arid and sparsely populated area, the desert is literally blooming. Export quality flowers, vegetables and even barramundi fish are successfully farmed by the resourceful and innovative community.

So it should come as no surprise that from this epi-center of agricultural technology (“agritech”), innovations, which will feed the world are emerging.

PARTNERSHIP2GETHER Arava Australia is a program of the Jewish Agency and the Zionist Federation of Australia that promotes people to people relationships through social, cultural and educational programs.

The Arava Australia Partnership is delighted to bring a high-level six-member delegation of Scientists, Agriculturalists and Educators from the Central Arava region in Israel to visit Australia for the first time.

The agricultural community of the Arava is a living miracle in Israel. It has turned the dry, barren desert into the ‘Land of Milk and Honey.’ Members of the delegation will share their secrets as to how they have made the desert bloom and will provide insights into the cutting edge “agri-tech” research and educational programs that enable the Arava to make a significant contribution to feeding the world.

The delegates are highly educated and passionate. Hanni Anon is the founder and director of the Arava International Centre for Agricultural training (AICAT). Anon says: – “AICAT’s goal is to educate students from agricultural countries, providing them with various tools in order to form a successful agricultural business in their home countries.”

The Arava

The Arava

Students predominantly come from Asia and Africa and leave with the tools to become high-tech farmers. Anon wants them to leave with independence and knowledge, citing Theodore Herzl: “If you will it – it is no legend.” AICAT promotes the belief that “If you give a person a fish you feed him for a day; teach a person to fish and you feed him for a life time.”

Dr. Rivka Ofir is the Head of the Arava Centre for Drug Discovery, the Central Arava Branch of the Dead Sea & Arava Science Centre. She is a specialist in the source and use of medicinal plants and animal models such as zebrafish as leads for drugs against cancer, neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer`s diseases) and stem cell research.

Ron Finkel, Chairman of The Australia Arava Partnership says: – “This small community of pioneering farmers has developed exciting Agri-Tech innovations that are contributing significantly to addressing the 21st century’s highest priority food challenges; demonstrating their skill and applying their science and experience to make “the desert bloom.”

The delegates will participate in a wide range of activities including presentations on food security and workshops revolving around Science, Agriculture and Education. They will be here to promote and encourage scientific and agricultural collaboration between the Central Arava and Australia.

At the same time the delegates are here to experience the warmth and depth of the Australian Jewish community, its history, organisations and educational institutions that have been established to respond to the challenges of maintaining meaningful Jewish continuity in the diaspora.

The visit will take place in Melbourne from 27 August to 6 September, followed by a few days in Sydney until 8 September 2015.

The Melbourne Community is invited to meet the delegation on Sunday, 30 August 2015 at 7:30pm Beth Weizmann Community Centre, 306 Hawthorn Road, South Caulfield. There is no cost for this event however RSVP is essential

For more details call Stacy Hayman on +61 3 9272 5531 or email

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