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Meeting our soon-to-be Lone Soldiers

On 6 December 2018, Peter Bailey (Chairman of the Lone Soldier Committee) and Daniela Shapira (Aliyah and Klita Advisor) rented a van together with a group of Southern African volunteers from the Raanana area to visit Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. We met three of the four SA Olim who will be inducted shortly and gave them special Telfed Lone Soldier backpacks filled with goodies and gifts which were very much appreciated. 

SA Oleh and architect, Dennis Solomon, shared his thoughts on the tiyul with us:

A small group of “tiyulers” were fortunate to recently visit Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, a modern Orthodox kibbutz located in the Bet She'an valley just south of the town of Bet She'an near the Jordanian border.

The kibbutz is still fully functional and collective and all the industries are agricultural-based and many organic farming methods are used. One of the main industries is the production of, believe it or not, bumble bees. The bees are exported all over the world to pollinate crops. Not only bees are produced but other disease fighting bugs and insects which are specially modified to eliminate fruit flies and bugs which attack crops.

The kibbutz has also just completed a magnificent live-in Ulpan complex which offers, besides the study of Hebrew, religious and Torah classes. The buildings and their setting, which provide a beautiful, pastoral environment for work and study, was generously donated by Michael Greenberg, a former kibbutz member who did his Ulpan on the kibbutz many years ago. 

The new complex which consists of an Ulpan building and dormitory blocks is an architectural gem designed by prominent Israeli architect Zvika Tamar, in a modern style incorporating the latest in building technology.

From the main entrance a wide corridor stretches the length of the building with admin offices on one side and classrooms equipped with the latest teaching technology, and a beautiful common room on the other. This area has a snooker table, giant TV, library and a self -help kitchen with all the facilities for the ulpaniks to relax and chill. The walls feature panels of muted colours which add to the warmth and friendly atmosphere of the building.

The end of the corridor leads out to the ultra-modern dormitory blocks, which house 88 students, two to a room. Each room has an en- suite shower room, built-in study desks, ample storage cupboards for clothes and shelving for books. Aircon is also provided for all the rooms. Our group was very impressed with the Ulpan complex, its amenities and general ambiance.

While visiting the Ulpan complex we met three of the four young South Africans who have recently completed their Ulpan studies and will shortly be commencing their military service. Daniela Shapira, who heads the Lone Soldiers desk at Telfed presented each of the soon to be Lone Soldiers with a backpack and several other gifts as a gesture from Telfed.

After a delicious lunch in the kibbutz dining room we visited the beautiful kibbutz Shul and walked around the beautiful grounds before returning home after a memorable tiyul to this special and unique kibbutz.




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