How do we make peoplehood tangible in our 21st century world? We’re doing it. The impressive achievements of the first ten years of our partnership demonstrate our collective force when we partner in common purpose.
Since 1994, when leaders from our community stepped forward to become part of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 (P2K), our commitment and involvement have become a powerful catalyst for change in Australia and Central Arava.
Today, we are one of 550 global communities in 44 partnerships with Israel. Sharing ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success, our P2K partnerships have become the paradigm for successfully partnering the Jewish world.
What Will You Make of It?
1994-1995 The steering committee defines our partnership’s goals, including “putting the Arava on the map,” increasing the population and enhancing reciprocal relations with Australia. • The Economic Development Unit is established with our support.
1995-2002 Our partnership provides “seed money” dedicated to building such planning and operational infrastructures as computer communications, paramedical services, and advertising and marketing of the region to promote tourism.
1996 First steering committee delegation travels from the Arava to Australia.
1997 First exchange of high school student delegations, which continues today as one of the major programs of the partnership. • The partnership undertakes its first strategic planning process.
1998 Declared as the year for promoting tourism to the area through a range of activities.
1999 Planning begins for an academic scientific complex to be established on the border with Jordan.
2000 The high number of young families settling in the region points to the need for economic mentoring, which is supported by the Economic Development Unit.
2001 A resurgence of interest in the Arava by the Australian community prompts a solidarity delegation to the region. • A new Israeli co-chair of the Partnership is appointed.
2002 The second steering committee delegation travels to Australia, giving birth to new Community Involvement Groups (parallel to Young Leadership) in Australia and the Arava.
2003 Project funding becomes directed primarily to educational, community and cultural projects. • Both Community Involvement Groups continue intensive work. • Australian Community Group visits the Arava for a week of workshops.
2004 The Arava Community Involvement Group visits Australia for intensive workshops to support projects and activities developed and promoted by the groups, and to enhance the connections with institutions that serve both communities.
2005 Significant increase of Australian community visits to Arava. One delegation includes more than 150 participants, all hosted by Arava residents in their homes.
2006 A renewed strategic planning process for our partnership gets underway.
A Decade of Connection
The partnership between the Jewish community of Australia and the Central Arava region began in 1994.
The shared pioneering nature of our communities made us ideal partners in increasing the population by diversifying the employment base and types of settlement. At the time, only 2,200 people inhabited this barren, isolated region bordering Jordan. Agriculture was the sole industry; two of the six communities were not doing as well as they could; and few households had internet access. Schoolchildren lacked enrichment opportunities and access to educational intervention; and there were few cultural events beyond local productions. The region’s most promising young people rarely stayed to make their homes in the Arava.
A Decade of Mutual Impact
Activists in both communities participate in Community Involvement Groups, working to create and advance projects that deepen reciprocal relations and assist in regional development.
Our partnership has aided the economic development of the Arava region and increased the level of services provided to residents. Tourism is now the second leading source of employment. We’ve supported new entrepreneurs as they turned their dreams into reality. We have funded the development of a computer communication center and a much-needed educational therapeutic treatment center in Arava. Such improvements have enhanced the quality of life and attracted new settlers to this now-thriving community.
The involvement of a broad cross-section of our Australian community has resulted in a greater awareness of the needs of Israel.
Since the inception of the program, 2,000-plus Australians, including students, youth groups and family missions, have visited the Arava. Reciprocal high school delegations expose students to different expressions of Jewish identity. Our communities have truly forged a living bridge that leads to higher levels of commitment, involvement and activity on both sides, ensuring Jewish continuity. As one Arava student, returning from a visit to Australia said, “I went to Australia as an Israeli, and returned as a Jew.”
We have built living bridges between Australia and Arava through scores of reciprocal visits of teachers, principals, families, students and volunteers— strengthening both of our communities.
“Through Partnership 2000, I became acquainted with many of the wonderful, warm people of the Australian Jewish community. Their fierce desire to promote regional development in the Arava has made me more aware than ever of the potential of the Arava Region, and in the partnership of the Jewish people the world over.” Ezra Ravins, member, Regional Development Subcommittee
“I have seen a concept transform into a tangible partnership between the Australian and Arava communities. Increased settlement, tourism and, most importantly, the bonds created between the communities are the fruits of a shared endeavor.” Max Shnider, founding co-chair, P2K Steering Committee, Australia
Together, taking our partnership to the next level
What an extraordinary impact we’ve had so far. And it’s really just the beginning. Our efforts in the Arava are uniting our youth, creating community leaders and fostering professional exchanges. We’ve been advancing regional cooperation, attracting development and creating places where families want to live and work.
At the same time, we are innovating to connect our next generation to Israel in new ways by creating enduring connections that will shape the Australian Jewish community’s future. A decade ago, we boldly grasped this opportunity to make a dramatic difference as one people. Now we’re ready to take this partnership to the next level.