Developing the Negev

KKL-JNF is a leading partner in the sustainable development of the Negev, helping to strengthen its communities and increase its sources of income, attracting young families from the central region to make their homes in the southern region and ensure a flourishing future for all.
"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

- Isaiah 43:19

The Negev - a national priority

  • Israel’s southern desert region
  • 60% of Israel’s land
  • 13% of Israel’s population
  • Israel’s largest reserve of land for conservation and development
  • Israel’s most sensitive ecosystem
  • Communities

    Planting seeds of success in cities, towns and rural villages in the Negev.
  • Tourism

    Promoting tourism in the Negev as a leverage for growth
  • Environment

    Supporting a sustainable environment in the Negev
  • Education

    Educating for love of the land
  • Water

    Managing water in the desert

  • Research and Development

    Innovating, implementing & sharing know-how with the world

Facts and Figures

  • The Negev extends some 14,475 square kilometers - 60% of the State of Israel - from Ashdod to Eilat.
  • The Negev comprises more than half of Israel's land area, and only 13% of the country’s population lives there.
  • To date, the population of the Negev is 1,130,972,‏ with a density of 78 people per square km.
  • Average annual precipitation varies from 250 mm (under 10 in) in the Northern Negev to 25 mm (less than 1 in) in the Eilat area.
  • As in all deserts, the difference in temperature between day and night is remarkable. In summer, temperatures of 38° Celsius (100 Farenheit) are common in the daytime, but at night the mercury falls to 13° Celsius (55 Farenheit) - colder than in central and northern Israel.
  • The Negev forms part of a much larger desert that stretches from Egypt through the southern part of Israel to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
  • The Negev has a long and interesting human history, from pre-historic hunters who roamed the area over 10,000 years ago and through Biblical times, the Nabateans, the Romans, the Bedouin and, finally, modern settlement since the establishment of the State of Israel.
  • The Negev has 40 local councils and 249 communities. Be'er Sheva is the largest city and is known as the "capital of the Negev".
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

KKL-JNF's vision for the coming years

KKL-JNF meets the Israel's changing needs with focus on:
  • Israel's geographic and socio-economic periphery. KKL-JNF will help the state of Israel move half a million new residents to the Galilee, and a million new residents to the Negev. For KKL-JNF, this involves creating infrastructure, strengthening the local economy, building housing for students, helping with housing for young couples and creating opportunities that aim to close the socio-economic gap between the central region and Israel's northern and southern regions.
  • Education based on humanistic, universalist and Zionist values in informal frameworks in Israel, including youth movements and pre-army (Israel Defense Forces) preparatory training programs (mechinot), and throughout Jewish communities and youth movements around the world, strengthening Jewish identity and intensifying the connection to Israel.
  • Strengthening international ties; serving as a "light unto the nations" through sharing knowledge and experience garnered over the years with other countries, particularly in the areas of combating desertification, water management and agriculture and food security.
The guiding principles of sustainability inform all of KKL-JNF's activities, helping ensure a viable future for Israel