Nifgashim Beshvil Yisrael
('Meeting on the Israel National Trail') is a long and unconventional journey in nature, from Eilat in the south to She’ar Yeshuv in the north where two CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters crashed on the night of February 4, 1997 - a tragedy coined by Israelis as “the helicopter disaster”. One of the soldiers who died in that crash was staff sergeant Avi Ofner. His parents, Raya and Yossi, decided to commemorate him and his friends through this symbolic trek on the Israel National Trail.
Three years ago KKL-JNF joined this initiative as a strategic partner, and are involved in the content, instruction and administration of the trek.
The program consists of three parts:
– every day of the trek, one or several fallen IDF soldiers and victims of acts of hostilities, are commemorated.
Renewal – renewal through meeting new people on the trek; people who didn’t know each other beforehand get to know each other and attend joint workshops on Jewish-Israeli culture.
Dialogue – unmediated discussions and structured dialogues (discussion circles) between different groups in Israeli society are part of the journey. People from different age groups engage in multicultural and heterogeneous dialogues, which seek to help them gain insight, deepen relationships and accept the other, whatever his/her opinions might be.
Every day, the participants hike 15-20 km, participate in structured workshops and end the day with a session that is connected to their location, whether it’s a person they’ve meet with, a personal or community project or even the specific date.
The journey always begins in Eilat and over a period of two months the hikers cover the entire state of Israel. You can follow the track and plan to join at different points on the Nifgashim Beshvil Yisrael website (Hebrew).