Carmit, a 2,600-home planned community in the Negev, will leverage the relocation of three Israel Defense Force bases and aliyah growth to develop a barren swath of the desert, a co-founder of OR Movement, an organization spearheading the development, told The Algemeiner in an interview.
Ofir Fisher is the “O” of OR Movement along with co-founder Ronnie Flammer, two young Israelis who, in 1999, when the government created a Ministry for the the Negev and Galilee, decided to “dedicate their lives to building the future of Israel,” Fisher said this week, while in the US for fundraising events in New York City and Los Angeles.
Created in 2002, the OR Movement is now raising funds for shared services at Carmit, its seventh community, but its first to be fully planned. It has facilitated six other towns, including Sansana, Givot Bar, and Kibbutz Kramim, near Beer Sheva, with over 50 community and public building projects, through partnerships with the government and leading Israeli and diaspora charities. More than 25,000 families have moved to OR Movement towns, and their success has brought the group tremendous notoriety in Israel.
In 2010, OR Movement won the first ever Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation and Initiatives, followed by the Yigal Alon Award for Exemplary Pioneering Activities and was then named to The Algemeiner’s Jewish 100, a list of the top 100 individuals who positively influenced Jewish life in 2012.
Fisher said the seed idea of OR Movement was to provide young people in Israel an alternative to moving to Tel Aviv, while focusing development and economic growth on locations that were “not in dispute.”
“We wanted to channel the energy of young people to the 70% of today’s Israel made up of the Negev and the Galilee; right now, the Negev makes up 60% of Israel, but with only 8% of our population,” Fisher said. “This land is the future of Israel.”
The communities are not being built in a vacuum, but as part of a broader national plan accelerated by a government decision to relocate three major IDF operations to the area, bringing military investment in the bases, as well as thousands of career soldiers needing residential housing.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited the Negev to tour what will become a new IDF training complex, which will cost 21 billion shekels ($5.92 billion) to complete.
The IDF’s Communication Corps compound will be transferred from Herziliyah to the new Negev complex next year. The IDF’s Intelligence compound is set to move to the Negev in 2018, and with it, 30,000 personnel, of which 6,000 are career servicemen. The Computer Science division will also makes its …read more
Source: The Algemeiner