What’s Going on in Tel Aviv’s Backyard?

The population of Judea and Samaria is growing and with an even count of both religious and secular Jews, the heartland is as diverse as the rest of Israel − its contributions, significant as well.

“The prophets are happy, for they have prophesized this,” says Eve Harow, one of the official tour guides for One Israel Fund. “What a privilege that we in Israel are living out not just the prophesies but the everyday miracles of Israel.”

And all this, right in Tel-Aviv’s own backyard.

Who knew?

For instance, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Ben Gurion Airport is the community of Dolev. There, one can find a highly acclaimed unique school and rehabilitation center that caters to disadvantaged girls, ages 10 to 19 from all over Israel who come from troubled and broken homes, having lost hope in their future.

Ulpanat Dolev is the last chance for these girls.

Referred to the school by the courts, social workers and school counselors, most of the girls have been removed from unsupportive environments and abusive relationships that have caused learning problems, underachievement in school, emotional insecurity, and trauma. It is also the only school in Israel that has a program for graduates who are not emotionally ready to enter society on their own and have no biological family to provide for them.

Mimi Tzadok, Director of Ulpanat Dolev addressing One Israel Fund Day Trip participants.

What’s more, the families of the Dolev community are personally involved with the students and have become their surrogate families.
Ulpanat Dolev has received honors and awards from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Welfare as well as winning an award for the best therapeutic staff for at-risk youth in Israel.

The One Israel Fund, dedicated to supporting the welfare and safety of the men, women and children of Judea and Samaria, the vanguard of Israel’s security and sovereignty as a Jewish State, brings thousands of visitors a year from the rest of the country and from abroad to see Israel’s treasures first hand − areas where many do not wish to travel alone.

But once you traverse the Judean and Samarian hills, you see the evidence of the Jewish people’s historical connection jump out at you. It is beneath each stone, each ravine, upon the hilltops and all through the wadis.

Several Days ago OIF travelled to the Binyamin region where there are thriving communities such as Talmon, Dolev, Neveh Tzuf, and Beit Horon, to name just a few. This is a region that is teeming with historical and biblical sites and antiquities. It is a region that contains a treasure of museums, farms, forests, recreational sites, study centers, and national reserves.

But I’ll even let you in on a better treasure − The Domaine Ventura Winery!

Through the brilliant blue eyes of Dovid Ventura, (and the French twang in his Hebrew doesn’t hurt either) we literally saw the

Dovid Ventura of Domaine Ventura Winery

fruits of his hard labor in the sprawling vineyards that line the hills of Binyamin − vineyards that have won his winery international acclaim.

Dovid invited our group numbering 25 people into the hub of his winery where we had the opportunity to engage in some serious wine tasting…purely for research purposes, of course.

A few enthusiastic wine tasters

Our heartland, right in Tel Aviv’s backyard − full of heart and good spirits.

(I’m partial to the Chardonnay!)

About the Author
Author of THE GILBOA IRIS (Gefen Publishing House) and SETTLING FOR MORE: FROM JERSEY TO JUDEA (Urim Publications).