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Negev Desert is Host to Conference on Desertification for Academics and Professionals from 50 Countries

Contact: Ariel Vered • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 227 •

November 8, 2010 – Sde Boker, Israel – More than 500 academics and government officials from more than 50 countries, including those from the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, will participate in a four-day conference entitled “Conference on Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification: The Route to Restoration,” which will take place November 8-11 in the Negev at Ben Gurion Universty’s campus in Sde Boker.

The third annual conference is co-sponsored by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES), a Jewish National Fund (JNF) partner, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference will cover topics that include the public health aspects of desertification; sustainable building in desert environments; grazing and the Bedouin community; the future of the Dead Sea; and environmental education and dry-land agriculture.

“We believe that by bringing a diverse group of academics, professionals and policy-makers together to confront the myriad critical issues of desertification, the BGU conference can serve as a meaningful catalyst for cooperative and collaborative projects in the future at the global level,” said Professor Alon Tal, Arava Institute founder, a Ben Gurion University professor, and an active member of JNF.

Parts of the Negev desert have been transformed into a productive breadbasket, actually reducing the desert's size significantly since 1948. Jewish National Fund (JNF) -KKL (Keren Kayemet L'Israel) -planted forests are thriving and salt- and drought-resistant crops are flourishing as a result of advanced agricultural methods. The desert is dotted with commercial fish ponds and with healthful algae used for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and health foods.

The Arava Institute is the center for environmental leadership in the Middle East whose mission is protecting the land and ensuring sustainable development. JNF has helped make the desert bloom and funds a variety of AIES projects.

For more information, contact Ariel Vered at 212-879-9305 ext. 227 or

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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