Jewish National Fund-USA launches design competition for $350 million World Zionist Village in Be’er Sheva
New York, NY: February 5, 2021 — Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) is embarking on an exciting new phase of its revolutionary One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, one which will forever change the narrative about Zionism, education, innovation, technology, and Jewish destiny all from the beating heart of Israel’s Negev Desert, Be’er Sheva: they are building the World Zionist Village.
A rendering of the campus
To kick it off, JNF-USA is launching Envision Tomorrow’s Israel, a design competition that runs from February 4 – April 15 (Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Hebrew for Israel’s Independence Day), and seeks unique concepts and ideas for key elements of the campus, including classrooms, dormitories, conference center spaces, houses of worship, cafés, and entranceways. Competitors are also encouraged to submit design concepts for an iconic structure incorporating Be’er Sheva’s desert landscape and status as the capital of the Negev.
“Envision Tomorrow’s Israel is a competition for an idea, but not just any idea,” said Jeffrey E. Levin, chairperson of JNF-USA’s Board and co-chair of the Be’er Sheva Construction and Building and Subcommittee. “Our goal is to conceive a grand and striking idea that will create interest in and brand what we are creating in Be’er Sheva for the future. London has Big Ben and Hollywood its famed sign. Will this Village have its own monument, perhaps to Israel’s national heroes like Herzl and Ben-Gurion, making it and Be’er Sheva an internationally recognizable icon? What will distinguish the World Zionist Village and the city? Will the design take advantage of the radiant desert sun and be all solar? Will rooftop gardens adorn every structure, creating lush greenery in the heart of Be’er Sheva? This competition will draw cutting-edge ideas from around the world for an international campus of the future and bestow Be’er Sheva the attention it rightfully deserves.”
A proposed layout of the future campus
Architects, students, designers, ‘big thinkers,’ educators, and landscape architects from around the world are urged to participate. Submissions are encouraged to support JNF-USA’s mission to strengthen dialogue, education, and interaction among Village users and draw inspiration from Zionism, Judaism, innovation, the desert and environment, and sustainability and cutting-edge ideas to mitigate climate impact. Submissions will be judged on functionality, aesthetics, original creative design incorporating JNF-USA’s guiding principles, energy/environmental concepts, and ease of maintenance.
“The Jewish National Fund-USA World Zionist Village will further transform the character of Be’er Sheva,” said JNF-USA President Dr. Sol Lizerbram. “At the launch of our Blueprint Negev campaign over 15 years ago, there were no hi-tech companies or green spaces in Be’er Sheva, but JNF-USA changed the equation and today hi-tech companies are flocking to the city and young families are choosing to make their home there. The Village will further transform Be’er Sheva and serve as a conduit between the tech elements developed in Israel and Be’er Sheva and the students studying in the programs and courses that will be offered. This is truly the intersection and convergence of education, Zionism, technology, and innovation.”
Entrants can win a cash prize of up to $8,600. Contest finalists will be announced on May 13, with the final winner to be announced on June 18, 2021. For a complete breakdown of prizes, visit jnf.org/village.
The competition will be judged by a panel of distinguished architects and public figures, including:
Stephen B. Jacobs
Professor Kenneth W. Stein
“The World Zionist Village is coming at a critical juncture in the ongoing story and destiny of the Jewish people and Israel,” said Joseph Wolfson, first vice president of JNF-USA’s National Board and chair of the Be’er Sheva Executive Committee. “We are creating a magnificent environment where people can engage with one another in conversations of great importance about the future of Judaism, Israel, and Zionism. JNF-USA is visionary and has experience in growing tomorrow’s leaders. There’s no doubt that in 10 to 15 years, thousands upon thousands of students, young adults, and others from around the world will have passed through the Village’s gates, returning home as ambassadors for Israel, advocates for Zionism, and leaders in their communities.”
Jewish National Fund-USA’s World Zionist Village is the single largest initiative in the organization’s 120-year history. The nearly 20-acre campus, a five-year $350 million investment adjacent to the Be’er Sheva Rive Park and Lake, will serve as the second home for the Alexander Muss High School in Israel; provide an Innovation Center with 50 apartment-like campus residences for post-graduates interning in Be’er Sheva-based hi-tech, medical-tech, and cyber security companies; and include a Zionist Adult Education Center for international adult learners (ages 22 and older) who wish to learn about and connect with Israel from Biblical times to modern-day Israel.
This World Zionist Village is part of JNF-USA’s vision to ensure a strong, secure, and prosperous future for Israel by connecting the next generation to the land and people of Israel. This new and innovative village in the heart of the Negev will change the status quo and affect how we teach, learn, and connect to Israel for decades to come.
For more information on the Envision Tomorrow’s Israel: A Competition to Design the Jewish National Fund World Zionist Village, jnf.org/village. For media inquiries, please contact Daniel Peri, Senior Communications Manager, at [email protected] or 212.879.9305 x227.
About Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.