In 1953 Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion moved to live in the largest desert region in Israel – the Negev, and by doing so he stated to Israel’s youngsters that their generations mission is to consolidate Israel’s periphery.
Over 50 years later, the Negev and the Galilee constitute 80% of state of Israel but contribute only 8% to its economy, thirsty of development. Ayalim Association was founded in order to face this challenge.
The story of Ayalim began in 2002, when two young guys from Jerusalem decided to take their army grant and buy two house trailers. These two young boys, Matan Dahan and Dany Gliksberg laid the trailers in Ashalim – a small town in the Negev. This would soon become the very first Ayalim student village.
Ayalim is named after Ayal and Yael Sorek that were killed in a terrorist attack in Karmey Tzur only days before the birth of their first son.
The youngsters of Ayalim build and live in the Ayalim student villages in the Negev, Galilee and Lod. The goal of the villages is to expose the young population to the potential of the areas in which they are located, encourage communal life and social involvement within them.
Ayalim see great importance in connecting the young generation to Zionism, Jewish Identity, pioneering, community life and social involvement. In Exchange to a scholarship and low cost rent, the students volunteer over 300 yearly hours in different educational frameworks as well as pioneering work in Israel’s less populated and under developed areas.
Today, Ayalim consists over 1200 student and youngsters in 22 student villages and alumni compounds that are leading a demographic change in Israel’s and in the future of the country as a whole.
After their academic chapter of living, volunteering and building the Ayalim student villages, 46% of the Ayalim graduates choose to build their homes in the Negev, Galilee and Lod.
The association leads cooperations with the Israeli government and private donors in Israel and abroad: The Mirage Foundation, The Jewish Agency, The Sacta Rashi Foundation, the Israeli settlement division, Keren Hayesod, Mifal Hapayis, Jewish Federations and other foundations around the world. Partnerships create unique opportunities and have important value in fostering the Ayalim vision.