The Hebrew University Holds 2024 Trustees Meeting in Ofakim to Support Israel’s South

The Hebrew University Holds 2024 Trustees Meeting in Ofakim to Support Israel’s South
2nd June 2024 Moriah Aharon

Highlighting its commitment to advancing research and academia in peripheral regions, Hebrew University unveiled a proposal to establish a new branch of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment in Ofakim. The opening conference of the 87th session of the Board of Trustees was held for the first time in Ofakim, in the Western Negev in southern Israel, and featured a celebratory session attended by select members from Israel and abroad. The event included a visit to the local agricultural school, which collaborates closely with the university’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

On Sunday 2nd July 2024 the Hebrew University held the opening conference of its 87th Board of Trustees session in Ofakim, symbolising solidarity with the Western Negev, particularly in the aftermath of October 7. The event took place in Ofakim’s community culture hall with the participation of approximately 100 board members from both Israel and abroad. Distinguished attendees included Hebrew University President, Prof. Asher Cohen, Rector Prof. Tamir Shafer, Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development, Amb. Yossi Gal, Board Chairman Mr. Dan Schlesinger and Ofakim Mayor Itzik Danino.

After the event, the delegation toured the innovative Regavim Agricultural School, where they explored both the school projects and the city’s Science Center, integral to ongoing collaborations with the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. The visit underscored Ofakim’s vision to become Israel’s agro-tech hub, with presentations highlighting this ambition.

Following the tragic events of October 7 that significantly affected the Western Negev and Ofakim, the Hebrew University has reaffirmed its dedication to supporting the recovery and resilience of these communities. As Israel’s leading research institution, the university remains committed to advancing science and making meaningful societal contributions, particularly in the development of the country’s peripheral regions. The decision by the Board of Trustees to convene in Ofakim highlights a significant reinforcement of the ties between the university and the Negev region.

Prof. Asher Cohen remarked, “The Hebrew University stands as Israel’s leading research university, which, beyond our scientific mission, drives us to nurture scientific curiosity and education in future generations. Our robust engagement with Ofakim, particularly post-October 7, exemplifies our dedication to fostering educational excellence and a passion for science across Southern Israel.”

Mayor Itzik Danino expressed, “At a time when global anti-Semitism is on the rise and academic circles face challenges, it is crucial to bolster Israel’s academic institutions. Ofakim’s focus on agro-tech, combined with robust educational and academic frameworks, will significantly contribute to the economic and social vitality of the region. The establishment of a Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture branch here in Ofakim will enhance our educational landscape, benefiting residents across the Negev. Hosting the Board of Trustees in Ofakim for the first time is a profound honor and testament to our growing partnership and mutual commitment.”

Picture – Credit: Maxim Dinstein

Left to right: Yishai Fraenkel, CEO and Asher Cohen, President, Hebrew University | Yitzhak Danino, Mayor, Ofakim

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. Serving over 23,000 students from 80 countries, the University produces nearly 40% of Israel’s civilian scientific research and has received over 11,000 patents. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more information about the Hebrew University, please click here.

Ofakim is a city located in the Southern District of Israel, situated in the northwestern Negev desert. Established in 1955, it has grown into a vibrant community known for its diverse population and dynamic cultural scene. Ofakim is a hub of agricultural and technological development, benefiting from collaborations with institutions such as Hebrew University. The city plays a crucial role in regional development, reflecting the resilience and innovation characteristic of the Western Negev.