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Sweet Meeting: WIZO Nir Ha’Emek Beekeeping Students Visit President

Just before Rosh Hashana, four students from WIZO Nir Ha'emek's beekeping program met Israel's President at his official Jerusalem residence

September 19, 2019

There is no resting for these 'busy bees'.

Fresh off their recent success at this summer's International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB) in Slovakia, where they took home second place in the mixed delegations category, four 10th grade student representatives from the WIZO Nir Ha'Emek Youth Village beekeeping program traveled to Jerusalem to meet President Reuven Rivlin

PresidentHoneyVisit Photo Credit Mark Naiman GPO

WIZO Nir Ha'Emek beekeeping students & their teacher (back row, standing) with President Rivlin

 (Photo Credit: Mark Naiman - GPO)

The students, Ori Shahaf, Liran Eliyahu, Itay Ostricher and Katrin Lukyanov, accompanied by their teacher Sharon Nir Inbar, were part of an annual delegation of young honey producers invited to the president's residence before the onset of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, when apples are dipped in honey as an omen for a 'sweet new year'.

This was the first time the President received the visitors without his beloved wife, Nechama by his side. At the meeting, Zeev Meidan, Director General of the Council of Production & Marketing of Honey, presented the President with a special brand of citrus honey made in memory of the late First Lady, Nechama Rivlin z"l. The President was visibly moved, relating that for Nechama, who grew up in a farming village, the annual meeting was an important and exciting moment that she looked forward to each year. "She loved the Israeli honey with the aroma of citrus and saw you honey producers as a fulfillment of Zionism,"  the President said. "Thank you for honoring her memory with this honey made in her memory."

The President then spent several minutes talking to the Nir Ha'Emek student beekeepers and listened intently as they described their studies. He was very impressed with their achievements in the field. 

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Honey in memory of Nechama Rivlin z"l (Photo Credit: Mark Naiman - GPO)

Established in 1927 as a working farm, the WIZO Nir Ha’emek Youth Village in Afula continues to focus on agricultural technology, offering an agricultural track that prepares students for a five-point matriculation. The program has blossomed under the guidance of biology teacher Sharon Nir Inbar, who has been inspiring students with her passion for the subject since the program’s inception three years ago. "This track provides more specific opportunities for environmental learning, one of which is the unique beekeeping program," WIZO Nir Ha'Emek's Director Esti Cohen explained. 

NirHaemekBeekepersand Teacher at Presidents Residence1

Beyond being dedicated beekeepers, the Nir Ha'Emek beekeeping students are passionate about their role in spreading worldwide environmental consciousness. During their meeting with the President, a special emphasis was placed on the phenomenon of bee disappearance around the world and encouraging second and third generation beekeepers to join Israel's various agricultural industries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the disappearance of the honey bee would have catastrophic implications for human life. 87% of leading food crops worldwide rely on these pollinators in order to produce fruits or seeds.

I know I speak for my students when I say that we were truly honored to be invited to meet President Rivlin and share our passion for beekeping with him," Nir Inbar said. Beekeeping is very important because honey bees are rapidly becoming extinct all over the globe. A huge reason for this is human intervention. That’s why it’s so important to teach youth how to be part of the solution.”

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Photo Credits: Sharon Nir Inbar, Mark Naiman- GPO