Fortified playground testifies to success of Negev revitalization efforts

Every child deserves the opportunity to experience the euphoria of exploring a playground, whether they prefer slides or swings, climbing or jumping, or just running around until they need a pause. However, in Israel’s Gaza Envelope, recreation at an outdoor playground can be interrupted by rocket sirens, forcing children and parents to seek refuge in the nearest shelter. With less than 15 seconds to find shelter, playing outside, which kids around the world take for granted, isn’t always possible. Fortunately, Israel’s first playground is also bombproof!

Children enjoy the indoor playground in Sderot

Supported by Jewish National Fund-USAthe Sderot Indoor Recreation Center is one of the finest and most demanded recreation facilities in Israel, not only in Sderot but in the whole country. More importantly, it doubles as a bomb shelter, giving kids a completely safe environment while still allowing them to experience all the excitement of a playground. Boasting, among other things, a state-of-the-art playground, jungle gym, baby jamboree, mini-soccer pitch, table tennis tables, several party rooms private, the recreation center has everything kids love and more.

Recently, Jewish National Fund-USA made additional philanthropic investments in the recreation center with upgrades including: new playground toys and equipment, addition of a second level to the baby jamboree, and installation of an “iJump” trampoline . The upgrades were an immediate success and the center’s popularity skyrocketed with queues almost every day.

Children enjoy the indoor playground in Sderot

In fact, last summer the Recreation Center faced an enviable problem: too many people want to play. The season saw an average of over 300 people at the Center per day, and some people were even turned away for lack of space. The management used several methods to ensure a fair distribution among the families so that no one felt left out. Naturally, however, the Jewish National Fund-USA also sees this as an opportunity to invest in expanding and improving the playground, so that more children can enjoy all the amenities the recreation center has. to offer.

“The indoor recreation center in Sderot has truly become a jewel of the Negev,” said Gaza Envelope Task Force chairwoman Betsy Fischer. “Our recent investments in improvements have proven extremely successful, and the playground’s popularity is a heartening sign that residents of the Gaza envelope are living their lives to the fullest despite the region’s challenges. As we continue to invest even more in this massive venture, we know this desert oasis will provide a safe and exciting place for children and their families to play for years to come.

The Sderot Indoor Recreation Center is part of the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Operation Blueprint Negevwhich aims to bring 500,000 new residents to the Negev by improving the quality of life in the region, from housing and employment programs to medical and recreational facilities.

Click on here to learn more about the community development efforts of the Jewish National Fund-USA.

Harold B. McConnell