Israeli Science High School Advances Bedouin Community

When Fatma Abu Jafar and her fellow students at the AHD School for Science in the Negev heard that Israeli President Shimon Peres would visit their school this past spring, Fatma says she and her friends were doubtful he would show up.

That President Peres did in fact make the visit to recognize the school’s excellence shows how far this school has come in the three short years it has served students in the Bedouin community in the southern part of Israel, one of the country’s poorest regions.

AHD School for Science, located in Shoket Junction, was helped in its development by UJA-Federation of New York. Come this September, the school will have 380 students in grades nine through twelve from Bedouin Arab towns and villages.

President Shimon Peres receives notebook of student remarks at the AHD High School for Science in the Negev. President Shimon Peres receives notebook of student remarks at the AHD High School for Science in the Negev. From left, school principal Dr. Salem Al Sana; Dr. Stephen Shapiro, chair of International Advisory Committee and lay leader at UJA-Federation of New York; Jihad El-Sana, Chair of AHD Association; Peres; Dr. Mohammed Alnabari, Mayor of Hura.

“We are supporting the school because it can help develop the immense potential of the Bedouin community, a vibrant segment of Israeli society,” says Stephen D. Shapiro, a lay leader of UJA-Federation. “The school is an extraordinary community development effort that has as an ultimate goal the full participation of its students in Israel’s high tech society.”

Shapiro, chair of the Commission on the Jewish People’s Community