Merchav Am, founded in 2001, was the first religious village built in the Ramat HaNegev region. Over 80 families live in Merchav Am, and with 270 children the young town is counted among the ten fastest growing communities in Israel. The community will eventually be home to 500 families.
Merchav Am was named in honor of Rechavam Ze'evi, an Israeli parliament minister who was murdered by terrorists and laid to rest on the day the road to the new community was opened. The community likens itself to an old-fashioned kibbutz; community members actively volunteer, and a communal atmosphere is very important to them. Residents point out that they live in “the middle of nowhere, at the end of the desert. The only reason for someone to move here is because they truly want to live here.”
About Merchav Am
Location: Between Sde Boker and Yeruham, 40 minute drive from Be’er Sheva
Character: Religious mix
Population: 80 families
Category: Community town
About: Merhav is the first modern orthodox community in Ramat Negev and the whole Negev.
On a hill between Yeruham and Sde Boker, next to rocky hills, it holds a population of about 80 families, with over 270 children. The community was named after the great spaces at its side, and in honor of Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, who was buried on the day he began development work in the community. The establishment of the community was initiated by OR Movement, in collaboration with the Settlement Division, and the Ramat Negev Regional Council.
The Merchav Am community includes olim (immigrants) from all over the world, including Germany, Brazil, Ethiopia, Russia, USA, France, Belgium, Argentina, and India just to name a few. A large number of members are career military/military police officers. A number of small, local businesses run out of the community, which is home to artists, singers, woodworkers and handymen.
Foundation: Merhav Am was founded in November of 2011, with a pioneering group consisting of five families and a single, all who came to live in the magical desert landscape. A month after their impressive community inauguration ceremony was held under the auspices of the Ramat Negev Regional Council, and attended by the Prime Minister, heads of yeshivot, and many guests, a Torah scroll was completed. Today, as mentioned, over 80 families live in the community, with a planned expansion in the coming years to 500 families.
Community Vision: Merchav Am is cohesive and diverse community built on a foundation of mutual respect and helping others through a life of Torah, and striving for integration amongst the surrounding kibbutzim, towns and cities.
The community is involved in, and sees itself as a partner in building Israel in its land. Merhav Am also recognizes the importance of eco-awareness and a sustainable integration.