|Region||Southern coastal plain|
Nitzan (Hebrew: ניצן, lit. Flower bud) is a religiously observant communal settlement in southern Israel. Located among the Nitzanim sand dunes north of Ashkelon, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. In 2007 it had a population of 3,000. The town has a large concentration of Bnei Menashe (10 -20% of the Nitzan population), from the India/Myanmar Border Region of India.
The first settlement on Nitzan's current grounds was the kibbutz of Nitzanim in 1943. The kibbutz was established after the Jewish National Fund purchased a 400-acre (1.6 km2) plot of land and a large house known as the "mansion" in 1942. The first residents were immigrants, some of whom were Holocaust survivors. It later absorbed more immigrants from Poland and Romania. The kibbutz was conquered by Egypt during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, but recaptured by Israel towards the end of the conflict. However, the kibbutz was re-established four miles to the south. In 2006 the kibutz had a population of 343.
By 1995 Nitzan had a population of 105. It experienced rapid expansion in the mid-2000s after being selected to temporarily house a large group of families evacuated from Gush Katif as part of disengagement plan. 500 temporary caravillas were constructed on the eastern end of Nitzan (an area which became known as Nitzan Bet), and 250 more were ordered by the Israeli Government. According to government plans, a school and sports area will eventually be constructed.
Several environmental organisations objected to the new construction, which increased Nitzan's area by four-and-a-half times, fearing damage to the fragile sand dune ecosystem. The neighbourhood has also been the target of criticism from the settlers, as well as Israeli human-rights groups, citing a lack of adequate housing and facilities. They argue that governmental negligence resulted in a housing shortage which forced large families to separate into multiple caravillas, and that basic infrastructure like a youth area, nursery, and synagogue were absent.
On July 12, 2012, the organization United With Israel planned to deliver bomb shelters to the residents of Nitzan. It has become a major event for the residents of Nitzan, whose children needed kindergarten bomb shelters. The event would include children painting the shelters with murals, supervised by a professional mural artist.
Nitzanim Youth Village
Nitzanim Youth Village (Hebrew: כפר הנוער ניצנים, Kfar HaNoar Nitzanim) was a youth village in southern Israel. Located in the Nitzanim dunes, it fell under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
The village was founded in 1949 on the original site of kibbutz Nitzanim, which had moved to a new site four kilometres south following its recapture from the Egyptian army by Israeli forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (See also: Battle of Nitzanim). The village closed in 1990.
A boarding school was opened on the site in the 1990s, and at the end of the 1990s the religious communal settlement of Nitzan was founded on its land.
- Women of Valor Center - Nitzanim Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage sites
- First families move to Nitzan homes; others opt for tents Haaretz, 1 August 2005
- Nature Society asks Mazuz to halt Nitzan construction Haaretz, 16 May 2005