Kadesh Barnea (Nitzanei Sinai) is a secular moshav situated on the Israeli-Egyptian border, near the Nitzana border crossing.
The moshav was established in 1977 by discharged soldiers who put up camp on a hill near ancient Tel Nitzana. Before the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula following the peace agreement with Egypt, the place was named after the Biblical town Kadesh Barnea, on whose remains the new settlement had been built. After Sinai was evacuated, the settlement was temporarily relocated to Nitzana and only in 1986 did it move to its present location. The governmental naming commission decided to call it Nitzanei Sinai due to its proximity to Sinai, but the residents still adhere to its original name – Kadesh Barnea – so the village still bears both names.
Nitzanei Sinai residents have a community that preserves agricultural values of the ancient desert. The first settlers began to engage in agriculture and roadside services (gas station and diner) and over the years developed tomato and herb crops, beehives, jam production plant and a vineyard combined with a winery that produces the “Kadesh Barnea” brand wines. Other residents make their living by teaching Hebrew at Ulpan Nitzana and engaging in different types of work on the village premises, as well as in regional schools and the Nitzana border crossing.
The magical desert scenery alongside the tremendous development initiative in recent years, thanks to government and regional council support, has turned Kadesh Barnea into a growing village and strengthened the members’ sense of belonging to this unique community. A community united behind realization of local potential, the vision of Zionist settlement and strong borders and the desire to live in a high-quality, peaceful location that recognizes the value of “togetherness” while respecting the residents’ individual privacy.
Today, Kadesh Barnea is the largest settlement in Pitchat Nitzana. Its community is home to over 40 families that enjoy a large service infrastructure which includes a minimarket, swimming pool, playground and synagogue, along with a local nursery school for pre-school children and regional schools for elementary and high school children. The moshav has a B’nai Hamoshavim youth movement chapter, and the residents, both children and adults, take part in a variety of cultural, enrichment and recreational activities provided by the local community center.
The moshav continues to grow. Nitzanei Sinai offers opportunities for private business ventures in agriculture, tourism and other fields. Families that join the moshav reside, at first, in local temporary housing while overseeing construction of their permanent residence.