About 200 cyclists from around the world are participating in the 16th annual “Israel Ride” bike journey, which kicked off Wednesday morning near Beitar Ilit.

The week-long bike ride and fundraising event is aimed at raising money for the two organizations Hazon, which works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community and world, in addition to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an environmental teaching and research program based in southern Israel.

The week-long ride includes orientation, five cycling days and a day off for Shabbat.

Riders will start cycling in the south of Israel—from the area close to Israel’s border with Gaza, through the Negev Desert and the Ramon Crater, and ending in Eilat near the Red Sea.

Open to all ages, the event offers different routing options for recreational riders and experienced cyclists. All enjoy stocked rest stops, and expert tour guides and educators.

In May 2003, the first Israel Ride attracted 34 riders and raised more than $50,000. The organization has a goal of raising at least $5 million for the charity organizations this year.

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