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February 10, 2013February 10, 2013  0 comments  Geography

A newly renovated visitor's center at Mitzpe Ramon opened its doors a couple weeks ago, in memory of Ilan Ramon, whose shuttle exploded during the Columbia disaster, 10 years ago this month. Ramon was the first Israeli astronaut and the center tells Ramon's story alongside the story of the unique geological crater known as Mitzpe Ramon.  In planning the center, the project designers and architects trThe ideological concept guiding the projects designers focused on making a connection between the heavens and Israel and between land and space.


Ilan Ramon's story begins with his service in the Air Force, through his training with NASA and ending with the tragic crash of the Columbia shuttle on Saturday, February 1, 2003, as she made her way back to Earth after the 16 day travel through space. Ilan Ramon's son, Captain Assaf Ramon, who followed in his fathers footsteps and graduated the Air Force flying course with honors, is also commemorated within the center. He lost his life as well during a training flight. His plane crashed on Mount Hebron.


The center's location rests at the edge of the Crater right outside the Mitzpe Ramon community. The visitor center over looks the beautiful desert landscape and attracts travelers passing through the area on their way to Eilat and back or who may be visiting the city as part of rest and relaxation at one of the hotels in the area. The Crater offers many outdoor adventures including biking and hiking.


The visitor center offers numerous photos, as well as large replicated model of the Columbia shuttle. A circular elevator takes visitors to the top of the shuttle. The geogological wonders of the area are portrayed within the exhibition as well.


If you go:

The hours of operation are Sunday- Thursday 8:00-16:00
Friday 8:00-15:00
Last daily time to enter 1 hour prior to closing.

Guided tours need to be scheduled ahead of time at 08.658.8691

Entrance Fees are 27 NIS for adults and 13 NIS for children from March through May 2013.

An on site information desk offers detailed maps of hikes and trails through the Ramon Crater.


Where to stay: For those with traveling on an endless budget, try out Isrotel's newest property, Beresheet, situated on the edge of the Crater.

For those who are on a tighter budget - Isrotels' Ramon Inn is a decent property. For reservations click here.


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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the largest Christian travel site focused on connecting Christians to Israel. People can leaqrn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


April 6, 2010April 6, 2010  1 comments  Biblical Archaeology

You can't drive for five minutes in Israel without seeing a sign directing you to a "tel." Tel is Hebrew for an archaeological hill. When a civilization died off or deserted an area, the new inhabitants built their town right on top of the old one. This pattern continued over thousands of years, leaving us with an archaeological gold mine; keep digging, and you will remnants of older and older civilizations.

One of the most intriguing of these sites may not be a tel at all. Tel Arad, located west of the Dead Sea, is located near the modern-day city of Arad. "Arad" first appears in the Bible in Numbers 21, as the Israelites are ending their 40-year sojourn in the desert. The "King of Arad" hears that they are approaching and attacks them; the Israelites fight back and destroy Arad. Arad is mentioned later in Judges 1, as the place where the Kenites settled. However, some archaeologists that Tel Arad is not an authentic tel, because two separate settlements have been found at the site, rather than one atop the other.

The upper settlement was an ancient Canaanite settlement. First inhabited around 4,000 BCE, it was an important trading post, due to its strategic location at a crossroads. Much trade was conducted with Egypt, as attested to by the Egyptian pottery shards found at the site. Bitumen, a material found in abundance in the Dead Sea, was useful as a sealant for ships and storage jars, and many conjecture that it was also used in the mummification process. The bitumen brought in much business from Egypt, and Arad prospered. Remains of houses were found, all built in a similar style. A larger structure, believed to be the temple, was also discovered.

After the destruction of the Canaanite city, the area was deserted for a while. Then, during the time of Kings David and Solomon, Arad was rebuilt - not on top of the Canaanite city, but rather in the "lower city." Arad may have served as a military outpost needed to strengthen Israel's borders. Indeed, Israel faced the constant threat of incursion from nomadic tribes and from the neighboring Edom. Among the ostraca (pottery shards) found, one contains an explicit warning about an invasion from the Edomites.

The most fascinating discovery, however, is an Israelite sanctuary. It is the only known Israelite temple found outside of Jerusalem. Ostraca found at the site support the belief that this was an active temple during Israelite history - on some, names of priestly families are inscribed; on others is inscribed "the House of God." (The most ostraca ever found from the Biblical period were found in Tel Arad.) Scholars believe that during the time of the Divided Kingship, Israelites living outside of Jerusalem constructed their own place of worship. In fact, the temple is strikingly similar to the description in the Torah of the Mishkan, the tabernacle which accompanied the Israelites in the desert. And naturally, it bears a strong resemblance to the temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a sanctuary until the time of King Hezekiah. According to Torah law, it is forbidden to create other houses of worship aside from the one in Jerusalem, and during his religious reformation of the land, King Hezekiah destroyed all sanctuaries outside of Jerusalem. However, even after its destruction, it was considered a sacred place by the local population.

The Arad sanctuary was divided into three parts, again, similar to the Jerusalem temple. Within the holy of holies, the innermost section, archaeologists discovered two incense altars and two slabs of stone (called stela, or stelae in the plural). The doubling is mysterious. Are they meant to represent the masculine and feminine aspects of God? Or was one meant to serve God, and the other Ashera - in other words, a corruption of the monotheistic theology of the Israelites?

The Jewish civilization of Arad was eventually razed during the Roman conquest, in 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed the Temple and exiled the Jews. Today, the modern city of Arad entices Dead Sea tourists - high above sea level, the air is relatively cooler and many tourists spend the night there after a day of Dead Sea treatments. There are many artists and galleries in the town, and nearby is the Yattir Forest, a lush oasis in this arid region. The forest even boasts vineyards and a nearby winery.

"Tel Arad" may not be on popular "Top 10 Sites in Israel" lists, but despite lacking the glamour of Masada, the Dead Sea, the Western Wall, or the Sea of Galilee, this little tel (or not-tel, as the case may be), boasts some fascinating archaeology and a unique glimpse into the history of the people who lived here before us.


June 30, 2012June 30, 2012  0 comments  Biblical Archaeology

....And during the time of King David, the biblical boundary of Israel extended from Dan until Beersheba...(Sam II 24:2)


Just outside the perimeter of the modern city of Beersheba, stands the ancient site of Tel Sheba, the remains of a biblical administration centre/fortress dating back to the early Israelite period It is strategically situated, overlooking the confluence of the Beersheba and Hebron Stream.  The  site was excavated in the 1970's, and it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. The site containus the remains of ancient walls, with parts of the gateway and an ancient well at the entrance. Inside the fortifications, one sees the foundations of the original residences, warehouses and a general layout of the former town. Extremely interesting, and impressive, is the ancient subterranean water system which was connected to the Hebron Stream and delivered water inside the fortress via tunnels and cisterns, erstwhile concealed on the outside to invading forces. 


Ancient walled entrance to Tel Sheba

Entrance gate into Tel Beer Sheba; photo courtesy Travelujah.com


Adjacent to the tamarisk trees, beside the entry into the site, stands the replica of an altar with the 4 horns, the original having been discovered on the site. The ancient Tel Sheba is a site rich with biblical references especially associated with the wanderings of the Patriarchs - the digging of the well by Abraham and his servants, the sworn agreement with Avimelech, and confirmed by the planting of the tamarisk tree - Genesis 21:22-33; the covenant with Isaac, renewing the blessing God had made with Abraham, and sanctified by Isaac who built an altar there - Genesis 46: 1-3; and the covenant with Jacob, and the promise that God will accompany Jacob and his family down to Egypt and redeem them as a great nation Genesis 46:1-3.


One of the most significant features of the site is an ancient well that lies just outside the city gates, known as Abraham's Well, which is where, according to tradition, Abraham made the oath with Abimeleh.


Well outside gates of Tel Sheba

Ancient well outside the gates of Tel Sheba, photo courtesy Travelujah


Today, the story of Beersheba, the gateway and the modern capital of the Negev ( Israel's southern desert region), boasts a population of 250,000 citizens, of whom a large majority are students, studying at the various faculties of the Ben Gurion University, and has revived a city that belies an important historical event that took place almost a hundred years ago - October 31st, 1917. Only in recent years has the story come to light, and yet it had the most profound effect of changing the direction and redefining the boundaries of the modern Middle-East.


ancient water system tel Beersheva

Entrance to ancient water tunnel underneath Tel Sheba; photo courtesy Travelujah

The drama can be retold from the commanding location of Tel Sheba, and with a compass and maps in hand, it is possible to determine the various positions of the opposing forces. One can visualize the charge of the Australian Light-Horse Brigade, valiantly racing across the plains of Beersheba, as the late afternoon sun is wavering, and their desperate mission to capture the wells of Beersheba before dark, or otherwise face the grim prospect of retreat, returning through 2 days of blistering, waterless desert to their nearest supply source.


The failing theatre of war in Western Europe during World War I, and trapped in a bloody carnage of trench warfare, encouraged the British Command to initiate an alternative Front, by attacking the German-Turkish Alliance through the Middle-East. History books memorialize the tragic and unsuccessful Battle for Gallipoli (1915-16). Its disastrous consequences for the British, Australian and New Zealand forces led to a change of strategy, resulting in the re-deployment of forces in Egypt with the intention of advancing through Palestine. However, two disastrous battles fought by the British Palestine Expeditionary Force along the Gaza coastline, thwarted their attempt to breach the German-Turkish forces.


Subsequently a change of command, with the promotion of General Allenby, created a different quality of leadership. He employed a ruse - using propaganda, whereby the enemy was misled to incorrectly anticipate and reinforce their troops - leaving Beersheba exposed and vulnerable. In the background to this smoldering situation, Lawrence of Arabia, was creating a groundswell of rebellion amongst the Arab tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan River. There was a spy story, and a tragic love- triangle that assisted the Expeditionary Forces to find their way across the desert to Beersheba. Whilst in London, the British Parliament was promulgating the Balfour Declaration, for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, and yet simultaneously, the same British Parliament was deceptively promising part of the same territory to Emir Hussein, offering an Arab Kingdom that extended across the Arabian Peninsula to the Mediterranean Sea. Against this scenario of conniving politique, calculated duplicity and empty promises, the British and the French had conspired between themselves to divide the Middle-East and formulate their own borders - in essence, the creation of the modern Middle-East.


If we return to the events unfolding in the Battle of Beersheba, one recalls the capture of the strategic mound of Tel Sheba - by the New Zealand forces - which had militarily dominated the surrounding landscape and overlooked the plain below. This success was followed by the dramatic 6 kilometer charge of the Australian Light - Horse Brigade, across the plains towards the town of Beersheba, the last great horse-cavalry charge in history. The Australian force comprised of volunteer farmers from rural Australia - chosen because they were all good horsemen - and later, their virtues were immortalized in a poem by Banjo Paterson. The horsemen were desperate to succeed before darkness, and capture Beersheba or face forced retreat and defeat. With their bayonets waving - as they were not a regular cavalry they did not carry sabers - and with that will to decide the fate of the battle, they overran the German-Turkish positions and trenches, amongst volleys of enemy artillery and rifle-fire. They secured the wells of Beersheba and victory was theirs! As a result of this breakthrough, the way to Jerusalem was opened. Six weeks later, General Allenby entered Jerusalem and received the surrender of the city - which heralded the change into the modern Middle-East.


Tel Beersheva


Driving through the modern city of Beersheba today, we pass the Commonwealth Cemetery, where the graves of 1200 brave men recall that period of history, and whose heroism brought about the fall of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire (1530 - 1917), and led to the more favorable change of administration under the British Mandate Period (1917- 48). It seems providential that Beersheba, the site chosen by God to renew the covenant with the patriarchs of Israel, would be the place in modern history which was chosen again, and most influenced a causal chain of events resulting in the eventual creation of a State.


Touring Tel Sheba

There are no regularly scheduled bus tours that currently include Beersheba and Tel Sheba so options for touring these sites are limited to doing them on  your own by either public transportation or car rental, or by hiring the services of a private guide for a day.  Beersheba is approximately a 70 minute  car ride from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and both cities offer regularly scheduled bus service to Beersheva, as follows.

From Tel Aviv: Take line 380 from Arlozorov Terminal, or line 370 from Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. The trip takes about 1.5 hours.

From Jerusalem: From central bus station - line 470; line 446, approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Train service runs hourly from Tel Aviv to Beersheva


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Graeme Stone is a licensed Israeli tour guide and contributing expert on Travelujah.  People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah. He can be reached at grums@bezeqint.net.il.







February 8, 2010February 8, 2010  0 comments  Historical Sites

The wilderness of Zin, probably one of the most beautiful and peaceful locales in Israel,  yet few pilgrims or other tourists ever venture there.

Sure, its a bit out of the way. Most Christian tourists traditionally know of the Galilee (including Nazareth) and Jerusalem. and yes, most of us have heard of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. But with only 7 or 10 days generally dedicated for traveling in the Holy Land, often the desert experience just doesn't make the cut.

But it should. True, perhaps Jesus did not cross the valley of Zin -but our forefathers did and it is mentioned at length in the Old Testament. The Zin desert  is the  Biblical desert from which the 12 spies were sent by Moses to tour the promise land.  The Zin River marks the historical border of Israel in biblical times. ( Joshua 15 2:3 ) 2. And their south border was from the Dead Sea,  3 And it went southward. to the ascent of Akrabbim, and passed along to Desert Zin, and went up to Kadesh-barnea, So to really gain an understanding of our roots and desert  life,  one needs only to venture one hour south of Jerusalem to gain  a visual perspective of our biblical heritage. The Negev desert is a must.

The wilderness is ripe with biblical sites, ranging from the Nabatean communities of Shivta, Nitzana, and Mamsheet, all of which offer amazing evidence of ancient Nabatean life as well as evidence of early Christian community formation. Tel Arad and Tel Beersheva are likewise extraordinary. And of course, there is Avdat and the valley of Ein Avdat, which is part of the valley of Zin. For those looking for a quite respite within the vast outback of the Negev desert, hiking amongst the eroded canyons set between the mountain tops, scaling the ridges of these desert hills of Zin and discovering abundant waterfalls amongst the dry pink and yellow tones of the desert, nothing surpasses this extraordinary region.

Flowers blooming in the Negev

Just a few weeks ago, Israel's Negev desert received unusually hard rains and the dry valleys became overrun by mass floods. With springtime almost here the flowers are beginning to bloom and the Negev desert, particularly this year, is extraordinarily colorful and vibrant. We are now in the heart of "Drom Adom" - the "Red South" an annual festival that celebrates the flowering of the south. But this year promises to be exceptional. The event takes place annually in the north western part of the Negev during the month of February, when the anemones blossom and attracts thousands of blossoming enthusiasts. They come to observe the magnificent carpets of anemones which grow in the area's fields at the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring. Festival activities include hikes, events and other programs for the entire family. The guided hikes take place on Fridays and Saturdays, for a cost of 10 NIS per participant. In addition, there are bike tours around Kibbutz Be'eri and Kibbutz Ruhama, with an option to rent a bicycle on site.

If you are already traveling south, another can't miss stop in the Negev is Sde Boker,  a kibbutz located approximately 45 minutes south of Beersheva. The kibbutz was the home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. A modest field school complete with rooms for six people offers lodging and meals to groups and individuals. A small grocery is also available for essential purchases while the kibbutz dining hall provides necessary meals. But the kibbutz's main attraction is the small home of the former Prime Minister which has been transformed into a museum. Nearby is the grave site which sits in a peaceful outdoor courtyard overlooking the tremendous Zin Valley. Numerous hikes abound in the area, two of which we hiked on our last visit there. Nahal Avdat (known as Ein Avdat) and Nahal Zin. Nahal Avdat is an exciting 1 hour walk that took us through dry and wet riverbed then up and out of the canyon. Metal steps and handrails had been carefully drilled into the bedrock walls at strategic points allowing us to properly place our hands and feet on the steep climb up and out of the canyon. Nahal Zin was a bit more challenging offering a steep descent into the canyon as well as careful walking along the connecting mountain ridges. Both valleys were important trade routes in ancient times.

Ein Avodat charges a small fee to enter (approximately $5 per person) and is open daily from 8 to 4 during the winter, 8 to 5 during the summr and is managed by Israel's Park Service. Nahal Zin is freely accessed and there is no entrance fee.

Don't limit your next trip here to just Jerusalem or the Galilee. Take a day and experience the desert. From bedouin encampments, to great hiking, ancient fortresses, and much more, Israel's largely unpopulated Negev desert is rich in history and rich in adventure.

February 24, 2013February 24, 2013  0 comments  Tourism

The unexpected beauty of the Negev offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a 2-day getaway. Promising a myriad of biblical archaeological sites, hiking trails, Bedouin hospitality and even some delightful boutique wineries, the Negev desert is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy it all!

Tel Beersheba

And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of the well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. (Genesis 21:25) …Wherefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there they swore  both of them (Genesis 21:31)

How did Abraham achieve greatness? As the Bible tells us, he knew where to dig wells. He could access water, even in the desert! Drive just a few minutes east of the modern city of Beersheba, named for the oath sworn by Abraham and Abimelech 3,000 years ago, and you’ll see how the search for fresh water has shaped Negev life for thousands of years.  Man could only settle in places where he could find water for himself and his flocks. Tel Beersheba was such a place. With remains dating back to the Chalcolithic era, you can see how successive civilizations settled there, where the Hebron and Beersheba Streams merge. Climb down a 200-foot-deep ancient cistern that dates back to the time of King Hezekiah in the 8th century BCE.  It’s the largest one ever found in the Negev!  Don’t miss the hewn-stone alter.  Its design, in violation of the Lord’s commandment that altars be built of undressed stone, proved that King Hezekiah faced great challenges when he embarked on a course of religious reforms. When you visit the remains of the residential settlement, marvel that some of these homes were built almost a 1,000 years before King Hezekiah ruled!  This has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and as you survey the remains from the lookout tower, it’s easy to understand why.

Tel Beersheva Travelujah 

Tel Beersheva, photo courtesy Travelujah- Holy Land tours

Once you’re back in your car, follow the signs to Route 40 south. As you head south, notice the impressive chalk plateaus as well as the tamarisk trees that dot the landscape. These are just like the tamarisk trees that Abraham planted in Beersheba when he made the oath to Abimelech promising that he would deal honestly with him.

In less than an hour, you will find yourself at Kibbutz Sde Boker, home to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.  Just past the kibbutz is the Ben Gurion Institute.  Follow the palm tree-lined access road into the institute where you’ll find a cafeteria that offers a variety of food at moderate prices.

Take a moment and visit Ben Gurion’s grave. As you near the end of the short walk from the parking area to his final resting place, you will be overwhelmed as you look out over the expansive breaks in the rock that form the Zin Valley. The majestic view, striking in its stark beauty, was a constant source of inspiration to the country’s first prime minister who worked the earth with his own hands to make the desert bloom.

Tel Beersheva Travelujah     Tel Beersheva Travelujah

Tel Beersheva, photo courtesy Travelujah-Holy Land tours

Would you believe grapevines grow in the Negev? See for yourself at the Sde Boker Winery located in Kibbutz Sde Boker. Zvi Remak was born in the U.S. and he is delighted to introduce visitors to desert wine.  He’ll be thrilled to pour you a glass!  Why not buy a bottle so that your designated driver can enjoy a glass at the end of the day! Imagine opening a bottle while you watch the mountains reflect the purple and pink hews of the setting sun!

For nature lovers, a short drive south from Sde Boker is the Ein Avdat National Park , where you’ll have the unique opportunity of walking in a desert canyon. The path winds its way along a spring-fed stream through magnificent chalk cliffs. Look out and see ibex grazing as they gracefully navigate the rocky cliffs.  If you’re lucky, you may be able to see eagles nesting on the cliffs. While there is a path that is designed for experienced hikes which involves ascending a large set of stone steps, there is an equally breathtaking circular route for novice hikes that is relatively flat and can be complete in an hour. If ancient culture is what you are after, don’t miss the striking ancient Nabatean fortress of Avdat, a UNESCO world heritage site situated along the ancient Nabatean spice route.

And now for a night like no other! A trip to the Negev would not be complete without unparalleled Bedouin hospitality. A few minutes from Ein Avdat you’ll find Khan Chan Hashayarot offers five Bedouin tents of various sizes to provide you with an idyllic Bedouin experience.  Whether you are traveling on your own and looking to meet other lone travelers, or with your family, you’ll find a tent that is perfect for you. The tents, decorated with colorful mats, are made of goat wool and provide warmth during the cool desert nights.  Step outside the tent and view a sky blanketed with stars. Far from city lights, you’ll be able to easily spot Orion, Ursa Major along with a host of other stars and constellations you had only read about. If you want to spend a night in the desert but aren’t ready for the tent experience, Chan Hashayarot has furnished cabins as well.


Kfar Anokdim meal

After a deliciously restful night, wake up to a full Bedouin breakfast including Bedouin coffee served with array of homemade breads, cheese and puddings colorfully displayed on a balcony overlooking the desert.

The Khan will arrange special camel tours and other outdoor adventures for you if you wish.

Day 2

Drive south on Route 40 to Mitzpeh Ramon, home of Israel’s largest crater, or machtesh. This machtesh was not created from a meteor collision but from an unusual geological process where erosion caused the collapse of heavy limestone that covered the softer sandstone underneath. There are only six in the world and three of them are here in Israel.  As you stand at the Machtesh Ramon Lookout you’ll have a chance to view the length and breadth of Israel’s largest machtesh!  It’s 25 miles long, between 1 and 10 miles wide and over 1,600 feet deep!  Situated on the machtesh’s northern edge, it’s the perfect spot for viewing the various geological features.  Look out at the nearby Givat Gaash (Volcanic Hill), a basalt-covered hill resulting from a pre-historic volcanic eruption.  Look south to the tabletop mountains of Mount Ardon and Mount Arpek.  Don’t be surprised if some ibex wander past you as you explore! The new Ilan Ramon visitor center overlooking the crater is a must see as well.

Mitzpe Ramon Travelujah Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center

But, for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, either hike down into the machtesh itself or enjoy a jeep ride to the crater’s bottom, or get a local private biking guide, rent bikes and ride inside the crater.  The hike is 4-5 hours so this is only appropriate for very experienced hikers.  Bring lots of water with you as the trail is not shaded.  If you choose the jeep option, you’ll all enjoy all of the natural beauty without breaking a sweat.  Drive to the middle and see the “carpentry” shop.  These “wooden” planks are actually ancient geological prisms.  Or drive along the northern wall and see the ammonite fossils; large snail remains that indicate that this desert was once covered by water.  But even if you decide to just enjoy the vast beauty from the observation point, enjoying the yellow and pinks of the surrounding sandstone mountains, you will enjoy an unforgettable morning!

For some manmade fun! Drive five minutes from the Machtesh Ramon Lookout to Desert Archery World and giggle your way through a desert archery course designed for the whole family.  The rubber-tipped arrows are safe and the various sizes of bows mean that even children as young as nine can join in the fun!  Traveling with younger children? Visit the nearby Alpaca Farm where you and your children can hand feed the alpacas and 400 llamas. You can even try weaving in the wool house and learn about the process of shearing the animals.

Grab fast food in the town of Mitzpeh Ramon  and head back on Route 40, past Sde Boker and turn left a Mashavim Junction onto Route 222. You’ll arrive at Khirbet Halutza a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was part of the ancient Nabatean Spice Route and served as a way station for Nabatean traders traveling between Gaza and Jordan.  The Nabateans were a nomadic people who came to Israel almost 400 years before Jesus and existed here until the 7th century. These expert desert farmers ultimately converted to Christianity not long after Constantine made it the official religion of the Roman Empire and, eventually, this became the most important city in the Negev.  You can see remains of the Byzantine church basilica as well as remains of the only known Roman style theater in the Negev.

Continue on route 222 and then turn left onto route 232.  If you’re traveling during the winter months, look for the beautiful red anemones and purple irises that can be found along the way. Follow signs to the town of Talmei Yosef for the final stop on your two-day Negev getaway.

Learn how Israel has made the desert bloom and join agronomist Uri Alon at the Salad Farm for a tour where you’ll not only learn about desert agriculture, you also have a chance to eat fruit right off of the vine.  From strawberries to peppers to tomatoes, you’ll learn about the latest advances in greenhouse technology, while enjoying some of the most mouthwatering fruits and vegetables imaginable.  Savor the taste of pita baked before your eyes and then served with fresh olive oil and hyssop while you watch homing pigeons carry out their jobs.  Then see if you can navigate your way through a passion fruit maze. Eating your fruits and vegetables was never this much fun!

After a few hours at the Salad Farm, it will be time to leave your Negev getaway, but don’t despair. As you traverse the Negev landscape, you’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent colors as the setting sun reflects its brilliant color off the Negev’s sandstone mountain.

If you go:


Onnie Schiffmiller is a licensed tour guide and contributes regularly to Travelujah-Holy Land Tours.


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