Negev Desert Trip
The Negev Desert makes up roughly half of the country of Israel. A Negev Desert Trip is essential to understanding the country. That’s a lot of desert. It is a beautiful, picturesque region of the country filled with
- and nature.
In our Negev Desert trip, we will go to the many corners of the desert to learn more and begin to understand the area a little better. Together we will explore the awe- inspiring desert together!
Be’er Sheva is the major of city within the Negev Desert. It is tied as the fifth largest city in the city (tied with Ashdod). Ber Sheva has played an important role throughout history, beginning with Abraham! It was in Ber Sheva that:
- Abraham planted a tree when peace was made between him and King Abimelech,
- A trading post and storage space in the Bronze Age,
- A post office and educational center in the Ottoman Period,
- The point where the British beat the Ottomans and made their empire fall,
- and Israel’s gate into the Negev Desert.
However, we are are going to focus the beginning our day on Be’er Sheva from the Ottoman Period. We will walk through a city serving as a postal station for the Ottoman Powers and the school for the sheikhs’ children, and begin to understand Be’er Sheva’s importance.
Tel Sheva is considered to be an ancient site of Be’er Sheva. There are so many remains here we can really see history come to life. Tel Sheva was an administrative center for the southern part of Israel from the 1st Temple Period!
What we see are the remains of:
- a water source,
- the gates of the city and its chambers,
- the space for the market,
- the said well of Abraham the Patriarch!
- and more
All of it tells the story of the capital of the Negev in ancient times. It gives us a picture of a site that is much more important than it gets credit for.
Tel Arad is an incredible site that portrays life from several periods! It is one of the best kept sites in the country, and together we will explore:
- both the Canaanite city that served as a trading post and home to a farming community,
- and the Israelite fortress, which served as a border station for the Israelite powers.
We have remains and sources from the Torah to pottery shards. What is truly amazing is that we can see the modern city of Arad from the Israelite fortress, connecting Biblical city to modern one.
We will continue our Negev trip to Masada, one of the most well- known places in the country- the last major hold out of the Jewish fighters in the Great Revolt against Rome! Beforehand it was a the location of one of Kind Herod’s palace fortresses, which lead to the Jewish fighters being able to hold out as long as they did- until 70 CE.
We will see:
- the palace of King Herod,
- Herod’s bathhouse
- the synagogue of the Zealots,
- the mikve,
- and explore the story and the values held so dear by the fighters against Rome.
We will really understand why the story is so important to us and the Zionist movement.
We will then visit the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.
It has an incredibly high salt level allowing swimmers to float in the water (33%)!
The mud is so rich in minerals that putting it on your skin will make it as smooth as ever!
Before having some to float in the water and put on some mud, we will talk about how the Dead Sea works, how the State of Israel uses it, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of such actions. We will also have time to have lunch here as well.
Stay at Ein Bokek
We will then drive our hotel in Ein Bokek for check in, some down time, dinner, and finish first day of our Negev Desert trip.
We will begin our day of the Negev Desert trip at Revevim! Revivim is one of several towns established in the Negev before the creation of the modern State of Israel. When the Jewish leadership understood that the UN would divide the land based demographics, they went to the south and built new towns and kibbutzim. It is truly amazing how the founders came from an environment very different than the Negev Desert and made a brown, dry land into a green, flourishing town! Even the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine (who came in 1946-1947) was shocked to see the flowers here were real! We will tour the early beginnings of Revivim, and see a modern interaction between people and the Negev.
We will then head southward to Sde Boker, the second home and burial place of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, truly believed in the rejuvenation of the Negev. In fact, he wrote about and advocated for it frequently.
While we are there, we will:
- visit his home
- visit his (and his wife’s) burial,
- and explore Ben Gurion’s policy toward the Negev.
Sde Boker is an incredibly important place to discover. We will then stop for lunch before continuing our day.
After eating lunch, we will begin a hike at Ein Avdat, close by to Sde Boker. While on the hike, we will see what Ben Gurion truly loved about the Negev Desert. Along the hike, we will:
- explore the geology of the Negev, which is truly spectacular.
- see how Ben Gurion’s dreams came true,
- and have an inside look at the Negev.
Makhtesh Ramon will be our last stop of the second day of our Negev Desert Trip. What is a ‘makhtesh’? It is often translated into English as crater, however, that’s not completely accurate. It is a geological phenomena all of its own. What happens? There is a softer layer of rock, such as chalk, underneath a harder layer of rock, like limestone. When the harder rock cracks, rain water reaches that softer layer. It is then carried away by water, forcing the first layer to collapse into the empty space. It thereby creates the makhtesh.
We are going to hike through the makhtesh, see different aspects of it, and see yet another corner of the Negev.
Drive Kibbutz Lotan
We will then drive to the hotel of Kibbutz Lotan, a unique kibbutz in the south, for check in and dinner.
Tour of Kibbutz Lotan
Before leaving Kibbutz Lotan, we will begin the last day of our Negev Desert Trip with a tour of the Kibbutz and see for ourselves what makes this Kibbutz unlike any other. What is that exactly? Kibbutz Lotan is known for its recycling, and environmental protection involvement. Much of the insulation of the housing is made up of old, unusable tires. The Kibbutz uses solar power throughout the property. On the tour, we will uncover why and how they do this, and what they’re doing to spread this kind of work.
Yotvata is another kibbutz in the south, near the city of Eilat. But what is special about this kibbutz are the dairy products they make. They are known throughout the country, especially their fruit shakes.They have even established restaurants in places like Tel Aviv. We will tour the kibbutz in order to see what a kibbutz looks life, and eat some of it’s famous dairy at the Kibbutz store.
Before heading to Eilat, we will stop at Timna Park, an archeological park. Timna is the world’s first, and thereby oldest, copper mine. It was from the time of Egypt’s first control over the land. This place is a huge archeological park, with all sorts of geological phenomenon. We will explore the remains and see what the ancient Egyptians left behind. It is a truly miraculous site to see the archeology of humans from THOUSANDS of years ago, even from before Abraham the Patriarch!
We will end the day, and our Negev Desert trip, in Eilat, a very modern city in an ancient region. We will:
- visit a monument remembering what happened in Eilat at the end of Israel’s War of Independence,
- have time for dinner,
- and a walk along the city’s promenade.
Through this great trip, I aim to show the wonders and beauties of the Negev Desert. And I am super excited to go on this trip with you!