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JEWISH Eilat-Mitzpe Ramon Region

Jewish city story of Eilat-Mitzpe Ramon Region

The south of Israel, between Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat, is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Middle East. Just a five or six hour drive south of Jerusalem’s rolling hills and Tel Aviv’s white sandy beaches is a whole other world of red desert. The entire landscape that you see on the drive south was at one time completely submerged under the ocean. Over time this area of land dried out leaving behind interesting and whimsical rock formations, caverns, and caves. Aside from the beautiful geography this happens to have been one of the more frequently populated areas in the history of the Levant. Some of Israel’s most complex and intricate archaeological sites and artifacts have been uncovered in the desert. It is also the birthplace of the kibbutz movement, and many of these communities are still hosting families today.

Eilat, Israel's Most Southern City...

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אתרים מומלצים Sites to see

Sites

Sde Boker

Sde Boker is a kibbutz in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Best known as the retirement home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ramat HaNegev Regional Council. A large agricultural farm or small village existed here in the early Islamic period, from the late 7th century to the early 9th century. Remains of dozens of structures exist, including a mosque near which hundreds of Arabic inscriptions were found. The modern kibbutz was established on May, 15 1952 and 1953, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion resigned from office and moved to the kibbutz. Although he returned to politics in 1955, he continued to live in the kibbutz until his death in 1973, when he was buried nearby at Midreshet Ben-Gurion alongside his wife Paula Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion moved to the kibbutz inspired by his vision of cultivating the Negev desert and building up its surrounding towns such as Yeruham and Dimona. He believed that eventually the Negev would be home to many Jews who would move to Israel, and he felt that Sde Boker was a trailblazer and example for what should follow. His home was later turned into a museum. In his official writings Ben-Gurion often mused about his efforts at rejuvenating the Negev: "The desert provides us with the best opportunity to begin again. This is a vital element of our renaissance in Israel. For it is in mastering nature that man learns to control himself. It is in this sense, more practical than mystic, that I define our Redemption on this land. Israel must continue to cultivate its nationality and to represent the Jewish people without renouncing its glorious past. It must earn this—which is no small task—a right that can only be acquired in the desert."

Sites

Mitzpe Ramon

Mitzpe Ramon was founded in 1951 as a camp for the workers building Highway 40. The town's first permanent residents, several young families from Kibbutz Re'im and other parts of Israel began settling there in 1956. After five years, the town was home to 370 residents including 160 children, most of them veteran Israelis. There were also 180 housing units to absorb new immigrants. They were joined by immigrants from North Africa, Romania, and India in the 1960s, and it became the southernmost of the Negev's development towns. Conditions in the early years were harsh, with limited food supplies and practically no modern-day amenities. Ice blocks and provisions were delivered once a week by a supply truck. There was a single school with one classroom for all ages. The homes of the first settlers were prefabricated asbestos barracks. Later, rows of small attached stone houses were built and after that, apartment buildings, beginning in the early 1960s. In 1972, Mitzpe Ramon had a population of about 1,400 people living in 300 households. The town further grew after Ramon Airbase was completed in 1982. In 1988, the town had a population of about 3,000, and it experienced more significant population growth when it absorbed Soviet immigrants during the 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah. The development of Mitzpe Ramon was adversely affected by the opening of Route 90 in the late 1960s. After the inauguration of this highway, traffic to and from Eilat bypassed Mitzpe Ramon almost entirely. However, growing interest in ecotourism, Jeep trekking (access to Nabatean ruins), mountain biking and hiking, stargazing and the upgrading of Route 40, which is considered a more scenic route to Eilat, have improved the economy. Jerusalem Marble, one of a few major suppliers and overseas exporters of Jerusalem stone (established in 1923), inaugurated a state-of-the-art factory in Mitzpe Ramon in January 2000. Jerusalem Stone is exported globally. Mitzpe Ramon has six hotels and dozens of bed and breakfast establishments. In 2011, the Isrotel hotel chain opened a luxury hotel, the Beresheet Hotel, in Mitzpe Ramon. The Tourism Ministry allocated NIS 9.5 million for infrastructure development in Mitzpe Ramon, and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee financed the construction of a landing strip for light aircraft. In December 2013, plans were proposed for a Las Vegas-style Casino in the town. The Mitzpe Ramon Jazz Club hosts musical ensembles on the weekend. On weekdays, it operates as a music school. 'Me'ever', a unique hostel and event space, located in the artist quarter of Mitzpe Ramon, designated to connect between creative people and interesting ideas.

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Tours of Eilat-Mitzpe Ramon Region

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מסעדות בסגנון יהודי JEWISH STYLE RESTAURANTS

Restaurants

Pundak Neot Smadar

Pundak Neot Semadar is a restaurant, cafe and a shop that carries all of our local organic products grown and made in the Kibbutz. It sits on the road leading from Mitzpeh Ramon to Eilat (Rt.40), in a shaded green oasis surrounded by the desert. It is a good point for a stop on the long road for snack and refreshment. Here we serve light vegetarian meals, combining cheeses and juices produced and grown on the organic farm of the kibbutz, along with good coffee, homemade cakes, and ice cream. A choice of Neot Semadar’s organic products are sold here: wine, olive oil, pickled olives, juices, jams and dried fruit. These are all produced from fruit grown in the pollution-free desert environment and processed in small plants, paying careful attention to organic ingredients and given a homemade touch. We offer several kinds of cheese and yogurts made from fresh goat milk. Pasture twice a day in addition to organic food and good care contributes to the quality of the milk and cheese.You are invited to stop and relax here, and enjoy a good meal at the Pundak. You may sit inside the rustically decorated dining area, air-conditioned in summer, or outside in the shaded garden aside a small pool. From here you may continue for a visit at Neot semadar itself, on the self guided tour. Here you can view the large oasis where the food is grown and processed, and visit the Arts Center which is an unusual monument in terms of architecture and desert climate building. Inside you’ll visit the workshops and gift shop selling artworks made by the members of the kibbutz. One of the members will guide you in this tour and you’ll hear about this unusual community first hand.

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מדריכים בעיר CITY GUIDES

Guides

Ron Harari

Ron is a fully qualified Tour Guide & driver guide, and specialize in private, tailor-made escorted tours for discerning visitors. He provides a comfortable and spacious people carrier which is air-conditioned and seats up to seven passengers but can organize tours for larger groups if required. Ron passed the Advanced Driving Test during my army service, a qualification which is proof of excellence in driving. Ron's aim is to combine an intimate knowledge of the best places to visit with extensive knowledge of the history and heritage of Israel. But he is also keen to tailor the tour to suit your interests around the time you have available. Should this involve heading away from the beaten track and introducing you to the wide open spaces of our beautiful country, so much the better! Ron can do half-day, full day and extended tours in Israel, Jordan, Sinai & Egypt and can arrange accommodation. He will also introduce you to some wonderful restaurants and bars where you can sample our fabulous Israeli fare! Based in the most southern town, Eilat, with easy and fast access to both Petra – Jordan & Sinai Egypt, Ron can meet visitors on their arrival at Ben Gurion or Ovda airport, Taba or Itzhak Rabin land crossing. Run is a qualified tour guide, it is his personal love and knowledge for his native Israel that makes Ron-the-Guide unique.Ron is also a keen hiker and loves introducing people to the mountains and trails of the Negev Desert where they can enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this amazing landscape. We will thrill you with stories of the colorful history, the legends and the magic of Israel in all its moods. We will show you stunning scenery from the green and wonderful Haifa, Galilee & Golan heights, historic Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Caesarea, down to southern Israel, the Dead Sea and Masada, Eilat Mountains and the wild and beautiful Negev Desert. With us, you can experience the remote tranquility of our deserts and the breathtaking scenery and wonderful history in Israel.

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קראו עוד בלוגים וספרים אלקטרוניים READ MORE BLOGS AND EBOOKS

World Jewish Travel Official July 31, 2022

The Eilat-Mitzpe Ramon Region, Israel: The Desert is Where Life Can Begin Again

The south of Israel, between Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat, is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Middle East. Just a five or six hour drive south of Jerusalem’s rolling hills and Tel Aviv’s white sandy beaches is a whole other world of red desert. The entire landscape that you see on the drive south was at one time completely submerged under the ocean. Over time this area of land dried out leaving behind interesting and whimsical rock formations, caverns, and caves. Aside from the beautiful geography this happens to have been one of the more frequently populated areas in the history of the Levant. Some of Israel’s most complex and intricate archaeological sites and artifacts have been uncovered in the desert. It is also the birthplace of the kibbutz movement, and many of these communities are still hosting families today.

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Summary
The Negev, in southern Israel, is a desert expanse with stark beauty, ancient history, and modern development. Encompassing over half of Israel's land, it's a landscape of contrasts, where arid expanses and vibrant oases coexist. The Negev offers a glimpse into the past, present, and future of this remarkable region.

Hotels in Eilat-Mitzpe Ramon Region

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