“It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested.”
– David Ben– Gurion.
The Rocky Desert of Negev City
Negev is an arid land that means “south” in Hebrew. It is the desert district that covers much of Israel’s land area with over 13,000 km². The aerial view of Negev forms an inverted triangle shape with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula as its border in the west and the Arabah valley as its border in the east. The Negev is a craggy terrain that is composed of brown, dusty mountains disrupted by deep crates and dry riverbeds that bloom only after the rain.
One of the large towns located in Eastern Negev is called Arad. This place has the cleanest and freshest air, which makes it popular among people who are suffering from lung conditions such as asthma. On Central Negev is where the large crater of Makhtesh Ramon is found. This place offers wall rappelling activities. On the Southern part of Negev is a town called Dimona. This place is known to be Israel’s nuclear research facility, therefore, off limits to any unauthorized people.
The Nabateans settlement on the Negev in the ancient times brought fascination among historians. They ingeniously created a water duct to support agricultural life in the dessert of Negev. They also established a trade route called the “spice road”. Trains of camels bearing spices, perfumes and salt from Yemen in the East to the port city of Gaza pass through this route. Cottages were built along the route so travelling tourists can still see the remains that beautify the Negev region.
David Ben-Gurion, the very first Prime Minister of Israel, asserted that Negev should be part of the Jewish state. During Israeli Independence where everyone was arguing about the Jewish and Arab boundaries, Gurion believed that in order for Israel to be united, the dry and barren land of Negev is what it needed. He believed that Negev is a land that Jews can cultivate and create life. Half a century later, David Ben-Gurion’s vision was realized.
Negev gives out a lot of surprises that are attractive to tourists. In the winter season, despite the tiny amounts of rain, the Negev desert is covered with an astonishing mantle of wild flowers, including the luscious red anemones, that bring out a wild contrast from the dry and dead looking earth to its colorful and lively multitude.
Today, Negev is the portal to the desert that opens a brand new world. That is why tourism in Negev is a thriving industry. Much wanderlust explores Negev on foot, on bicycle and in all-terrain vehicles.
How to Get in Negev
Negev can be reached through three main highways. These are the roadways from north to south of Negev. Route 90, is your Jordan Valley route from the east. It passes from Jerusalem then to the Dead Sea and further to Eilat . Route 40, also known as central route. It passes by Beer Sheva and Mitzpe Ramon and further merges with another route from the east which is near Yotvata. Finally, Route 10 is also known as western route. It runs along the border of Egypt from Gaza Strip to Elliat. This is the least taken road of the three because this was purposely built for military use. There is a 360-kilometer distance across the Negev from Tel Aviv to Eilat. It takes about 5 hour to reach Eilat.