Israel’s Southern Hospitality
Across the Negev, you will find many opportunities to connect with the local Bedouin people. The Bedouins are a group of nomadic Arab people who have inhabited different desert regions of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and the Levant for centuries. In Israel, there were approximately 250,000 Bedouins in 2012.
Their diet consists of bread, yogurt, and coffee – and they will welcome you in their natural habitat with open arms. Sleep in their tents and eat some of the most incredible handmade bread and tea in the world before getting on a camel ride! Connect with Bedouin women, hear their stories, and see how history is changing for them as they make strides in the modern world. It’s fascinating, and their incredible hospitality makes this trip an experience the whole family will remember! Visit the Bedouin town of Lekya and the Desert Embroidery, visitor’s center.
In Kiryat Gat, we’ll take you to an Ethiopian farm, where you will get to connect with Ethiopian people and learn about the Ethiopian Aliyah story. Here you will also have an opportunity to participate in one of their fascinating workshops. (Please note that the topic of the workshop is based on availability.)
One of the most interesting communities is the Black Hebrew Israelites of Dimona, an entire community of people who are all vegan and speak English. They believe, along with Latin Americans and Native Americans, that they are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. As for religious beliefs, they combine elements from Judaism and Christianity.
Here are some additional excellent options to experience!
While at the kibbutz, visit the Mordechai Anielewicz memorial. Here you’ll learn about this remarkable man, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The kibbutz was named after this brave Jewish fighter, who stood up to the Nazi regime and fought back – few against many.
Visit the Atachlit Ethiopian farm in Kiryat Gat and hear an explanation of the center and about the Ethiopian Aliyah story and participate in one of the interesting workshops available (the topic of the workshop is based on availability).
Enjoy an amazing Bedouin hospitality experience and a personal encounter with a Bedouin family at a local, rarely visited village! Taste delicious authentic local food, fresh coffee and herbal tea, as well as learning about their family traditions (lunch included).
Visit a local ”Lone Farm.” Hear the history of a family who chose to settle in the desert at a remote location and founded a farm. Get the local perspective on life in the area, a lecture about the special wineries located in the Israeli desert, and about the recent developments in desert agriculture. Additionally, enjoy lunch at the farm (included).
Visit the Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center. Enjoy interactive exhibits explaining the natural processes which led to the creation of the Makhtesh. The center offers interesting information about the plant and animal life in what might be assumed to be a barren and inhospitable region. The Visitor Center also serves as a museum and memorial for Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who was killed in 2003 when the shuttle Columbia disintegrated when reentering the earth’s atmosphere.
Ready to get your hands dirty? Visit Ramon Eco Center where you will connect to the desert, in a magical and inspiring space at the edge of the Ramon Crater. Join an earth building workshop and feel the land of Israel with your own hands, while learning about the connection between the Biblical stories and global warming.
Connect to your soul and to the nature around you with a special yoga activity in the middle of the desert and enjoy some tea and cookies after.
Up for a special night adventure? Meet an IDF combat reserve soldier for a fun night activity and learn how to navigate in the middle of the desert at night. After that, join together around a bonfire and enjoy a good conversation.
Drive to Nativ Ha’asara located right on the border of Gaza and meet an extraordinary woman who started a special project called Nativ Lashalom (Path to Peace). Learn about the project and take part in the activity – make your own mosaic out of colorful stones and place it on the border with the Gaza strip.
Learn about the Iron Dome Missile Defense System and its role in protecting the Israeli citizens in times of missile attacks from Gaza.
Drive to the city of Sderot – over the years, this town suffered countless hits by rockets from nearby Gaza; yet, its residents still stand strong in the face of constant threats, and the people of Sderot maintain their life routine in this small southern town
Drive along Arava Peace Road – a fascinating driving route that follows the length of the border between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. The look-out points along the way offer stunning views of cultivated fields, Edom mountains, and the Arava streambed. Stop at the Peace Scenic Lookout, an observation deck constructed by KKL (JNF) to hear about Israel and Jordan’s relations and a peace agreement that was signed in the Arava.
Visit Kibbutz Ein Gedi and get a glimpse into the lifestyle of the residents who live as an isolated community in the heart of the desert. Tour the beautiful botanical gardens and meet the locals for an open discussion on any subject that intrigues you.