The Negev Desert

Yesterday, we visited a farm that I presume was within striking distance of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Along with fresh strawberries as well as other fruits and vegetables, they sold rose sculptures and Hanukkah menorahs made from the metal of actual rockets that had landed on Israeli soil. I learned at the farm that pigeons are able to deliver mail because, once released, they are led by some magnetic sense in their beak to fly home, with precision down to a few feet. I also learned how important bees remain to the prosperity of humans through their uniquely effective abilities in pollination. Later that evening we arrived at a large tent in the desert. After a meditation led by the Israelis in our group, it was inside of that tent where we slept.

In the morning we rode camels. It was cool for a few minutes, but I did feel sorry for them. We were told that camels can live longer (up to 25 years) under the “care” of humans, but the value of having free will to roam in the desert seems like it would be worth at least a few years to me.

In the sunniest hours of the winter day in the desert we hiked through canyons, saw David Ben Gurion’s tomb, and toured Be’er Sheva, which in the last half century has been home to many Sephardic Jews. During that time, the southern city has not been regarded as a place where many would want to go for any reason other than for university (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) or to volunteer. Over the last few years however that has begun to change and it makes me curious to look into whether Be’er Sheva might be an attractive area to invest in through real estate or otherwise at some point in the future.

Tomorrow we hike Masada and go see the Dead Sea before making our way to Jerusalem.

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