Monday, December 12, 2011

Boarding the Bus: Beersheba to Mitzpe Ramon

August 17, 2011 -- After two and a half weeks working at Kibbutz Lahav I finished washing my last dish and dodging my last grad rocket and decided to head south via bus from Beersheba to Israel's Grand Canyon -- the small town of Mitzpe Ramon overlooking the massive Ramon Crater/Makhtesh.

The bus traveled through the heart of the Negev desert of southern Israel, stopping at Kibbutz Sde Boker and Midreshet Ben-Gurion along the way. This area is where the graves of founding Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula are located. It was Ben-Gurion's dream for Jews to settle the arid Negev, writing:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Summer 2011: Beersheba, Israel

Abraham's Well
August 7 and 11, 2011 -- Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel and is often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev." I was able to visit the city a couple of times during the day while working at nearby Kibbutz Lahav.

My initial impression upon visiting this ancient city was that it is a bit run-down and industrial compared to other large cities in Israel. Upon further examination however, it is evident that Beersheba is a city on the rise. It is home to the main campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and many high-tech companies are headquartered in the region. There are construction cranes visible across the city and the Jewish National Fund's Blueprint Negev Project is helping fund new projects including creating a lively and eco-friendly riverfront district, building new shopping malls and restoring the Old Turkish section of the city.