The Arabah Valley
Linking the Dead Sea with the Red Sea

The Arabah or Arava is the valley that runs from the Dead Sea on the north and Eilat Israel and the Red Sea on the south. The valley is the natural border with the Kingdom of Jordan.

The Arava is very arid and hot. On the Jordanian side it is populated by a few important tribes dedicated to sheep herding and some agriculture.

Solomon's Pillars in the Timna National Park in the Negev Desert

It runs from the Dead Sea to Eilat

Its length is 167 Km. From the Dead Sea at 410 m below sea level, the lowest point on Planet Earth it raises sharply for 15 Km and keeps raising gently for another 74 Km to reach a height of 230 meters.

This point is the natural divide of waters between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in Hebrew Mifratz Shlomo. From that maximum altitude it descends to sea level in Eilat Israel.

The Israeli side features a few Kibbutzim and Moshavim, being the oldest Kibbutz Yotvata, founded in 1957. The name was taken from the Bible that mentions an ancient town with that name in the area.

Kibbutz Lotan is one of the newest and features a bird watching center; and Moshav Ein Yahav, the oldest moshava in the area located in Central Arava.

Legend says that King Solomon’s mines in the Arava were the center Copper Production in the area.

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Yotvata in an arid area produces products for the rest of the country


The farmers of the Arabah had to deal with the reality of very hot and dry weather, no rain and saline soil. One asks how they can grow anything here.

The answer is that for Israeli farmers everything is possible.

The farmers from the kibbutzim and Moshavim are successful farmers producing among others peppers, tomatoes, flowers, melons, grapes figs and dates and also fish.

The technology used includes the proper use of nutrients, water all done using computers.

Most of the crops go for export since their quality has no competition worldwide.

The farmers work on creating different varieties until they create the desire texture, color and taste.

Arava’s dates, a biblical fruit is the world’s sweetest. I write this and my amazement grows.

The beauty of all this, that is not shown on the world’s newspapers is the there is a great cooperation among farmers of both sides of the border.

They all share knowledge for the common benefit and the development of the Arava.

Israelis have made the Arabah produce using high technology

Jordan across the border

  • The area known as Jordan today was home to the Edomites and the mountains are called Edom until today. Further east was Nabatean domain and the best example is Petra , a pink red city carved from the mountains.
  • Since the Peace treaty signed by the late leaders Yitzhak Rabin from Israel and King Hussein from Jordan in 1994, both governments have cooperated in the development of the Arabah.

  • Remember the Dead Sea is also shared by both countries and there is a huge plan for a canal Red-Dead Seas from south to north bringing water to the slowly dying Dead Sea.

The strange formations in Timna are part of the sights

Nature and Tourism

Here you may find marvels of nature like colorful mountains and hills some with incredible extraterrestrial forms. Some of the oldest copper mine is called King Solomon Mines, attributed to King Solomon.

The Timna valley is also a great tourist attraction especially for bird watchers looking for local species and migrating birds. In general this valley is home to all kind of wildlife including mammals, reptiles and birds.

On the Jordanian site is Wadi Rum, famous among hikers, mountain climbers and outdoor lovers. I’ve seen many colorful balloons flying all over the wadi for the delight of those up there and those waiting for them on the area.

Many Kibbutzim offer Bed and Breakfast accommodations for people that want to have a clean room to sleep and are not looking for luxury. Everybody gets the world famous Israeli Buffet Breakfast.

The wildlife at the Yotvata Hai Bar Park is fun for the kids

Localities along route 90 on the area going from north to south

  • Ein Tamar
  • Neot HaKikar
  • Ir Ovot
  • Idan
  • Ein Hatzeva
  • Ein Yahav
  • Sapir
  • Tzofar
  • Tzukim
  • Paran
  • Yahel
  • Neot Smadar
  • Neve Harif
  • Lotan
  • Ketura
  • Grofit
  • Yotvata
  • Samar
  • Elifaz
  • Be'er Ora
  • Eilot
  • Eilat

For close to twenty years we have enjoyed friendly relations with Jordan
This is the Arabah Crossing north of Eilat

Arabah Crossing

Israel and Jordan have three main border crossings. One north of the Dead Sea, Allenby Bridge, existed since years ago and was used for the limited crossing during the years on non-peace.

One on the Jordan Valley near Beth Shean called Sheikh Hussein crossing and the one near Eilat, the Araba crossing. These two are the main traffic crossing for tourist back and forth.

Many groups will enter Jordan through the north, visit its attractions and leave back to Israel through the Arava.

I have done that with pilgrims and not only that, after we get to Eilat and spend a day or two relaxing, we cross the border this time to Egypt via the Taba border and continue our visit to Egypt via Sinai and all the way to Cairo.

All this can be achieved when the countries understand the good things that Peace can bring.

If you plan a trip to Eilat Israel and decide not to fly but go by road, then you are going to experience the Arava in its full splendor.

Image Credits:
agriculture by eddan
solomon pillars by chmee2
yotvata hai bar by hilla axelrod
arava crossing by pawel ryszawa
yotvata by gordio
timna arch n/a

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The hotels images are courtesy of the hotels mentioned.

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