27th of Tamuz, 5774
Parashat Masei


Negev

 
הנגב

The Negev, often referred to as a desert, is more properly called “wilderness,” or “badlands.” The rainfall in the Negev is higher than in the American Sonora Desert. Several development towns dot the magnificent landscape of the Negev, including the town of Mitzpe Ramon, which overlooks the Ramon Crater. The Ramon crater is the largest crater in Israel and the colored sands mined from the crater are sold, layered in bottles throughout Israel.

negev

The descent from the site of Mitzpe Ramon to the floor of the Ramon Crater is a treacherous road with many switchbacks. Because it was the only link to the city of Elat form the north, during the War of Independence, it was a site of many terrorist act designed to interrupt the flow of supplies to Elat.

There is a marvelous marker at the site of one of these incidents, which bears the inscription:

“Arava, lama pa’art et peekh? Ha’im ra’avt, Arava?”

[Arava, why did you open your mouth? Were you hungry, Arava?]

The Elat Mountains at the southern part of the Negev.