The Arava area of Israel is a beautiful, sparsely populated desert region that runs from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, and is part of the 500km Great Rift Valley that is connected from Syria to central Mozambique. The Red Mountains of Jordan were seen throughout our Thursday, July 8th visit to a few of the really unique environmental projects we were able to experience on day 5 of our MFA journey.
Most of the innovation we saw today came out of Kibbutz Ketura which prides itself on its creative economic perspective focused on entrepreneurship, religious pluralism, gender equality as well as its own solar power company, an algae farm, an experimental orchard and a co-existence based Environmental Studies program at the Arava Institute.
Unlike Palm Springs, California where the desert has been built up with such suburban zeal that when I visit my Gay retired Jewish family there during Passover I need to take mass amounts of Allergy medicine to survive the Pollen factors. The air in the Arava desert still feels clean of inhalant allergens.
Ezra Ravins is the Mayor of Central Arava Region. Here 3,000 people live (including 500 young students from multiple ethnic backgrounds all going to one school). This region covers 6% of Israel (70 km from the South to the North) and rely on export of their produce for a thriving economy. It has always been a priority to be innovative with water resources and it has taken many years to be environmentally smart about these resources. They have only 30mm of rain per year to help the area bloom for the 7 villages, 2 small cities and 5 Moshavim on the West side of the Jordan River.
After our site visits and a quick lunch we take a two hour break to dip into the incredibly healing and nurturing Dead Sea before returning again to Jerusalem.
Please take a look at more of our photos from day five of our journey here.