Future Israeli Leaders in the Negev

Future Israeli Leaders in the Negev

The southern Israeli desert called the Negev

has been in the news this week.

Sadly, two lives were lost there,

and the details are still emerging.

On a recent trip to the Negev 

we passed dozens of Bedouin encampments

Beoudin along road in Negev

like this one along the roadside.

Thousands of Bedouins live in hundreds of homes like these

that just “popped up” along side the Negev roads.

But I would rather share a new, special “village” with you,

Army base in southern Israel Kiryat Ariel Sharon

an elite army training base named for Ariel Sharon.

Entering the grounds, a large

Kiryat Ariel Sharon negev

outdoor stadium is on the right side of road.

Near the entrance,

Negev army base shul

 one of three synagogues sits on the main square.

IDF base commanders

The commander of the base, Colonel Avi Motola,

says he feels more like a mayor, with a budget and services

for 10,000 soldiers who are on the training base.

Map of Negev army training base

A map of the base, larger than some Israeli cities.

Different army units training at Negev base

This slide shows the governing structure of the IDF and its branches

on this state-of-the-art consolidated training campus.

A convention center, pool, library and more are planned.

There are six dining rooms with huge kitchens to serve up meals.

New army base in Negev

This view from one central location

IDF Training base in negev

and another show the barren desert in background.

Desert lands take up a third of the country.

New infrastructure, such as roads, were built to benefit everyone.

Civilians work on the base, which helps the local economy.

The plan is for families to come and further develop

the surrounding Negev cities.

Inside the training center,

Room to train medics under conditions of battlefield

simulator rooms have sound and smoke

to prepare young soldiers for action.

Especially impressive are the areas to train medics.

Room to train medics in IDF Negev base

On the ground covered by a “blood” stained blanket

is a dummy with equipment around the walls.

The window on right lets medical teams be supervised.

Room to train medics

There are multiple rooms, reflecting the various terrains.

Training with artificial bodies and body parts

Medics training at new base in NEgev

helps prepare efficient medical response teams.

With the shorter attention-spans of new recruits,

plus shorter terms of service,

new means of more effective education are crucial.

Basic training is three weeks,

the special courses can last from 3 weeks to 14 months.

Simulators to teach driving in Negev army base

Young soldiers learn to drive on these simulators.

The large truck dashboard and weather conditions

are two factors which can be programmed.

New planted tress in army base in Negev

Outside were new plantings to landscape the campus.

IDF soldiers lying on ground relaxing in Negev base

One journalist on our trip commented on the relaxed

atmosphere of the base, so different to army life in China.

Soldier talking on phone in Negv

This is a perfect spot to sit in the shade and talk on phone.

Female IDF soldiers walking in army base with backpacks

As more young women are serving in IDF,

it was impressive to see their presence on the base.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look

Field in name of Ariel Sharon in Negev

into the training of new officers for the IDF.

Oh, the last words as you exit,

Go in Peace says sign at exit of new army base Ariel Sharon

Go in peace.

Jerusalem to Eilat

Today the sun is shining in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem spring flowers

The daffodils in the Botanical Gardens are in bloom.

But last week was very cold,

and for the first time we drove south to Eilat.

Once we left the Judean Hills,

road to Eilat

 there are long stretches of road in the desert,

sign to beware of camels

lined with camel warning signs.

camels at rest stop

Not sure if these camels were real,

ostrich in Negev

but this ostrich was running along a fence.

Bedouin along road

Bedouin encampments,

Bedouin along highway

have popped up everywhere.

I always thought Eilat is far.

Well, nothing in Israel is that far!

We did stop once on the way down,

the distance is similar to that of NY to Baltimore.

IDF soldier gets drink

In the rest stop this was a favorite sign.

Another interesting sign on the road was

road to Eilat

this one is to warn of a road closed due to flooding.

I now understand why people run to see areas like this

flooding sign

when they are covered by streams of rushing water.

It is hard to imagine deep water here,

but these markers are in many locations on the road.

Then there is the huge Ramon Crater,

Timma desert Raomn crater

an impressive sight stretching for as are as you can see.

But from that crater outlook

you must go down,

Road to Eliat

twisting around and down,

danger sign

on curves and sharper curves.

Once in Eilat the views

of the water from beachfront hotels

Jordan view from hotel in Eilat

are picture postcard perfect.

Remember,

Jordan view from Eilat hotel

Jordan is this close,

and Egypt is just on the other side.

We went to see the Israman (Israeli Ironman) race.

Sunrise water start of Israman

At dawn nearly 2000 men and women

swam in the cold water.

Then after a quick change, they jumped on their bikes,

and pedalled up the Eilat Mountains.

Bike start Israman in Eilat hills

They left their bikes here for UPS trucks to take back to city,

and then they set off running a full or half marathon course,

back to Eilat near the starting point.

Bart Candel of the Netherlands came in first again this year.

But I think every one who finished the race

was a winner.

Israman

Imagine doing this course with one leg?

There were lots of other inspirational stories,

maybe I will share them another time.

On the way back to Jerusalem

new Ramon Airport near Eilat

we passed the site of the new Ramon Airport

desert

and fields of solar panels.

The Dead Sea may be shrinking,

but it still seems big as you drive along.

warning sink holes

These beware of sink hole signs warn of serious

Sink holes near Dead Sea

sink holes along the Dead Sea.

Back to Jerusalem,

Jerusalem bus with Shema Yisrael on side

where else would one find these new bus signs?

“Listen, Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One.”