NEGEV And The RED SEA
The triangle shaped southern part of Israel is mainly covered with a dry and hot desert, called Negev. This area is nearly half the size of the country. The eastern side stretches next to the Jordan Rift. The land meets the Red Sea at the ancient port city of Eilat.
Negev is estimated to have turned into a desert more than 10,000 years ago. Before it was utilized for agricultural activities and became host to some civilizations. Only recently, because of the extensive scientific efforts of Israel it has become fertile again. A large part of this harsh environment is now irrigated with water pumped from the Jordan River through a network of pipes.
The large area has plenty of plateaus, canyons, dry creeks, sand dunes, green fertile patches and is mineral rich. Most of the area is inhabited by roving Bedouin tribes.
According to Bible, the three patriarches, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham pastured their sheeps in the Negev region. Recently, archaeologists revealed new evidences that the area was fertile and had been home to many settlements during Biblical times.
Seven hundred years later Nabateans, a desert tribe, settled into the area and achieved a remarkable result on agriculture and trading by developing their own techniques to survive and even improve the conditions of this unforgiving desert. Their time ended with the rise of Islam around the region.
The extension of the Negev to the south is Sinai desert. This land was captured by Israel during the 1967 war. In 1982, it was returned back to Egypt under a land for peace aggreament.
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