Earl and I were in Eilat for the weekend, a 4 hour drive each way for 48 hours in a 5 star hotel. It was worth it.
One of the health funds that Earl works with had their convention there so it was subsidized, a perk (just about the only one), for being a physician in the Holy Land. The food was amazing; I'm sure that I temporarily lost the battle to keep my weight and cholesterol lower than my IQ, so now I'm back on track, left with just memories and jiggles. Yum. And Aargh.
Eilat is the closest you come to leaving Israel without taking your passport. As you drive south on the long highway from the Dead Sea there's a palpable sense of getting away to some peace and quiet. The odd thing is that from the North Beach you can see 3 Arab countries, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Jordan. I know we have a peace treaty with 2 of them of them but at least concerning Egypt......nothing to rely on. The Saudis are responsible for the Wahhabi plague of global radical Islam so nothing to discuss on that front. I guess one day it could get noisy there and they did have a terror attack a couple months ago, but we all like our illusions and this one comes with a pool and air conditioning.
Every time we pass the huge Dead Sea Works factory I wonder at how it can be that a private company is allowed to mine a national treasure, nay, an international one, for profits in potash and magnesium. Just one more coin in the cache of corruption that has so hurt this place and that I hope one day will end, with leaders of a different caliber. I know every country is like this but I can't help but feel that we deserve better. Too many people sacrificed too much for this to be what it is now.
On Shabbat we struck up a conversation with a British young couple who want to move here within the next year. They are both newly religious and feel that this is the place to be. I agree (surprised you there, didn't I?) and we talked about how despite it all, there is no place like home. With apologies to Dorothy and Oz.
Tonight there are bridal showers all over Gush Etzion and other Jewish communities for the Gush Katif brides of this summer. It's a huge act of kindness/chessed, an example of what my friend Anita Tucker, of the destroyed community of Netzer Hazani, wrote to me is the only thing that will save us all. Everyone is bringing gifts to help them get started in their new lives. It's an honor to be a part of it. Now they certainly don't think hotels are fun after spending months living in them after their communities were wrecked.
It's all in your perspective. Hot and getting hotter in Judea.