Jul 2005 Journal

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Letter from Israel

Spending a few days in Eilat in the dead of winter is almost like going to another country. Day after day the sun shines out of a cobalt sky and the sea sparkles while storms rage in the rest of Israel.

From the hotel window one looks out over a glassy sea against the backdrop of the mountains of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, where all seems peaceful and serene. Boats skim the surface, a few brave souls brave the chilly water and palm trees sway in the breeze.

Meanwhile, the weather reports from the north of the country speak of icy temperatures, flooded roads and gale-force winds. The feeling is surreal. The dissonance is heightened when one hears that some schoolboys have come from Manchester to learn skiing in the Golan Heights. All this in a country that is but a fraction of the size of England.

The tourist trade appears to be picking up, and English and French tourists can be seen and heard in the hotel dining room and around the swimming pool. New hotels are being built and old ones renovated. Eilat is finally getting ready for the long-awaited revival of the tourist boom of previous years. The town boasts some really splendid hotels, where the object seems to be to delight and pamper guests to the highest degree.

The drive back through the Negev reveals an unusual sight. The arid hills are covered with a green fuzz of grass and patches of wild flowers. However transient they may be, they are a rare delight.

Instead of driving straight home, I make for my daughter's house in Zikhron Ya'akov, where my baby-sitting services are required. There, the cold and rainy weather keeps me confined to the house for a week, while the Mediterranean Sea pounds the coast below.
Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

previous article:The Hungarian Gold Train: a proposed settlement
next article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims