After a restful and rejuvenating Shabbat in Mitzpe Ramon, the 2015 Israel Ride will continue tomorrow as we ride south to Kibbutz Ketura, home to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Today’s blog is brought to us by Matthew Liebman, a 2015 Israel Rider from Massachusetts.

Hello Everyone,

Today was a rest day, after yesterday’s ride of 65 miles down and up a Makhtesh, which is an erosion crater unique to this area of the world. We rode by the town of Dimona and up several switchbacks to a development town called Yerocham, which seems to be a factory town for phosphate mining. We were lucky that it wasn’t too hot, so it was a perfect day for riding. We also saw a lot of the Northern Negev ending in Mitzpe Ramon, which overlooks Makhtesh Ramon, the largest erosion crater in the world, and now a big tourist draw.

Today was shabbat, so we didn’t ride, but we did learn a lot about the desert ecology from Dr. Eli Groener of the Arava Institute, and how the Arava Institute promotes dialogue among Palestinian, Israeli Jew and Israeli Arab students. One Israeli alum remarked on how after he studied at the Arava Institute, he treated Palestinians with more trust when he was in the reserves, compared to his earlier military service. Another student talked about how the wastewater treatment plants in Israel are among the best in the world, but in the Palestinian territories, it’s another story — and it’s complicated because the PA doesn’t always want assistance because it creates some sort of dependency that they don’t want — it’s complicated!

This morning we saw some Ibex, which is an ancestor of the mountain goat, and on the seal of the Israel National Parks Authority. It is also the Apple version of the bex.  (That was Sarah’s joke, not mine!)  Tomorrow we have a nice easy 88 miler but mostly downhill into the crater and ending at the Arava Institute at Kibbutz Ketura.

Happy Halloween,

Matthew Liebman
2015 Israel Rider

To find out more about the Israel Ride, visit the Israel Ride website and be sure to “like” the Israel Ride Facebook Page as more details from the road and photos from each day will be added! If you want to experience the Israel Ride for yourself next year it will run from November 8 – November 15, 2016 and registration is already open! Enter the discount code “EARLY” to save $100 off your registration through November 3 and receive a Special Edition Israel Ride fleece by Eddie Bauer.

Click Here to Register for the 2016 Israel Ride!

Farewell for now!

Sam Schauer
Israel Ride Communications Manager