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The Beersheva Region begins at the city of Beersheva.  Here, a well traditionally considered to have been dug by Abraham sits just outside a modern metropolis, which also contains an Ottoman-era Old City.  From Beersheva, the region’s path extends through desert-edge hills and forests to a dry plain where millennia-old ruins await. The sites and cities along this route are rich with Abrahamic heritage and with traces of his time period: the Bedouin shepherds tending their flocks in the hills evoke his pastoral lifestyle, and many of the ruins scattered along the path hark back to the era in which Abraham is said to have walked through this land.

The Beersheva Region is incredibly diverse in both its people and its landscapes. The stage begins and ends in rolling desert plains where dust devils whirl across the landscape in the dry season; in the middle, though, shady pine forests mixed with orchards and overlooks provide a completely different hiking experience. Reaching the top of a mountain ridge overlooking the Dead Sea rift, you’ll have the opportunity to gaze down on several different climatic and geographical zones from a single viewpoint.


Accommodations

Accommodations

 

Stage Location Name Type Price # of beds Contact Information (+###) [country code] Amenities
1 Lakiya Family stay TBA F
3 Yatir Forest Forester’s House S Free 4 cots Cannot be reserved; just show up Sink, fridge, shower, kettle, picnic tables, no bedding, bring your own food
3 Har Amasa Har Amasa Tent T 73 NIS/$20 10 via airbnb Meals, outdoor showers and bathroom
3 Har Amasa Hiker shelter S Free 4 cots Cannot be reserved; just show up Sink, shower, often not particularly clean
3 Derijat Gaber Abu-Ahmad T 60 NIS/$17 30+ +972(0)547969576, gabera66@gmail.com Meals, tour of village, homestays in village
4 Tel Arad National Park Campsite/Lodging G/C Camping 50-60 NIS/$15-$19, Rm for up to 5 people 450 NIS/$130 +972(0)577762170, often fully booked by large groups, must call in advance to ensure availability Price includes park admission, bathrooms and water available, snack shop open 8am-5pm

Accommodations Key

F – Family Stay
G – Guesthouse (small, locally-owned establishment with private rooms)
H – Hotel
Hs – Hostel (accommodation offering dormitory options)
T – Bedouin Tent (usually dormitory-style sleeping on mats on the floor of a large tent)
S – Shelter (a few areas have free hiker shelters, which are a simple room with cots that hikers can use)
CCamping (a paid or free place to put down a tent, may or may not have facilities)

Transportation

Getting to the Abraham Path in the Beersheva Region

The main airport in Israel is Ben Gurion International airport, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel has a well-developed and affordable system of public transport that includes buses, shared taxis (known as sheruts) and trains. For bus schedules and prices, see www.bus.co.il. Train connections service the coastal cities as well as Beersheva; see rail.co.il for schedules and prices. Both buses and trains do not run on Shabbat (from Friday evening to Saturday night), while shared taxis run seven days a week.

Beersheva, Lakiya, Meitar, Derijat, and Tel Arad are all served by public buses (except Friday evening through Saturday evening). Local buses run throughout the area between Beersheva and Arad.  Beersheva is the most major hub in the region, with service to Jerusalem, Eilat, Tel Aviv,

Har Amasa is served by less-frequent buses (timetables at egged.co.il/Eng/); and within the Yatir Forest, public transit is nonexistent.

Airport Transport to Beersheva:

Beersheva is the most accessible public transportation hub in the region.  From Beersheva, travelers can easily reach any of the sites in the region that are serviced by bus.  There are a number of ways to reach Beersheva from Ben Gurion International airport.

  1. Train: Trains depart every half hour from the airport to the Beersheva city center (must change trains at Tel Aviv HaHagana station, 1.5-2 hr, 31.5 NIS).
  2. Private taxi: Airport taxis have set prices.  A journey to Beersheva costs  ___NIS with higher costs on nights and weekends
  3. Car rental: Several rental car companies are available 24/7 at the airport. Costs range from $30-60/€22-44 per day with gas/petrol costing about $8/gallon or €1.6/liter. Note that most car rental insurance offered by credit cards is void in Israel. Insurance from most Israeli rental cars is void in Palestinian Territory areas A and B.

Entering by land:

From Jordan there are three crossings into Israel: King Hussein/Allenby in the center, Sheikh Hussein/Beit Shean in the north and Aqaba/Eilat in the south. The closest border to Jerusalem is King Hussein/Allenby, and shared taxis provide transport from the border into Jerusalem city center.  From Jerusalem, direct buses to Beersheva are available.

From Egypt, there is one crossing into Israel at Taba. Take a taxi to Eilat from the border, then a bus from Eilat to Beersheva, which can be booked ahead via Egged bus company (www.egged.com).

Visas:

Citizens of the US, EU, Russia, Japan and most western countries are issued a free 3-month B/2 tourist visa upon arrival which may be extended by applying at a Ministry of Interior office. Visitors from most other countries require a visa in advance. Citizens of most Arab and predominantly Muslim countries can individually apply for a visa but it is difficult to obtain one in practice. The most commonly issued visas for these travelers is through organized tour groups, and the application is often handled by Palestinian tour operators based in East Jerusalem. For specific visa guidelines, check the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As of 2013, Israeli visas at the border are being issued on a separate piece of paper and not stamped directly in passports. Israel charges an exit fee of 108 NIS when exiting via a land border (no separate exit fee when leaving via the airport), and 173 NIS when exiting via the Allenby Bridge crossing (known as King Hussein Bridge in Jordan).

On rare occasions, visas are denied or 2-week only visas are supplied to visitors suspected of being involved in political activism. Travellers mentioning they plan to visit Palestinian Territory or friendships/connections with Palestinians, Muslims or Arab people are often subject to additional questioning and delays when entering and leaving Israel/Palestine. In rare cases, visa personnel may request to see a copy of your itinerary, proof of funds, and/or other documents verifying the purpose of your visit.

Sites in the Beersheva Region:

Abraham’s Well

In the dusty dry Negev desert, water is not exactly what first comes to mind. But the story of Beersheva centers around the gushing oasis of its historic well, traditionally associated with Abraham.

Beersheva

Beersheva, the “Capital of the Negev”, has been a place of diversity since the time of Abraham.

Lakiya

In Lakiya, Bedouin women lead the way in building their community.

Roman Roads

Two thousand years ago, Roman roads were the height of new technology, facilitating the spread of ideas like a walkable internet.

Tel Arad

To walkers without a background in archeology, the fortress on the hill may appear as another site with walls and stones strewn around. But Tel Arad is a site of mystery and drama in the development of monotheism.

Yatir Forest

Enjoy the shade of a 10,000-acre woodland planted on the edge of the desert.