The desert is what?

A friend in Amarillo cautioned me about traveling to Israel.

Jerusalem is beautiful, she said. Tel Aviv is alive and vibrant, she added. But the desert? It’s barren, hostile and not very inviting.

My friend, for whom I have great affection, is flat wrong.

I’ve been traveling through Israel for nearly three weeks now with a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange team from West Texas. Our journey began May 10 in the desert. I am not sure what my friend failed to see in the Negev region of southern Israel. I do know what I saw: splendor beyond belief.

You drive south from Be’er Sheva to Eilat. The only vegetation you see are the scrub trees planted by settlers in isolated villages along the way. The rest of it? Sand and rock. But it is magnificent. There is no need to qualify it with it being “beautiful in its own way.” No, this place is splendid in its beauty.


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