Think about Eilat this Passover


Purim  is  here, and it’s almost Springtime.  What a wonderful time for a “virtual visit” to Eilat at the Southern tip of Israel. The weather in Eilat in Spring is perfect, the sea is glittering, and the mountains such as Mt. Shlomo (named after King Solomon) are standing royally around the

coastal city of Eilat.In March 1949, a remarkable event took place right here in  Eilat. 

Today, this a courtyard on the sea in a busy, modern Eilat with a statue of a group of Israeli soldiers.  Back then, it was the location of a  British Mandate outpost. But the British had left Israel on May 15, 1948. So when the Israelis arrived in March 49, it had been abandoned. There was no one, and nothing around as far as the eye could see; just sand, mountains, and the deep blue, Red Sea.

The soldiers  were sent to mark a Jewish  presence  to ensure that  the land promised to  the Jews in the  United Nations partition plan (back on November  29, 1947), would in fact  be in Israeli hands when the armistice agreements were signed with Israel’s  neighbors.

The desert  terrain had been difficult. There were no clear maps of the area (except some arial photos taken by the British), and no modern roads. A plane  flew over the soldiers jeeps, and on one occasion had  to throw down a stone with a note attached telling them they were going  the wrong way!

When the soldiers finally arrived at the Red Sea, they were exhilarated to have arrived. This was the final movement of troops in the War of Independence. They had reached their destination. The State of Israel had been born less than a year before, and this was the final stage of establishing the borders.

What should one do at such a moment?

Well, they wanted to fly  the Israeli flag, but being a new country in the middle of a war, they didn’t have one with them, so they took some white cloth, a blue marker  and the star of David from their first aid bag,  and they made their own  flag (Israel  can be so modest). The flagpole was a bit rusty, so a group of soldiers  held the pole  while one climbed  up  to fly the flag.  He said it  was hard to climb up that pole, but 2000  years of Jewish hopes to  return to the Land of Israel lifted him up to the top.

After raising the flag, the soldiers all jumped in the Red Sea to enjoy a  swim. And they wrote a telegram: We are the first Jews since Moses to jump in the Red Sea.

© 2011, Lisa (Leah) Bowman. All Rights Reserved.

Walking tours in Jerusalem: http://www.jerusalemwalkingtour.com

 

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3 thoughts on “Think about Eilat this Passover

  1. I really like the connection between Passover and Eilat. Especially in uncertain times in Egypt re security – it’s great to have a “taste” of the ancient empire right here in Israel!

  2. “the first Jews since Moses to jump in the Red sea!” – awesome! that’s reason enough to visit Eilat. Loved your article.

  3. Hi momentinisrael,

    I was looking for information about Israel tour and trips and also about the professional guides. Then i saw your blog, your blog is really nice and its provide great information to others.

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