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February 24, 2022



Israel’s southernmost city, on the beautiful northern tip of the Red Sea, is the port and resort town of Eilat. While no one knows for certain the origin of the name Eilat, the Hebrew name for a doe has the same root and it is speculated that this area may have once been inhabited by wild deer.

Diving in Eilat

חפי רוקח  Public Domain

Eilat and the Red Sea During Biblical Times

Eilat, the Red Sea, and the surrounding area are important historically to the Jewish people.  The Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land after God performed a miracle and split the sea to save them from the pursuing Egyptians.  While it is hard to imagine this scene when looking at Eilat’s bustling promenade today, a view of the long stretches of desert on the outskirts of Eilat reminds us of yet another Biblical miracle: the survival of the Children of Israel through 40 years in the desert.

Chmee2  CC BY 3.0Landscape in Timna Park
Chmee2  CC BY 3.0
Landscape in Timna Park

Timna Park

A replica of the Tabernacle or mishkan, where the luchot or 10 commandments were kept during the desert sojourn, can be viewed at Timna Park, located 25 kilometers (about 17 miles) north of Eilat. Plan to spend a full day here as the park is packed with a wide variety of activities suitable for families and children.

Eilat Modern History

Eilat came into existence during the 1949 Ovda Campaign. At that time its few residents lived in desert huts and needed water delivered to them in large cans. But despite these challenging conditions, Eilat began to grow and the new port, built in 1951, was a major source of employment. In 1956 waves of new immigrants from Morocco poured into Eilat and the first synagogue was built on Almogim Street. Many found work in the newly opened Timna copper mines nearby.

By the 1960s Eilat had evolved into a tourist town. The beautiful scenery, the fantastic Red Sea boasting Israel’s only coral reef, and the warm climate attracted visitors. Many entrepreneurs opened hotels, restaurants and all kinds of sea and land attractions.

Eilat Scub Diving

Eilat’s year-round water temperatures, which stay above 18 degrees Celsius, combined with the 1,200 meter-long coral reef close to the shore, has resulted in some of the best scuba diving spots in the world. Many people flock here to go snorkeling or diving; to protect the fragile reef, a walkway was built right into the water at Coral Beach Reserve.

Eilat Glass Bottom Boats

Another popular way to experience Eilat is a glass bottom boat tour. The undersea world, normally available only to professional deep-sea divers, is now only a thin layer of glass away. Tropical fish large and small offer an inviting view into this undersea world. You can also check out Eilat’s Underwater Observatory Marine Park and its two large observatories beneath the sea.

Children will be excited to try out the Cave of Illusions and King Solomon’s Falls boat ride at the Kings City amusement park. Based on Biblical stories about King Solomon, this park offers children an exciting activity away from the beach.

Eilat: Did You Know?

Eilat is especially popular for shopping because there is no VAT added sales tax and one can find many bargains.

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