Vacationing in Eilat - Part II

Eilat boasts of a myriad of cultural gems that many Israeli tourists don’t even know about.

Midbarya Camping, Eilat (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Midbarya Camping, Eilat
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Last week’s column focused on holiday activities in Eilat, famous for its gorgeous Red Sea beaches. If I were to tell you that Eilat is also one of the best locations in Israel to enjoy local wine and cultural events, you might be skeptical, but it’s true! Eilat boasts of a myriad of cultural gems that many Israeli tourists don’t even know about.
The best way to find out about Eilat’s incredible local art scene is to join a guided tour led by Yael Lerner, taking place every Tuesday. Because it’s summertime, participants are brought from one station to another on an air-conditioned minibus.
The first stop is at the Eilat City Museum and Gallery for a taste of institutionalized art. Next, the tour embarks on a journey that will introduce you to many of the city’s most promising artists.
If the idea of going to a fancy hotel with a big pool is not your idea of a good vacation, and you’d like to try out something new, then I recommend coming to Eilat’s new glamping in the desert experience on a camel farm just a 10-minute drive from the city’s southern beaches. There are 13 tents, 11 of which can accommodate up to four people, and two of which can hold up to eight people.
All of the tents are air-conditioned, and there is a kitchen area, a barbecue pit, relaxation spots, shared showers and bathrooms, Wi-Fi and a snack bar. Guests are also welcome to pitch their own tents and rent an air conditioner. This is a fun alternative experience and a great way to connect with nature and the tranquil desert surroundings.
Prices: Four-person tent: NIS 450-550 per night; 8-person tent: NIS 700-800 per night.
Sheets: NIS 100-150 per tent.
Camping: NIS 50 per person.
Breakfast: NIS 65 per person (everything is packaged and compliant with COVID-19 regulations).
All overnight guests receive a 25% reduction in entrance fees for the Camel Farm.
Details: 053-739-5354.
One of the stops will be at the Philip Morey House, which has been in operation since 1957 and throughout the years has functioned as a music and theater hall. The building was recently renovated and is now hosting an exhibition by Nevo Afek, a young artist who has vision impairment and is on the autism spectrum.
Afek’s incredible artwork demonstrates that artists can succeed despite obstacles they must overcome. He creates his art with precision and a high level of sensitivity, and visitors coming to view his creations would never have guessed how many difficulties he’s experienced in his lifetime.
Afek, a young man in his twenties who was born and bred in Eilat, was born healthy together with his two triplet siblings. He was diagnosed as on the spectrum at age two, and at age 12 his eyesight began to deteriorate, soon leaving him almost blind. He is able to create such passionate works of art thanks to all the help and assistance he receives from his loving family.
His successful exhibition will be traveling all around the globe. Visitors are invited to watch a short film about Afek’s life, walk through the exhibition hall, and perhaps even enjoy a few minutes of interaction with the artist himself.
The next stop on the tour is a visit to the home museum of painter Amir Elkayam, who also happens to be Afek’s mentor. Elkayam, one of Eilat’s most veteran artists, creates art out of almost any kind of material he can get his hands on. At the entrance to his home, there is a work of art that juxtaposes mosaic, sculpture and painting.
Elkayam is a contemporary artist who is influenced by everything that’s going on around him in Israel, as well as throughout the world. In fact, his newest exhibition includes works that were influenced by the pandemic.
Elkayam loves to welcome visitors and regale them with fascinating stories about his life, starting with his childhood in Morocco, his adventures at sea and his passion for art.
The Elad Theater hosts actors and artists who’ve left successful careers in central Israel to come make their lives in Eilat out of a sense of mission and desire to create a cultural center, bringing performances to varied locations. Among the actors are Uri Blufarb, Yoav Donat, Dana Yitzhaki, Guy Cohen-Shalev and Nili Rogel.
The next performance, It Must Be Love, will take place on August 27 (see below).
Price: NIS 79, which includes a glass of wine.
Information: 050-670-6009.
The fringe theater movement taught us long ago that we don’t need to sit still in a crowded theater in order to experience great cultural creations.
So now I want you all to imagine you are sitting at a bar, when suddenly the scene that begins unfolding in front of you seems to have been taken out of a thriller movie and you can’t take your eyes off what’s happening. This scene, which combines passion and a lovers quarrel, is from a play currently being staged by the Elad Theater at Eilat Wines (see below). Titled It Must Be Love, the show not only combines theater, music and wine, but invites the audience to take part in the creative experience.
No, participation is not mandatory – if you’d rather remain seated in the audience, that’s fine too.
On days when there are no Elad Theater performances, Eilat Wines offers cheese and wine tastings for NIS 160 per person.
Free tours are offered, with paintings by Adam Lass, son of owner Eran Lass, on display.
Location: Eilat Wines, 17 Haburskai Street, Eilat Industrial Area.
Free tours every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Preregistration required: (08) 634-0754.
If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves absolutely incredible meals, I recommend going to Whale, which has been around for five years now and has received rave reviews, thanks to its carefully crafted menu.
Now that things have changed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, owners Lior Raphael and Inbar Shapira decided to change things up a bit. Instead of sticking with their sophisticated menu, they decided to carry out a complete overhaul and turn their restaurant into a burger joint. They’ve even changed the restaurant’s name to Whale Burger. Diners can choose from any of six different kinds of burgers, sides and desserts.
Location: 6 Hayam Street, Eilat.
Details: (08) 920-9393.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Tags Eilat travel