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Eilat

אֵילַת
إيلات
City (from 1959)
Eilat night hotels 2016.jpg
Eilat Coastline At Night.jpg
Eilat by the Red Sea (7716934936).jpg
North Beach Eilat.jpg
Eilat Blick von der Promenade in die Outskirts 09.JPG
From upper left: Eilat coastline at night (x2), evening view of Eilat marina, view of Eilat North Beach, view from the promenade to the outskirts and the surrounding mountains of Eilat
Coat of arms of Eilat.svg
Emblem of Eilat
Eilat is located in Southern Negev region of Israel/ˈlɑːt/ ay-LAHT, also UK: /ˈlæt/ ay-LAT; Hebrew: אֵילַת[eˈlat] (About this soundlisten)), or Umm Al-Rashrash sometimes in Arabic (أم الرشراش), is Israel's southernmost city with a population of 52,299,[1] a busy port and popular resort at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on what is known in Israel as the Gulf of Eilat and in Jordan as the Gulf of Aqaba. The city is considered a tourist destination for domestic and international tourists heading to Israel.

Eilat is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arabah, adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba to the south, the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to the east, and within sight of Haql, Saudi Arabia, across the gulf to the southeast.

Eilat's arid desert climate and low humidity are moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 21 °C (70 °F) in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C (68 and 79 °F). Eilat averages 360 sunny days a year.[2]

Name

The name "Eilat" was given to Umm Al-Rashrash (Arabic: أم الرشراش‎) in 1949 by the Committee for the Designation of Place-Names in the Negev. The name refers to Elath, a location mentioned in the Hebrew Bible that is thought to be located across the border in modern Jordan. The committee acknowledged that Biblical Eilat/Elath was across the border; one committee member, Yeshayahu Press, justified the co-opting of the name by stating "when the real Eilat finally is in our hands, our settlement will expand and reach over to there."[3]

The origin of the name is not definitively known, but likely comes from the Hebrew root A–Y–L (Hebrew: א. י. ל.‎), which is also the root for the word Elah (Hebrew: אלה‎), meaning Pistacia tree. Like numerous other localities, Eilat is mentioned in the Bible both in singular (possibly construct state) and plural form (Eilot).[4] Elath was an Israelite city that existed in the same general area. The original settlement was probably at the northern tip of the Gulf of Eilat.[5] Ancient Egyptian records also document the extensive and lucrative mining operations and trade across the Red Sea with Egypt starting as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Elath is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes' Red Sea Port, as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Trade between Elim and Elath furnished frankincense and myrrh, brought up from Ethiopia and Punt; bitumen and natron, from the Dead Sea; finely woven linen, from Byblos; and copper amulets, from Timna; all mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.[citation needed] In antiquity Elath bordered the states of Edom, Midian and the tribal territory of the Rephidim, the indigenous inhabitants of the Sinai Peninsula.[citation needed] Elath is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Exodus. The first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and the 9th–13th are in and around Elath after the exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites in and around Timna in Modern Israel near Eilat.[citation needed] When King David conquered Edom,[6] which up to then had shared a common border with Midian, he took over Eilat, the border city shared by them as well. The commercial port city and copper based industrial center were maintained by Egypt until reportedly rebuilt by Solomon at a location known as Ezion-Geber (I Kings 9:26). In 2 Kings 14:21–22, many decades later, "All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He rebuilt Elath, and restored it to Judah, after his father's death." Later, in 2 Kings 16:6, during the reign of King Ahaz: "At that time the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom, and drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day."

Geography

Eilat aerial view

The geology and landscape are varied: igneous and metamorphic rocks, sandstone and limestone; mountains up to 892 metres (2,927 ft) above sea level; broad valleys such as the Arava, and seas

Eilat is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arabah, adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba to the south, the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to the east, and within sight of Haql, Saudi Arabia, across the gulf to the southeast.

Eilat's arid desert climate and low humidity are moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 21 °C (70 °F) in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C (68 and 79 °F). Eilat averages 360 sunny days a year.[2]

The name "Eilat" was given to Umm Al-Rashrash (Arabic: أم الرشراش‎) in 1949 by the Committee for the Designation of Place-Names in the Negev. The name refers to Elath, a location mentioned in the Hebrew Bible that is thought to be located across the border in modern Jordan. The committee acknowledged that Biblical Eilat/Elath was across the border; one committee member, Yeshayahu Press, justified the co-opting of the name by stating "when the real Eilat finally is in our hands, our settlement will expand and reach over to there."[3]

The origin of the name is not definitively known, but likely comes from the Hebrew root A–Y–L (Hebrew: א. י. ל.‎), which is also the root for the word Elah (Hebrew: אלה‎), meaning Pistacia tree. Like numerous other localities, Eilat is mentioned in the Bible both in singular (possibly construct state) and plural form (Eilot).[4] Elath was an Israelite city that existed in the same general area. The original settlement was probably at the northern tip of the Gulf of Eilat.[5] Ancient Egyptian records also document the extensive and lucrative mining operations and trade across the Red Sea with Egypt starting as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Elath is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes' Red Sea Port, as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Trade between Elim and Elath furnished frankincense and myrrh, brought up from Ethiopia and Punt; bitumen and natron, from the Dead Sea; finely woven linen, from Byblos; and copper amulets, from Timna; all mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.[citation needed] In antiquity Elath bordered the states of Edom, Midian and the tribal territory of the Rephidim, the indigenous inhabitants of the Sinai Peninsula.[citation needed] Elath is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Exodus. The first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and the 9th–13th are in and around Elath after the exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites in and around Timna in Modern Israel near Eilat.[citation needed] When King David conquered Edom,[6] which up to then had shared a common border

The origin of the name is not definitively known, but likely comes from the Hebrew root A–Y–L (Hebrew: א. י. ל.‎), which is also the root for the word Elah (Hebrew: אלה‎), meaning Pistacia tree. Like numerous other localities, Eilat is mentioned in the Bible both in singular (possibly construct state) and plural form (Eilot).[4] Elath was an Israelite city that existed in the same general area. The original settlement was probably at the northern tip of the Gulf of Eilat.[5] Ancient Egyptian records also document the extensive and lucrative mining operations and trade across the Red Sea with Egypt starting as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Elath is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes' Red Sea Port, as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt.[citation needed] Trade between Elim and Elath furnished frankincense and myrrh, brought up from Ethiopia and Punt; bitumen and natron, from the Dead Sea; finely woven linen, from Byblos; and copper amulets, from Timna; all mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.[citation needed] In antiquity Elath bordered the states of Edom, Midian and the tribal territory of the Rephidim, the indigenous inhabitants of the Sinai Peninsula.[citation needed] Elath is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Exodus. The first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and the 9th–13th are in and around Elath after the exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites in and around Timna in Modern Israel near Eilat.[citation needed] When King David conquered Edom,[6] which up to then had shared a common border with Midian, he took over Eilat, the border city shared by them as well. The commercial port city and copper based industrial center were maintained by Egypt until reportedly rebuilt by Solomon at a location known as Ezion-Geber (I Kings 9:26). In 2 Kings 14:21–22, many decades later, "All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He rebuilt Elath, and restored it to Judah, after his father's death." Later, in 2 Kings 16:6, during the reign of King Ahaz: "At that time the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom, and drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day."

The geology and landscape are varied: igneous and metamorphic rocks, sandstone and limestone; mountains up to 892 metres (2,927 ft) above sea level; broad valleys such as the Arava, and seashore on the Gulf of Aqaba. With an annual average rainfall of 28 millimetres (1.1 in) and summer temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) and higher, water resources and vegetation are limited. "The main elements that influenced the region's history were the copper resources and other minerals, the ancient international roads that crossed the area, and its geopolitical and strategic position. These resulted in a settlement density that defies the environmental conditions."[7]

History

Early history

  • ^ Discovering the World of the Bible, LaMar C. Berrett, (Cedar Fort 1996), page 204
  • ^ Eretz Magazine (3 June 2018), Editorial, The Names Committee: "The issue of Eilat took up another chunk of the committee’s time. In 1949, Eilat did not exist. The city was founded only in 1952. But a place by the name of Eilat appears time and again in the biblical record. It was one of the stations in the wanderings of the people of Israel during the exodus from Egypt. King Solomon built ships on the shore of the Sea of Sof, in the land of Edom at Etzion Gever, which is Eilat. King Azariya of Judah built the city of Eilat, and so on and so forth. However, the location of this place called Eilat or Etzion Gaver remained unclear. On the shore of the gulf, where the big shopping mall of Eilat is today, a small adobe hut stood. The hut served as a British police station called Umm Rashrash. “On the map,” Yeivin explained, “we see a place called Umm Rashrash and next to it the name Eilat. But Eilat was not here. Biblical and Roman Eilat were across the border in Jordan. The name Eilat should be erased from the map.”; “We cannot give up Eilat,” Press retorted, “when the real Eilat finally is in our hands, our settlement will expand and reach over to there.” David Amiran, the geographer, suggested that Eilat should be the name of the settlement that would be built on the shore of the gulf, which should be called the Gulf of Eilat. Ben-Zvi was for eliminating Umm Rashrash from the map together with Etzion Gaver. Eilat is Eilat, he said, musing that maybe the committee should call Umm Rashrash Etzion Gaver and establish Eilat elsewhere. The committee ultimately decided to replace the name Umm Rashrash with Eilat. Etzion Gaver was commemorated on the map by dubbing a well along the coast Be’er Etzion Gever. Today the well is buried under the artificial lagoon in Eilat."
  • ^ Grinzweig, Michael (1993). Cohen, Meir; Schiller, Eli (eds.). "From the Items of the Name Eilat". Ariel (in Hebrew). Ariel Publishing (93–94: Eilat – Human, Sea and Desert): 110.
  • ^