Tamar Regional Council
As a result of the Dead Sea’s unparalleled minerals and the region’s special environmental conditions, the whole area has given birth to therapeutic and health sites, tourist sites and industry and agriculture. The Tamar region is located in the cradle of human civilization and is also the home to famous historical sites and relics of ancient cultures such as; Massada, Ancient Byzantine Synagogue and others. It is at the heart of intercultural and inter-religious heritage.
The Tamar Regional Council has undergone impressive demographic growth in recent years. The council’s permanent population is 1,350, but more than 2,000,000 tourists and hikers explore the region’s 407,724-acre interior every year.
During the past 50 years, the region has witnessed extensive development in industry, tourism, settlement, research and agriculture. Yet there remains untapped potential. To realize the region’s maximum potential, whilst preserving its natural and cultural heritage values, it is necessary that the residents work together with people from Israel and abroad, who will support, promote and shape the future of this historic and unique part of the world.
The Tamar Regional Council’s Communities
Kibbutz Ein Gedi was established in 1956 and named after an earlier community discovered at the nearby Tel Goren. Ein Gedi is the oldest of the communities in the area. Industries include; tourism: a hotel and spa, sulphur pools, restaurant, botanical garden, hiking center; agriculture: dates, herbs; and manufacturing: the Ein Gal factory. Ein Gedi is in the vicinity of a field school, museum, the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, and ancient synagogue ruins.
Neot Hakikar was set up in 1959 as an experimental farm for the growth of newly adopted salt-resistant plants and raising cattle in desert conditions. The farm was converted into a cooperative settlement in 1973. Its main industries include grains, orchards, and winter vegetables.
Ein Hatzeva was created in 1960 as an agricultural farm. Its main industries include winter vegetables, orchards, and a tourist center with a display of reptiles, gas stations, and a roadside restaurant.
Neve Zohar was first settled in 1970. Later, a modern and spacious regional primary school was established in the communal settlement, and a “build-your-own-home” project is nearing its implementation stage.
Ein Tamar was founded in 1982. Its main industries include winter crops and date plantations. The settlement became a permanent community in the year 2000.
Har Amasa was established in 1984 as a kibbutz. The community is transforming into a communal village, recruiting young couples and entrepreneurs. The community’s economy is based on organic agriculture, orchards, grains, and an infrastructure for high-tech entrepreneurs.
Archeological Sites – there are archeological sites from different periods throughout the council’s locality, of which Ein Gedi and Massada stand out in their uniqueness.
Nature Reserves – Most of the Judean Desert is a nature reserve, with springs and rivers, endemic flora, and protected fauna. The jewel in the crown is the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, which includes the David River and Arugot River.
The Dead Sea, a recreational and curative tourist center – the Dead Sea region combines a rare mix of nature and historical sites with a unique medical center. The Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth (about 417 meters below the level of the Mediterranean Sea) is the remnant of an ancient tongue sea that ran from the Sea of Galilee in the north to Ein Hatzeva in the Arava in the south. The dry, oxygen-rich air is clean from all the environmental pollutants.
The sun’s ultraviolet radiation passes through a natural filter, which makes it possible to get a tan without burning, and is also utilized as a natural treatment for various skin diseases. Natural geothermal curative water sources, rich with minerals, are located along the shores. Combined with black mud baths, these springs are an ideal foundation for health and beauty treatments.
Historical Sites – some of the most famous sites in the world are located in the Judean Desert, including Massada, Qumran, Jericho, Ein Gedi, Roman forts, and monasteries.
Recreational Tourism and Hiking – there are 16 hotels with approximately 5,000 rooms in the area, as well as rural accommodations in the communities. Vacationers and hikers have a wide range of treks and activities to choose from.
Tamarit Community Center – operates workshops and enrichment activities, cultural events, club evenings at the communities, holiday activities, movies, concerts, and more.
Cultural and Sports Events are organized through the Economic Company for the Dead Sea Region Ltd. They include the following:
- Tamar Festival: held annually during the weeklong Sukkot holiday with the participation of some of the best Hebrew musicians and singers.
- Mt. Sdom Bike Race: one of the world’s best-known bicycle cross-country races, organized by the International Cycling Union (UCI), is held every November.
- International half-marathon “Running for Peace” in the name of Giora and Tomer Ron: held every February, is considered one of the largest competitive footraces in Israel. Participants include Israeli and foreign marathoners, people in wheelchairs, children and youths. It comprises of several races from half-marathon run to 2 km walk or run and over 3000 participants every year.
- Dead Sea Convention: an annual convention to discuss the problems of the Dead Sea and attempts to save it.
- Dead Sea Tourism Marketing Agents Convention: an annual event of travel agents and journalists from around the world who come to enjoy the region’s attractions and to spread the news to their clients.
- Opera: an exceptional event at the foothills of the famous Masada Mountain already in its fifth year. The annual event attracts thousands of visitors over one week of superb operatic performances by the Israeli Operatic Society accompanied by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performing all the famous operas from Traviata to Carmen and many more.
- -424 festival: a national outdoor rock festival that attracts 20,000+ visitors to the area over a 24 hour period.
Environment, water, agriculture, science and education, community relations, refuse etc.
The Tamar Regional Council leads the way in the field of research of the Dead Sea: Ecological, Geological, Archeological, Medical, Hydrological and Agricultural. The council is currently working on several projects to improve cross-boundary relations (Jordan and Israel), to enhance tourism to both sides and to improve the quality of life for the settlements on both sides.
The council is committed to the development of community involvement and to strengthening the obligation of the area and development of the command of educational leadership. Projects are in place to intensify the relationship with East Jerusalem. Projects such as improved drainage system, water purification system and creating a river as a bridge to East Jerusalem in order to improve the communities of that area. Whilst working with 13 different schools the Tamar Regional Council will develop a study programme including: teaching of recycling, studying the subject of water as a means for the existence of residents at risk, and establish gardens in the grounds of the East Jerusalem schools.
The region has combined activities on the treatment of mutual problems, for example damage to the environment, pests and vermin and desert agriculture.
The Dead Sea area is considered today as a centre of attraction (magnet) for researchers from all over the world and in 2014 the construction of The University Research Institute at Masada will begin. The institute constitutes a significant regional research (study) centre in the great rift.