photographs by Nino Shaya Weiss
The lion sleeps in the sun
Its nose is on its paws.
It can kill a man.
(from “Poetry Is a Destructive Force” by Wallace Stevens)
THE eastern edge of the Judean Desert and the northernmost parts of the Negev Desert around the city of Arad and bordering the Dead Sea are most spectacular. Arad is on that border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, nestled in the hills. The city was founded in November 1962 as an Israeli development town, the first planned city in Israel. Nothing is really outstanding about it. Everything is uniformly arid, dry, stony and rocky, as far as the eye can reach.
The human traces in the landscape are lonely signs of civilization: AC units on roofs, utility lines and roads. Masada stands out in the middle – or better, on top – of nowhere. An old dried out mikvah is a remnant of the fight between man and nature for civilization in the middle of the desert. In this hostile landscape, the eye yearns to glean for signs of humanity, burned by the sun and dried by the winds, on the border between human civilization and nature.