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חוות ערנדל בערבה הדרומית
Founded in 2005 by Keren and Dan Cohen, the 15-acre Arandal Ranch is situated on one of the highest spots in the Arava Valley, some 70 km north of Eilat close to the border with Jordan. The place was used by the Israel Defense Force from 1949 until the early 80’s. Keren and Dan signed a contract with the Israel Land Administration Authority for this piece of land. They rehabilitated it by evacuating 120 tons of military waste and planted 2 orchards: 5 acres of olives and 7 acres of dates. The rest of the area was massively developed (infrastructure, typical Israeli plantations, etc.) with a view to provide a high-standard platform for an innovative agro-tourism initiative. Moreover the entrepreneurs have successfully achieved a statutory approval of this touristic project.
The innovation of this site lies in the fact that it makes use of an abandoned military tract of land that had been severely neglected by the IDF, causing significant environmental damage extending to a perimeter of approximately 5 km. Such innovative civilian use of an army-abandoned spot can be utilized as a model for other projects involving tourism as well, for several reasons:
1. It enables rehabilitation of severely eroded pieces of land.
2. The prior existence of army infrastructure lowers the cost of establishing projects in these areas.
3. Naturally these areas are located on geographically strategic points with fundamental advantages for touristic projects.
4. It will help save virginal open territories as a public asset, and concentrate projects' development in previously used areas.
The site will contain the following features:.
6 B&B’s, a holistic treatment room, an olive press room to produce the local olive oil from the orchard, a beauty spot containing a memorial to the former IDF base, and finally an organic restaurant that will use the local agricultural products including a bar & wine cellar at a restored underground IDF bunker.
The main objective of this project is to establish the Arandal Ranch Restaurant, where:
it will offer the local agricultural products for sale
it will provide food for the guests of the accommodation units
it will enable larger-scale events to take place at the ranch and
it will include a bunker-bar which will be a living piece of history.