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      Lonely Planet: Negev is 'Hot,' Visit Now

      The Lonely Planet travel guide named the Negev as one of the Top Ten Regions to visit in 2013
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 10/26/2012, 1:16 AM

      Desert living in a Negev wadi
      Desert living in a Negev wadi
      Israel news photo: Hana Levi Julian

      The Negev is hot – and not just in terms of the region's weather - according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, one of the most popular guides in the world. It's so hot, in fact, that it rated as the number two best region to visit in the guide's Top Ten Regions of 2013.

      And, says the guide, if you've never been to the Negev, the time to go is now; the pristine nature of the area, the untouched by time feeling in the vast desert's hills, valleys, and caves, is being squeezed out by development. The Negev, in its current form, may not last much longer, said the guide.

      “For decades the Negev was regarded as nothing but a desolate desert,” says the guide. “But today, this region is a giant greenhouse of development. Think eco-villages, spa resorts and even wineries. In the next few years a new international airport at Timna is scheduled to open, followed by a high-speed railway to Eilat and more hotels.”

      But development, and especially the railway, will likely change things, as the region becomes more accessible, with more Israelis likely to visit or even settle in the area. “Time is running out to experience the desert as nature intended,” says the guide; now is the time for a visit to the Negev, before it's too late.