Breathe deeply: Arad sits 2,000 feet above sea level and is famous for its dry, pollution-free air and mild climate, ideal for asthma sufferers. The modern town was established by ex-kibbutzniks as a planned community in 1962 and today hosts a growing alternative music and art scene. Its population of nearly 25,000 now includes immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, and until recently, Arad was home to acclaimed Israeli writer Amos Oz.

Arad is often used as a base for excursions to sites in the Dead Sea area. It has an archaeological site and is near Yatir, one of the country's finest desert wineries. You can also take a stroll through the galleries and workshops of Eshet Lot, the artists' quarter.

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Fodor's Essential Israel: with the West Bank and Petra

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