The Judean desert is very dry. The western winds, carrying the moisture from the Mediterranean Sea, are blocked by the Jerusalem and Hebron hills and so the land on the eastern side of the water divide receives few rain falls. The average rain fall in the north-eastern section is 100mm, and the average temperatures in the summer time are 40 degrees Celsius in the shade. Few springs are located inside the desert, and year-long streams are found only in several brooks close to the shores of the Dead Sea.
Israel Postcard Hardly any trees can be seen in this barren landscape, and the weed dies out in mid spring. Its few residents – the Bedouins nomads – found ways to survive in this harsh land, by installing or reusing water cisterns that collect the rain from a few winter days, or bring the water from remote springs. In areas closer to Jerusalem, where the water divide passes, there are more trees and plantations. But the more you go eastwards towards the Dead Sea, the landscape turns grey and yellow. The desert descends from the west (Jerusalem) to the east (Dead Sea); the drop in height is 1200m over a width of 20KM (about 6%).
The Bedouins are the only residents in this desert, except for some small modern Jewish settlements that were constructed in the past years. They live in tents and makeshift compounds where they raise their camels, donkeys, goats and sheep.