Ariela Mader and Eli Gonen,
Sheraton Israel president
and CEO

Sheraton Moriah Dead Sea –
Earth’s Low Point For Lofty Ideals


HEN Israelis and Jordanians made up their mind to climb the highest mountain to grasp that elusive olive branch, they got together at the lowest point on the face of the earth. They met at the Dead Sea.

Ariela Mader remembers those days in 1993 when the peace parley was held at the Sheraton Moriah. She met Jordan’s water minister, who was quite impressed with her. He told Israel’s chief negotiator Elyakim Rubenstein, “When you come to Jordan, bring Ariela.”

Ariela made the trip across the border in the press bus. At the checkpoint, Jordanian soldiers checked the credentials of every person. Ariela had no press pass so they hauled her off the bus.

Mr. Taranveh (left) heads Jordanian delegation at peace
talks at Sheraton Moriah Dead Sea

“I was never so frightened in my life,” she says. Not to worry. The minister sent his car to bring her.

Ariela had been manager of the communications center for Yitzhak Rabin’s 1992 campaign. After he was elected prime minister, she joined Moriah Hotels public relations until the chain merged with Sheraton last July. Since then Ariela has been Sheraton Israel’s glamorous spokesperson.

Ariela gave me and Nina a personal tour of the magnificent Sheraton Moriah Dead Sea. Facing the hotel, across the Dead Sea, are the Edom Mountains in Jordan. Behind the hotel are the mountains of the Judean Desert. In either direction, the view is breathtaking. We took a long moment to gaze, and breathe in the oxygen-rich pollution-free air.

Ariela Mader

We found that the hotel/spa offers a remarkable range of health and beauty facilities that make for a relaxing and revitalizing vacation experience.

Etti Elmakis, the spa director, is very proud of her services. She oversees 36 treatment rooms (with one suite for couples), two sulphur baths, the largest Jacuzzi in the area, plus a private solarium for people with skin problems.”

“We are always adding new treatments,” she said, “and they are intensive. The most popular are the mud, sulphur and massage. I recommend the seaweed treatment to slim the hips.”

Of course, I did what every visitor to the 10 Dead Sea hotels do – I went into the pool, which is 11 percent sulphur. Due to the high salt content of the mineral-rich Dead Sea, you can’t swim or touch bottom – you just float. Very relaxing.

Room for two – the only one of its kind in Israel – where
treatment for a couple is given. How romantic!

We had come from Jerusalem by taxi, a 90-minute drive in the awesome solitude of the Negev. The next day we set out for our next destination, Eilat, at the southernmost tip of the country. Compared to Jerusalem, it really is another world. That’s our next story.



His Holiness Pope John Paul II boards EL AL Israel
Airlines flight to Rome with entourage of 45,
plus 76 journalists.

Gift of Life from EL AL
Ensures Pope’s Presence

hrough a “Gift of Life” from EL AL Israel Airlines, the papal presence will be felt in the Holy Land long after the pope’s visit. While the pontiff was flying back to Rome, EL AL chairman Joseph Ciechanover and president Joel Feldschuh presented him with an olive tree sapling.

The sapling was then returned to Israel where it will be planted along with 1,999 other saplings in the Pilgrim’s Grove section of the Millennium Forest overlooking Nazareth in the Galilee. This special grove commemorates the historic visit of John Paul II.

“We put much into choosing an appropriate gift for the pope,” Feldschuh said. “We wanted it to be a meaningful remembrance that would connect the Holy See with the Holy Land.”

Providing First and Business Class during the flight aboard EL AL’s new 747-400 was an Italian-speaking cabin crew of 19 flight attendants of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.

The Vatican committee responsible for the hosting and transport of pilgrims to Israel in 2000 had appointed EL AL as Official Airline to the Holy Land.

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Editor’s Note: What was your vacation like? Share your experience, good or bad, with our readers. Email to travel@15minutesmagazine.com. Please include full name, address, phone number and email.


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