Dr. Benny Shalmon, an ecologist in Eilat, explains: This is the first large storm in the southern third of the Negev since the late 1990s. Some years there's no rain at all, often there's a drizzle here or there. It takes a good storm, that fills the gullies and the waterholes and thoroughly wets everything, to give the desert ecosystem a push to last for another few years.
Those with any choice in the matter might want to schedule a hike to the southern Negev this spring. It will be washed and green, as much as a desert can be.
(It's also an area where no Palestinians lived, ever, and there's no bi-national conflict to be seen. Just desert, with all the harsh beauty that entails.)