Come Stay celebrate! The story of the Shelter Hostel in Eilat Israel book by John & Judy Pex


During my two week break in Israel, I got the opportunity to relax on my friend’s balcony and read this book I got a few weeks ago.

DSCF8621It took me a long time to find this book in the UK, eventually, it resurfaced on Amazon UK after being out of stock for a while.

The story of John Pex a Dutchman and his wife Judy who is an American Jew traveled around as hippies and found Jesus and later founded a hostel in Eilat, the far-off obscure city at the very bottom of Israel past 5 hours of desert, which as Judy puts in, is to Israel what Alaska and Hawaii is to the US.

The Pexes are really some of the most pioneering members of the modern Messianic Jewish community of Israel.   As well bring Jewish and Arab people to the Lord, they have shared the gospel to African immigrants and to construction workers from Romania and China that built the modern hotels that have transformed Eilat into a busy Red Sea resort for vacationers.  A few people who accepted Jesus in the book I now recognise as leaders of congregations now.

The hostel itself has a welcoming atmosphere and bunk rooms, and an outside seating area, on Fridays they do a Shabbat service with food, and praise and worship in English Hebrew, Spanish and Russian songs.

I’ve stayed here twice now and love this place and the people there.  Regardless if you are Jewish, Christian or not at all religious but visiting this city especially if you are about to pop over to Egypt or Jordan which are so close by, I would highly recommend this place.

If you have stayed here, or would just love to hear how the gospel has been brought to Jewish people in Israel so effectively I would get this book.   I would recommend to the authors if you can find more places to stock this book, it would be better if I could buy it from a retailer in Israel run by believers 🙂

the shelter pano

The outside lounge under a Sukka type structure with a palm trunk, is a great place to make new friends and discuss travel stories. I visited here in 2009

Could Eilat be an online shopping capital of the middle east?

I was in Eilat a few weeks ago, Israel’s most southern corner and at the top of the Red Sea.

Having a teeny little airport which I think only offers flights from Tel Aviv, or drive or get a bus from the rest of country via a 300km road from Jerusalem, it is quite remote, with only Beer Sheva and a few other places in between.

Being far away and with not much employment outside of tourism, Eilat is a bit like the Isle of Wight of Israel.

I thought of an interesting idea, Israel maybe a hi-tech development nation, but its very lacking in online retailing.   As an IT person, its not so easy to go online and buy something and have it in a couple of days like you would have in the UK or US, ok part of this is due to fact this is a small country, but it is a bit inconvenient to purchase a urgently needed specialised computer part, or even a DVD easily online in Israel.

In the UK, if you buy something from, if bought from Amazon’s own stock and not one of their third party sellers, usually your stuff gets shipped from the Channel Islands (to my non-UK friends that’s Jersey or Guernsey, part of the UK but close to France) due to the fact that goods there are VAT free,, CDwow and even Tesco’s online retailing do this too.

I am not sure how Amazon’s US operations are, but think some of the states offer no sales tax.   One of my friends from Switzerland buys his DVDs from much cheaper than the Swiss high street.

Eilat is also a bit unique as the retail outlets, mostly clothing are all VAT-free to encourage tourism and provide jobs there.

Something else I have noticed, and not seen this mentioned anywhere online, is that the post Office in Israel is very cheap.  I think the British Royal Mail have put the prices up by a record 25%, I estimate sending mail (packages of less than 2 kilos) is about a third of the cost of it is domestically and overseas than it is of the UK.

I salvaged the parts of a broken laptop and it cost 28 Shekels (less than £5) to mail the LCD screen (box weighed about 1.3 Kilos) I sold on eBay a couple of weeks ago from Jerusalem to Italy.

Tourist shops selling shells from the Red Sea

Israel could do well and provide jobs to people in Eilat, by making it a central distribution hub to ship items locally and worldwide on the internet, and give people super value for money shopping.

Someone needs to put together a online shop template that works in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian and maybe more languages, so the business owner can set up and sell his stuff with minimal technical know-how and maintenance of the site apart from his stock.

Today’s online retailing in the western world means a lot of dropshipping is done, as the person selling the goods and providing customer service doesn’t have to be the same place as where the stuff is dispatched from.  I have bought a few things of small value from UK, Germany, US and China, needed for my job in Israel online, and only need to pay import duty on one item which was 100 Euros (£80)

Israel needs to continue to grow to support its expanding population (5-10 children is common) so by building economy at the bottom corner of the country makes a lot of sense, especially as David Ben Gurion was a firm believer in building in the desert.


Red Sea dwelling Jellyfish in Eilat

Jellyfish I think are the weirdest of God’s creatures ever.

They aren’t fish, they some completely different genus from shellfish, their transparent gloop-like elasticy of their bodies make them completely unique.

There is no skeleton or rigid structural parts to their bodies, nor do they have any obvious things like eyes and mouth.   The four ‘gland’ type things I can see I wonder is their brain, breathing, reproductive and digestion components?

These ones are everywhere in Eilat, in the top of Red Sea, and they are purply colour.   This adult one is about ten inches across, like a typical sized dinner plate.

Apparently they do sting, but very mildly like a slightly unpleasant rash.    These ones are more like inverted flowers rather than the long decorative tentacle draped lampshade-like ones people think of has been exotic and deadly.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I can’t swim.   This is always and awkward subject, as people look in astonishment and tell me its “easy” and ‘I came 1st in XYZ swimming competitions… blah blah…..”    Geez thanks people.   Shall I go up to a disabled person and laugh and say “haha!! you can’t walk!!”

I had a fear of drowning as a child, combined with the evil swimming teacher woman from hell circa 1985 when I was about 9, in addition to not seeing now how my average 5’10” frame can propel in the surface of the sea without me getting into a panic of inhaling water.   Yes – I have tried.  But prefer to admire the sea no deeper than my knees which suits me fine.

Before I got to see the incredible exotic fish here which rival the sort you would expect from being in the Caribbean or a Pacific Island, I didn’t get to visit the Marine aquarium this time, but the Jellyfish and serene stripey and mauve fish that are a complete world away from fish you see in Southern England are a real treat to see.