Naturism in Israel

In practice more than twenty years, naturism is a common phenomenon in Israel. We have information about its practice even in the forties, in the labor settlements, and there is a report of nude folk dance in a dining room in one of those settlements. Although limited to very local and separated events, it was real nudism, because the motives were the same as today, i.e. the free feeling and acceptance of the body, but it was not a common phenomenon.
In the sixties an official naturist club was founded with the name "Health and Sun" by a couple who came back from an official mission abroad where they experienced it. The address of the club was a post box in Tel Aviv. They published a monthly magazine associated with the somewhat pornographic journal "Bul". The main purpose of the club was to organize travels to foreign naturist camps and happenings. All I know about this club is that the contribution for membership was very high, and not long after its foundation it was closed because of lack of interest.
After the six day war, in 1967, many looked for solitude in the Sinai dessert on its wonderful shores. After feeling the unity with nature, people found that to be nude was more comfortable, and sought for harmony with their environment. In the beginning it was very separated. One or maybe two together. Very quickly people felt no reason to be ashamed of being nude together with others who shared the feeling, and so developed the behavior of social nudity.
Dhahab, Nuebah and other places on the shore of the Red Sea, became centers for naturism, but among many of these young and new naturists, developed another subculture, that of using drugs. Drug use contradicts the ideology of real naturism, which not only propagates social nudity, but also health of body and mind. The phenomenon of naturism could develop there because in the occupied territories the Israeli law was not in force, and the military commander did not feel the need nor have any time to adopt the Israeli law on this subject into the form of a military order.
After the withdrawal from Sinai, we thought that naturism in Israel came to its end, but many who tasted the good feeling went to the remote beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and continued their way. On the shores of Palmahim, and Ga'ash, small groups were organized which met together on still beaches far from the crowd.
Also on the Dead Sea shore the phenomenon of naturism developed, although there was the problem that there are no remote places far from the crowd.
On the shore in the Ein Gedi area, which is a nature reserve near the David river reserve, naturism developed gradually. It was possible because of the absence of any police control at that time. People entered the Dead Sea without clothes in the early morning or in the evening when only a few people were there. In the middle of the day they smeared black mud on their entire body which has some medical and cosmetic benefits, but is used as a kind of clothing. When they entered the sea to cleanse their bodies from the mud, they took their bathing costumes with them and before returning to the shore they wore it. After some time there was no need for this. Nudity became common on this beach. The special character on this beach is the tolerance. Nude and clothed people live together in peace. Everybody accepts the other, and sometimes friendly contacts are founded. Many times I was invited by clothed people to have a cup of tee or coffee with them, and we talked about any subject not only naturism.
On the Mediterranean shore the situation is different, the naturist and nudist groups are closed and isolated groups which meet together and are not ready to adopt new members. When you approach them, even if you are naked like them, they will hint to you or even order you to look for another place. Once I was even witness to violence between people on this basis.
Two years ago there was an interview on television with Meir Horowits, a member of a new naturist group. He said that in his group are about twenty members. They once publicized an advertisement for new members and received about 200 reactions. Of those only three were women. So they accepted the three women and another three men to keep the balance between the sexes.
He did not want to answer on the question where and how the members of the group meet together. In other words we again have a secret and closed group. This is a situation we want to change by this site.
We have two reports of an nude group organized by a Kibbutz member in the north of the country, operating in the area of Atlith not far from Haifa, but both reports talked about sexual activity during the gatherings.
Not long ago we met this group, which changed its character completely, many members were thrown out, including that Kibbbutz member, all the for naturism negative behaviors were eliminated, new members addopted through introduction of friends, and today the group has about thirteen members.
This group has now strong and friendly contacts with the INS, and some people are members of both, further we organize joint activities.
When the INS started, another organization started, with nearly the same name (INO Israeli Naturist Organization), the founder, a person involved in travel affaires and nominated by the International Naturist Federation as its correspondent here in Israel, operated separately about half a year without knowing us.
After the founder of this "organization", saw our site, he contacted us, and participated in one of our activities, he expressed his wish to join us, but he did not collaborate or participate others than to promote its own (maybe economic) interests.
In practice it became clear that this organization is fictive only, people who would like to become members of the INF, were forced to become members of this so called INO.
After behavior which is to our opinion against the fundamentals and spirit of real naturism, (lies and slander as power game) we canceled all contacts with this person.
Now we are trying to establish direct contacts with the INF, but until now in vain.
The situation today
On the beautiful beaches of Habonim near Haifa and Ziqim near Ashqelon in the south sometimes individual naturism is frequently practiced.
There are plans for opening an official naturist area on a very suitable location where even in winter time the temperature enables one to be without clothing. There is a will. There is a sponsor for the money.
A local authority is interested in reserving a part of the beach for naturist bathing
A settlement in the south of the country is planning a naturist recreation village.
It is difficult to achieve the official permission, because an old, not enforced Mandatory law, makes it difficult to achieve the needed official permission.
Even the current government dependents also on the very orthodox parties which will prevent any attempt to change the law and are prone to cause a crisis on this subject, therefore it is wise to keep it quiet, and to wait for more receptive times.
On our initiative, a swimming pool in the center of the country is planning to open its pool for naturists during one evening in the week.
Our society has existed now for more than two years, in some of the above mentioned plans we are involved. We have more than 200 members. It is the largest naturist group in Israel and the whole Middle East We are open for everybody, singles as well as for couples. The couples are the majority, but we have male as well as female singles. We organize gatherings in different places in the country. We enjoy very enthusiastic and active members who are ready to drive some hours to come to the gatherings.
We want make and keep contacts with all the existing groups to promote naturism in Israel, but we do think there is place for the existing of separated groups in order to keep the differences in characters, as "family oriented", "gender balance", "singles friendly", but important is that we know to find each other to unite the power.
We have very friendly contacts with naturist, naturist groups and clubs abroad, some times we enjoy guests from abroad during our gatherings, and guide them where they can enjoy naturism in Israel.
A large part of Israel is desert, it was a all desert in sense of naturism, but we are witness that also in this subject irrigation is taking place, with already fruitful results.
This year the Israel Naturist society became the national federation of naturism in Israel affiliated to the
INF-FNI - The International Naturist Federation.

By:Pinhas Baraq