Driving On Route 10 — Israel’s Spectacular Road Along The Egyptian Border
This weekend I — and a few other daring motorists — took the IDF up on their offer to open sections of Highway 10 to civilian access for a few days.
For those who don’t share my fascination with international borders, Highway 10 is an Israeli road that parallels the Egyptian border from near Eilat through to its termination near Rafah and the Gaza Strip in the west.
After a number of cross-border attacks from Sinai-based militia, the IDF now only allow civilians to drive on the road during specific dates of the year.
September 2012 southern Israel cross-border attack - Wikipedia
September 2012 southern Israel cross-border attack refers to an incident on 21 September 2012, when three Egyptian…
These days — given the very sparse use it sees — Highway 10 is a somewhat challenging surface to drive on.
It consists of one windy road across meandering desert mountain territory with unspoiled views across Israel’s Negev desert, and of the border fence, every few hundred meters.
During the 90 minutes it took my wife and I to drive the windy stretch between Tzomet HaSayarim and the day’s exist near Nitzana we encountered only a handful of other vehicles, most of those bearing the black registration plates of the IDF. Regular layoffs are positioned along the road and needed to let approaching traffic pass.
Various sightseeing posts are positioned alongside it offering incredible views across the Egyptian northern Sinai (territory that Israel held for a period).
These include the viewpoint post at Mount Horesha which has a small staircase leading to the mountain’s peak which is located almost 1,000 meters above sea level.
These were easy to find by Googling in Hebrew (“כביש 10”) although — not wanting to drive several hours through the desert for no reason — I also confirmed these by calling the IDF. To my surprise they picked up the phone within seconds and confirmed the upcoming opening date.
Despite this, the IDF situated several informal checkpoints along the road and we had to explain where we got on and where we were heading a few times over. This is done in order to confirm that civilians do not remain in the area — which is otherwise a closed military zone.
Immediately across the border — a few dozen meters from the course of the road — is Egypt.
The Egyptian army maintains a lengthy network of border posts which are adorned with the colors of the Egyptian flag and (for bases) a mixture of cream and red. Occasionally, Egyptian soldiers can be seen on foot patrol along the fence.
The border fence itself, between Israel and Egypt, is an imposing seven meter high steel structure. Attacks during its construction led to the army’s decision to close the road off for regular civilian access (an old signpost near its entrance testified to the fact that, before this event, civilians were required to be armed in order to drive along the road).
Israel’s border with Egypt has long been associated with both human trafficking and drug smuggling.
In response to these factors — and the threat posted by ISIS and other militant groups active in the north of the Sinai Peninsula — Israel completed a major upgrade to the border fence in 2017, raising its height to 8 meters in part. The border was first fully completed in 2014.
Hebrew Resources (with opening dates)
נסיעה בכביש 10 - תיירות הר הנגב
כביש 10, כביש הגבול המערבי של מדינת ישראל, הוא אחד הכבישים היפים ביותר בארץ. כביש 10 הוא גם ציר ההגעה הנוח ביותר למרחב…