Situated 50km north of Eilat, Ketura is exceptional in two ways: it has transformed itself from a purely agricultural kibbutz into a leader in innovative eco-technology, and it has a pluralistic approach to Judaism. It is home to the internationally renowned Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (http://arava.org), which conducts research into desert biodiversity, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and trans-boundary water management. Tours (1½ hours) are free if you're staying in the guesthouse or 250NIS per group otherwise.

The Arava Institute runs semester-long environmental-studies programs, accredited through Ben-Gurion University, that bring together students from around the world. The kibbutz, founded in 1973, also has a date plantation, Israel's first photovoltaic solar field and an algae factory producing the powerful antioxidant Astaxanthin.