Elat or Eilat (both: āˈlät) [key] [Heb., = trees], city (1994 pop. 35,700), S Israel, a port on the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea. It is strategically located near the Sinai peninsula, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and is Israel's gateway to Africa and East Asia. It has some light industry but is known more as a tourist center, with fine beaches, hotels, and an airport. The city is the terminus of an oil pipeline to Haifa. Elat was perhaps identical with, or near, Ezion-geber, a port in Solomon's time (10th cent. B.C.). It was rebuilt by King Uzziah of Judah and lost to the Syrians (8th cent. B.C.) by King Ahaz. The Roman port succeeding Elat was called Aelana or Elana. Elat was resettled in 1949, and its deepwater harbor was opened in 1965. The name is also spelled Elath.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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