A group of Russian Jewish tycoons spent the three days before the Passover seder hiking in the Arava desert in a modern reenactment of the Exodus from Egypt.
The billionaire oligarchs, all members of the Russian Jewish Congress, trekked 35 kilometers, rode camels, slept in Bedouin tents, and baked matza in preparation for the festive seder meal, which was celebrated in the luxurious style to which they are accustomed at the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem.
Participants in the journey included Mikhail Fridman, the richest Jew in Russia; banker Boris Mintz; gaming magnate Boris Belotserkovsky; academic and businessman Andrei Rappaport; oil tycoon Yuri Zlobinsky; and the two top officials of the Russian Jewish Congress, Yury Kanner and Benny Briskin.
Before embarking on the trip Russian Jewish Congress president Kanner told Israel Hayom, “Israelis forget sometimes that Israel is a homeland for all Jews, not just for Israelis. If we don’t live here, at least we can stand facing Jerusalem. We decided to have the Passover seder here [in Israel] and we will also walk through the desert just like our forefathers did.”
“It was amazing to see how they enjoyed themselves,” Briskin told Maariv after the intrepid travelers reached their 5-star destination and reconnected their cellular phones. “The desert does something to people, even those of such high status. It gives people insights that they wouldn’t have in everyday life. We spent quality time together and had fascinating conversations about philosophy.”