Decades ago, during the ‘Glaznost Aliyah,’ thousands of Russians escaped to Israel from the Soviet Union with the clothes on their backs — and from the looks of it, they haven’t changed them since. Eilat was full of Russian-descent tourists during our visit, and they are, alas, easy to spot, especially on the beach, where they shed their mismatched polyester casual wear and plod around in very tiny bathing suits. I was delighted to find myself the thinnest middle aged woman on the shore.
Eilat is a VAT-free (duty free) town. The good news: there are lots of fashion outlet stores. The bad news: many of the mid-market designer labels, like Golf and Fox, will be unknown to non-Israelis.
(Don’t be alarmed by all the guys sporting t-shirts reading “CASTRO”; that’s just one of the country’s top casual clothing labels.)