An Israeli woman wearing a unicorn mask at the Midburn festival, modeled after the popular Burning Man festival held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, in the desert near the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker on June 6, 2014. Oded Balilty / AP
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NEGEV DESERT, Israel — For the Bedouin Arab shepherds tending their flocks in Israel's Negev desert last week, it was almost as if aliens had landed from outer space.
Some 3,000 people set up a colorful encampment in the dusty moonscape, swinging from hoops by day and burning giant wooden sculptures by night.
It was Midburn, Israel's first Burning Man festival, modeled after the popular carnival held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Midburn is a mix of "midbar," Hebrew for desert, and the English word "burn."
For five days, participants — mostly Israelis — created a temporary city dedicated to creativity, communal living and what the festival calls "radical self-expression."
Some came costumed in cape or corset. Others, from babies to grandparents, went nude. Participants brought their own food and water, and shared with others. The only thing on sale was ice because of the scorching heat.