Tuesday, May 15, 2012



Kibbutz Nirim was established in June 1946 as part of the 11 points in
the Negev plan aimed at establishing a Jewish presence in the Negev in
order to claim it as part of a future Jewish state. It was named after the
Nir brigade of the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, some of whose
members helped establish the kibbutz, and was originally established
on a site now known "Dangour" or "Old Nirim". At the outbreak of the
1948 Arab–Israeli War on 15 May 1948, the kibbutz was first Jewish
settlement in Israel to be attacked by the Egyptian army, in the Battle
of Nirim. It had 39 defenders. During the battle, the Egyptians came
within 25 meters of the kibbutz perimeter and eight of the kibbutz
defenders were killed, before Egyptians withdrew. All of the houses
were destroyed in the attack.]

Nirim remained an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) outpost against the
Egyptian army throughout the war. After the war, the IDF wanted the
site because of its strategic location, while the kibbutzniks wanted to
move north, to the line of 200 millimeters of rain a year, so the kibbutz
moved some 15 kilometers northeast to its present location, next to the
site of an ancient synagogue at Horvot Maon.


The synagogue and its mosaic floor were discovered during a
construction of a road in 1957.

The original date of the synagogue is uncertain but is before the 6th
century. In a sixth century renovation, the northern wall was opened
and a semi-circular apse to contain a Torah Ark was constructed. The
floor level was raised and marble columns and a beautiful mosaic floor

At the bottom of the mosaic floor is a amphora flanked by a pair of
peacocks. A vine flows out of the amphora, forming loops. In each
loop is a bird, animal, fruit, or a depiction of steps in the wine making
process. The design is so similar to the mosaics in the church floor at
nearby Shallal that they are thought to have been designed by the
same artist. Both floors depict animals and have similar patterns: the
synagogue floor is distinguished by a menorah flanked by two lions
and several other Jewish ritual objects. Alongside the menorah are the
symbols of Judah, palm trees and lions. Ethrogs, a shofar and a lulav
are depicted nearby. The Mosaic has an inscription in Aramaic. The
upper part of the inscription blesses all members of the community,
the lower part honors three donors. An identical floor was found in the
ancient synagogue in Gaza.



The Steel Division (84th Division) of the Israeli Army, under the
command of General Israel Tal, fought in the north of the Sinai Desert
in the 6-day War. They captured the Rafiah area on the present border
with Egypt and continued through Sinai to the Suez Canal.

The monument is situated by road 232, behind Moshav Yahad. It was
designed by Israel Godovitz and was originally erected in Yamit on the
Sinai coast on 5th June 1977, exactly 10 years after the war. It had
295 concrete poles with tank parts on top. When Sinai was evacuated
in 1982 after the peace agreement with Egypt, the monument was

The monument was rebuilt at its present site. It now has 400 concrete
poles. In the centre is a 25 metre high observation tower.



This stream is mentioned in the Bible:

1 Samuel 30:9-10

 9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the
brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.

 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who
were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.

The Besor Stream is one of the largest and most impressive streams in
Israel, with a drainage area of 3,400 sq km. It forms a border between
settlement in the northern part of the country and the desert. The
stream reaches the sea at Gaza. Along its sides is thick and varied
stream vegetation and above it is Tel Sharuhen, an archeological site

which was a part of a chain of settlements along the Besor Stream. It
was inhabited from the Bronze Age and until the Roman period. The
Besor Stream is crossed by an 80 meter long suspended rope bridge,
the only one of its kind in Israel, which provides the travelers with
a unique experience. Near the northern part of the Besor Stream is
the Eshkol Park, which is also known as HaBesor National Park, and
includes lawns and an artificial lake.



Mitzpe Revivim (Revivim Observatory) was established in 1943, along
with Bet Eshel and Gevulot, as an agricultural experiment station in the
Negev. A small group, cut off from other Jewish settlements, set out to
conquer the wilderness and thus determine the fate of the Negev and
its inclusion within the State of Israel. The settlers' first home was a
cave - a Byzantine water hole, originally dug by the Nabateans along
the Spice Route. Their first task was to plow a furrow. The land had
been purchased from the Bedouin but, under Turkish law, a further step
was necessary: the land had to be cultivated, so plowing was the first

They named their new community Mitzpe (outpost) Revivim (rain).

In the first year, they constructed the enclosure and castle. During the
War of Independence, Revivim was cut off until the Egyptian invasion
was halted at Bier Asluge. The siege of the Negev was not over until
Operation Horev in December 1948.

After the war, the settlers moved to an adjacent hill and established the
permanent location where Kibbutz Revivim now resides. In 1983, the
obsevatory - its buildings, bunkers and hidden ammunition stores - was
reconstructed and turned into a museum of the settlement history and
period, attracting many visitors, both adult and youth.


After Independence in 1948 the Negev was split up into new Moshav’s
(agricultural villages), with 40 dunams for each family. However the
immigrants had no agricultural training and so the results were not
very good. In the 1980s it was decided to do things differently – each
family was given just 3.5 dumans on which to grow 1 niche product.
This plan succeeded and the farms became profitable. Israel is now the
second largest exporter of avocadoes in the world (after Mexico).



1946 warning sign

Ruhama is a kibbutz in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The original
settlement established in 1911, is considered the first modern Jewish
settlement in the Negev,

Located around ten kilometres east of Sderot and surrounded by a
nature reserve, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Sha'ar HaNegev
Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 399.

Ruhama was first established in 1911 as a workers farm, on
land purchased in the same year from the village of Jamama by
the "Remnant of Israel" company, set up by Russian Jews in Moscow,
under the leadership of Simon Velikovsky to invest money in Jewish
agricultural settlements in the Land of Israel. At first all water had to
be bought and brought from the Arabs in the village. An artesian well
was dug in 1912, and a rather plentiful supply of water was found at a
depth of fifty meters. The group also included members of the socialist
Zionist movement Hashomer Hatzair. However, the initial settlers were
expelled by the Ottoman Turks in 1917; a dilapidated museum building
is all that is left of that original settlement. The artesian well prompted
the Allied forces under General Allenby to select Ruhama as their
headquarters from which base they conquered Palestine.

HaShomer used the Ruhama farm as its main forward base along the
Gaza-Beersheva line.

Two subsequent attempts to re-establish the settlement during the
period of the British Mandate were curtailed by the Arab riots in 1929
and 1936. The kibbutz was eventually successfully re-established in
1944. During what was called the “Black Sabbath” in 1946 the British
searched the kibbutz and found illegal arms. They destroyed the well.

In 1947 a pipe was constructed to bring water to the kibbutz, but the
Arabs kept damaging the pipe, so in 1948 a new well was built.

The kibbutz economy is based on four agricultural branches: field
crops, irrigated cultivation, orchards and henhouses, but agricultural
crops do not generate enough income to support the kibbutz, so to
earn a living, many of Ruhama's members have taken jobs outside
the kibbutz. The kibbutz operates a factory which produces brushes,
including toothbrushes, which are exported. In 1984, Ruhama
established a PCB design company.

Like many kibbutzim, Ruhama went through a process of privatization
in the late 1990s. A symbol of how greatly times have changed, the
kibbutz cut community services like the dining room, so that every
family now cares for itself.

Atar Ha-Rishonim, or The Negev Pioneers, just outside the fence
surrounding the kibbutz, is where the first Jewish settlers in modern
times settled in the Negev. The site includes several buildings and a
well, as well as farming tools used almost 100 years ago.


There is a 360 degree view from this viewpoint.

To the north can be seen:
Galilee hills
Har Moreh
Har Tavor

To the left Nazareth and further left Migdal Haemek.
The Yarden Star Crusader fort.
In the middle is the hills is a dip where the Yarmuch River runs.
To the right (east) Jordan, including the town Irbid, and Beit Shean.
To the south west there is Faqwa and Jenin.
To the west the Carmel range can be seen.

This is a good place to show tourists the total width of Israel. It takes 3 minutes to
fly across the country.

On this hill there is also an ancient grape press (gat). Pressing of grapes was
done barefoot because if shoes had been worn, they would have also crushed the
pips, which would have made the juice bitter.


There is a magnificent view from this hill.

Below are Kibbutz Hefzi-Ba and Kibbutz Beit Alfa, and their fish ponds can be
seen. There is also Shata prison.

All the trees on the Gilboa range were planted by KKL. There is no natural tree
growth. After Passover “Wheat Art” is made with a tractor in the fields below and
can be seen from this viewpoint.

The battle of Samuel against the Philistines took place below. This is where he
and his sons were killed.

1 Samuel 31

Saul Takes His Life

 1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and
many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his
sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting
grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him

 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these
uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”

   But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword
and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his
sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all
his men died together that same day.

 7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the
Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their
towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.

 8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and
his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his
armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim
the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in
the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

 11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12
all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the
bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where
they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk
tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.



The ruins of the synagogue, which dates from the 6th century CE, were discovered
in 1928 by members of Kibbutz Beit Alpha and Kibbutz Hefzi-Ba. It is located in
Kibbutz Hefzi-Ba, at the foot of Mount Gilboa. The site was excavated in 1929 by
E L Sukenik of the Hebrew University.

The mosaic floor is one of the most beautiful discovered in Israel. The synagogue
included a central hall with 2 aisles, that were separated from the hall by 2 rows
of columns. On the southern wall is a semi-circular niche, where the Holy Ark
probably stood. Underneath was a small cavity covered with stone slabs, which
served as the synagogue Genizah. The women’s gallery seems to have been in
the balcony, over the aisles. The structure was covered with a tiled roof, remains
of which were found in the main hall.

On the floor of the main hall is an elaborate, well-preserved mosaic. The part
near the ark depicts Jewish ritual objects – a Holy Ark flanked by lions, birds and

menorot, surrounded by animals, fruit and geometric designs. The central section
of the mosaic contains a zodiac with the symbols for the months, and their names
in Hebrew and Aramaic. In the centre is a picture of the sun god, Helios and in
the 4 corners, figures of women, symbolizing the 4 seasons of the year. The
zodiac was probably used just for decorative purposes, as this was a synagogue
and not a temple for idol worship.

At the base of the mosaic is a depiction of the sacrifice of Isaac, accompanied by
passages in Hebrew. There are 2 inscriptions near the main entrance: “The well
remembered artists who carried out this work, Marianus and his son Hanina” in
Greek and “The mosaic was laid in the year of the rein of Emperor Justinus for the
price of 100 measures of grain donated by the villagers” in Aramaic.

The use of synagogues started in Babylon after the destruction of the 1st Temple.

8 synagogues from the 2nd Temple period have been found in Israel at: Gamla,
Herodian, Messada, Jericho, Modiin, Kiryat Safer, Shvilat Edri and Migdal. Jesus
used to visit the synagogues in each community he visited.

At first, synagogues were used as a kind of community centre for the purpose of
religious learning of Torah and Mitzvot, and for public ceremonies. They were
simple buildings. After the 2nd Temple was destroyed synagogues were also
used for prayer. Older synagogues were decorated with geometric designs and
later it became fashionable to lay elaborate mosaic floors with Greek symbols
(astrological and Greek gods). 250 synagogues from the Byzantine period have
been found in Israel.

Also at Kibbutz Hefzi-Ba is a small Japanese garden, donated by the Japanese
Mokoya cult. These people come to this kibbutz for a period of a year, and built
the garden.



The Harod Spring is the westernmost of a group of springs flowing from the foot
of Mount Gilboa. The Gilboa range is made of limestone, which causes water
to seep down to its base, and springs to form there. This spring flows from fault
lines that cross the Gilboa range on a northwest-southeast axis. The sweet water

emerges from Gideon’s cave at a rate of approx 360 cubic metres per hour.

Where the spring emerges is called Gideon’s cave. This is where Gideon chose
his soldiers to fight against the Midianites.

Judges 7

1 Early next day, Jerubbaal (Gideon) and all the troops with him encamped at En-
harod, while the camp of Midian was in the plain to the north of him at Gibeath-

32,000 men initially answered Gideon’s call to arms, but after a preliminary
selection, he was left with 10,000. G-d then ordered Gideon to take the troops
down to the water, where G-d would make a selection.

Judges 7

4-8 Then the Lord said to Gideon “set apart all those who lap up the water with
their tongues like dogs from those who get down on their knees to drink”. Now
those who lapped the water with their mouths by hand numbered 300. Then the
Lord said to Gideon “I will deliver you and I will put Midian into your hands through
the 300 lappers, let the rest of the troops go home.

With the aid of these 300 mean, Gideon defeated the Midianites in a surprise night

Yehoshua Hankin came to Israel with the first aliya. He had means and decided
to become a realtor. He bought and sold land for profit. After the 1903 Zionist
Conference (when Keren Keyemet for Israel was also formed), he became a
Zionist and decide to buy as much land as he could and donate it for Jewish
settlement. In total he bought and donated over 600,000 dunams, including
35,000 in the Jezreel Valley.

In 1921 Kibbutz Ein Harod was founded on land purchased by Hankin. This was
the first settlement in the mosquito infested Valley. Other kibbutzim were also
founded in the area and the swamps drained.

Yehoshua and Olga Hankin decided to settle in the Jezreel Valley and in 1932
started to build a house above Gideon’s cave on the side of Mount Gilboa. The
house was completed in 1936, but they were never to live in it. Yehoshua decided
the house would become a museum telling the story of land purchases and
settlement in the Jezreel and Harod valleys. The Hankins are buried in a “2nd
Temple style” tomb next to the house.

West of the house and tomb is a memorial to residents of the Jezreel Valley who
fell in Israel’s wars.

Charles Ord Wingate, a British solder in Palestine, was a great bible reader
and became friendly with Haim Strumer. He consequently spent a lot of time in
the area and Gideon was one of his heroes. Arab riots started in 1936 and in
1938 he set us the SNS (Special Night Squads). These units consisted of half
British and half Jewish solders to guard British instillations. In the 1948 War of
Independence, his wife come to Ein Harod and donated her husband’s bible to the
kibbutzniks, to inspire them to fight for their kibbutz.



The tel is at the junction of the roads though the Jezreel Valley, road 675 from
east to west, and road 60 from north to south.

On the tel was a rectangular, walled palace, with 4 towers at the corners. It
belonged to the Israelite king Ahab. Each new Israelite kings dynasty set up a
new capital. Ahab’s capital was Shomron, which has been set up by his father,
King Omri.

Ahab was a very strong and rich ruler, and built his second palace at Tel Jezreel.
Many ivory artifacts were found there, including ivory furniture. He married the
Phoenician king’s daughter, Jezebel.

1 Kings 21

Naboth’s Vineyard

 1 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the
Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
2 Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden,
since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you
prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

 3 But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of
my ancestors.”

 4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I

Hazel Perez

will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” He lay on his bed sulking and
refused to eat.

 5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you

 6 He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your
vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I
will not give you my vineyard.’”

 7 Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat!
Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the
elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. 9 In those letters she wrote:

   “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people.
10 But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has
cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

 11 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the
letters she had written to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a
prominent place among the people. 13 Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him
and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed
both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. 14
Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned to death.”

 15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to
Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he
refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth
was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

 17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet
Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he
has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have
you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the
LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your
blood—yes, yours!’”

 20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

   “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the
eyes of the LORD. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out
your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. [a] 22
I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of
Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

Hazel Perez

 23 “And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the
wall of Jezreel.’

 24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed
on those who die in the country.”

 25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the
LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going
after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

 27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted.
He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

 28 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how
Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not
bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

On 3.9.1260 CE the Battle of Ayn Jalut (the Arabic name for spring) took place
in the Jezreel Valley. This was between the Monguls, under Genghis Khan’s
grandson, Hulegu (basis of the word hooligan) coming from the north via what
is now Syria, and the Mamalukes, mercenaries from Egypt, led by Sultan Kotuz.
Before the battle, approx two thirds of the Mongul troops had to return Mongolia,
leaving only 10,000 to fight the Mamalukes, who had a force of 15,000. The
Mamalukes won the battle and stopped a Mongolian capture of Europe and
the Middle East. A month later, one of the Mamaluke commanders, Baibars,
murdered Kotuz and became Sultan.

Up until 1948 there was an Arab village on the tel call Zarin. In April 1948, after
3 tries, the Palmach captured the site. There is a memorial to the fallen of the 4 th
Brigade of the Palmach on the Tel.


The Jezreel Valley is the gateway between the east and west of the country – the
place it can be transversed easily, without climbing hills.

In Hellenistic times, Tel Megiddo became too small for its inhabitants and they
moved to a larger area below. The settlement was named Otnai. In 122 CE
Adrianus built a basis for a Roman legion in Otnai and the name was changed to
Legio. Caesar Diocletyanus changed the name to Maximyanosopolis, but under
Muslim rule the name became Lajun. There was an Arab village there under the
same name until 1948.

The British built a police station nearby, which today is a prison.

Many biblical battles took place in the Jezreel Valley, including the battles of
Devorah and Barak, Gideon against the Mideonites, and Samuel against the

Judges 4


 1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, now that Ehud was dead.
2 So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in
Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3

Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the
Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help.

 4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.
5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the
hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes
decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to
him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand
men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera,
the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River
and give him into your hands.’”

 8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t

 9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are
taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands
of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned
Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah
also went up with him.

 11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab,
Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near

 12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13
Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his
nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.

 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera
into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount
Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed
Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his
chariot and fled on foot.

 16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all
Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on
foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance
between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t
be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

 19 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave
him a drink, and covered him up.

 20 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks
you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him
while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the
ground, and he died.

 22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet
him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with
her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.

 23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the
hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until
they destroyed him.

Friday, May 4, 2012



The contents of the sand were checked with a magnifying glass in their natural state, and then after having HCL dripped on them:

Sand is made up of crystals of 80-90% Quartz (white), 7-10% Calcite (yellow) and
3-5% dark minerals containing iron (black).

In its natural state black, yellow and white crystals can be seen.  After having HCL dripped on it, less black and yellow, and more white crystals can be seen.

Sand has contains Quartz than sandstone.

Waves, produced by the wind, bring the sand to the beach (from the Sahara to Israel). The direction the waves hit the beach depends on the direction of the wind.  The sand is then swept straight out to sea, and then brought in again on more waves.  As the direction of the wind in Israel is usually from the south west, the sand is carried north east by the waves, lands on the beach and is then carried westwards out to sea again.  The process continually moves sand northwards along the shore.

Dry sand on the beach can only be carried about 30 cm by the wind before it lands again.  It is then picked up by the wind and carried on again.  If the sand in the wind hits something solid, it stops traveling and builds up.  This can eventually form dunes.

With rain, the Calcite in dunes dissolves and sinks to the bottom.  The water then evaporates.  The Calcite wraps around the Quartz and eventually sandstone rock is formed.  Sandstone is a fossilized dune, and eventually makes low ridges along the shoreline.



See map for route and pages at back.

Rocks, soil, water, plants and people are all connected and interdependent.  The connection was checked during this tour.   In order to prove this connection, it must be checked in 50-100 different places, not just 1 or 2.

Plants are at the bottom of the land food chain.

What are the basic requirements for a plant to grow?

1.  Photosynthesis
CO2 + H20 + light (inorganic) produce Glucose + 02 (organic)
CO2 is absorbed via the pores of the leaves and H20 via the roots from the earth.
Chlorophyl (the green colouring) absorbs the light.

2.  Minerals

3.  Water, for:
a)  photosynthesis
b)  to dissolve the minerals
c)  to bring the minerals to the plant

Temperature is also important.  Different plants like different temperatures, climates, light, topography.

Plants grow in a certain social pattern.  There are 1 or 2 dominant plants and several others in any given area.

At Station 1 types of rock were identified:

HCL 5% can be dripped on to rock.  If it bubbles there is Calcite in the rock.  Further identification can be achieved by scratching the rock where the HCL was dripped.

Also identified were the corresponding types of soil and plant life.

At Station 2 there are 2 archeological sites, probably from the Byzantine period.  One is an olive press and the other is a burial cave in the rock.  Inside the case are several holes to graves, with a large hole in the middle, which probably leads to the grave of the head of the family.  This kind of cave would have been owned by a rich family/person.  The entrance is decorated.  Carved writing states it is Marinus’ grave. There are also Roses and a Tabula Ancetta.

Changes in the type of rock result in changes in the types of plants growing.  A fault can cause the type to rock and consequently types of plants to suddenly change.  A change in plants is evidence of a fault. 
This can be seen at Station 3.

Station 4 is also an archeological site, probably from the 4th century CE.  There is a limestone well and some houses.  The outside walls of the houses were built from limestone as it was more durable, and the inside walls from chalk.

At Station 5 the type of rock was checked again to see how it differs with height.

At Station 6 there is a view of both sides of the Rakit Stream valley.  Tests of the types of rocks, soil and plants here show how sunlight and rainfall can effect these, according to the direction the slope of a valley faces.



Hesepa was a Byzantine settlement, which later became Jewish.  Today it is a Druze village named Usefiya.

Kibbutz Beit Oren is situated right next to the Carmel Nature Reserve national park, an area often called "little Switzerland".

The first Jewish settlement on the Carmel in the 20th century was Mishmar Hacarmel, established in 1935 on the site of an Ottoman fort.  It was near Ein Harod.  After a 1938 fatal attack on a bus in the area, it was decided to enlarge the Jewish population.  The Beit Oren group had been training in Magdiel since 1935.  In 1939 they established Kibbutz Beit Oren on the site of Mishmar Hacarmel.  About a year later they moved the kibbutz to the hill opposite, which is where Kibbutz Beit Oren stands today.

In pre-state days the kibbutz was a training ground for the Hagannah.  After the 1945 mass escape of 208 prisoners from the Atlit camp, the illegal immigrants walked to Beit Oren.  They were then transferred to Kibbutz Yagur.

Beit Oren has always suffered from financial difficulties.  In 1995 it was privatized.  This was the first kibbutz in the country to do this.  On 2/12/10 part of the kibbutz was destroyed in the terrible Carmel Forest fire.  Today the kibbutz has 180 members and a total population of approx 500.

Businesses run by the kibbutz include a hotel, a horse riding centre, a lead factory, a glass workshop, a swimming pool, a professional mountain bike store and a pub/function hall.