Gems in Israel
Specializing in Custom Private Tours of Israel and Israel's Lesser Known Tourist Attractions, the Gems.

March 2000 - Updated February 2004  
ISSN: 1527-9812  


Stockade and Tower - Tel Amal
Gan Garoo Park Australia-Israel
The Jezreel Valley
Ein Harod Meuchad
Gideon's Cave - Ma'ayan Harod
Mt. Gilboa - Scenic Route
One of the Country's Top B&Bs
Tip #1 - Gan Ha'shlosha Off Season
Tip #2 Beit Shean - See it Again
Gilboa/Harod Area Map
Capital Ideas – On the Side
Things to Do
Gems' Tours in the Area

Gems in Israel – Touring Israel
Gideon's Cave - Ma'ayan Harod
Harod Spring Nature Reserve

From biblical times to more recent history this one spot has been a place where armies gathered prior to battle, where great battles were fought, and where an army in the making, trained.

The Spring of Harod flows from Gideon's Cave. This is the place where Gideon gathered his men before fighting the Midianites. Judges 7:1 describes the scene, "Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley." It was here that Gideon administered the 'water test' as a way of choosing the warriors for the coming battle (Judges 7:4-7).

Today it is a nature reserve with the second largest pool in Israel, sprawling lawns, a picnic area, and great looming eucalyptus trees. Aside from Gideon's Cave you'll be able to see some remains of an ancient aqueduct and a memorial to soldiers who died fighting on Mt. Gilboa. The home of Yehoshua Hankin, the "Redeemer of the Valley" (see the Jezreel Valley) is preserved as a small museum just above the cave and serves as an observation point of the valley. The tombs of Hankin and his wife Olga are located here as well.

In 1260 Baybars I, a Mamluk general defeated the Mongolian army that had invaded Palestine, in the battle of Ayn Jalud (the Arabic name for the Harod Spring) that was fought here. The battle put an end to Mongolian occupation of the Middle East. Much later, in 1921 Kibbutz Ein Harod was established here. The kibbutz later moved a few miles down the road, opposite the Gilboa, to the Kumi hill.

The Harod Spring also served as one the first training bases for the Palmach under Orde Charles Wingate, a British intelligence officer who was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews in Eretz Israel. The Palmach was a special strike force within the Haganah (which means defense). The Haganah was the organized clandestine effort of the Yishuv, at armed self-defense and ultimately led to the establishment of the IDF, the Israel Defense Force.

Wingate organized special Night Brigades composed of local Jewish settlers, who fought Arab gangs that were terrorizing both the Jewish settlers and the British alike. He operated from his headquarters at Kibbutz Ein Harod.

The Harod Spring Reserve is located on the Afula-Beit Shean road, Route #71, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Afula (the turn-off is at Gidona). There is a Youth Hostel on site.

Harod Spring Nature Reserve:04/653-2211 TEL 04/653-1136 FAX

Harod Spring Youth Hostel: 04/653-1669 TEL 04/653-1660 FAX

Visiting Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Entry fees apply.

Note: Harod Spring is called Ma’ayan Harod in Hebrew (and appears as such on the map within this issue).

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