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
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
Harod Spring Youth Hostel: 04/653-1669 TEL
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