Gil Gertel and Noam Even operate The "Didactic Team",
which specializes in planning and developing methods,
which bestow educational messages to, designated
communities. Its specialty is working with museums,
theme parks and outdoor learning.
The main road to Jerusalem passes the point where the
vista changes from the open Judean plains to the closed,
steep, mountainous view of the Jerusalem Hills. The area
is known as the Shaar Ha-gai in Hebrew and Bab-el-Wad in
Arabic, or ‘Gates to the Valley’, in English.
modern highway, Route #1 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is
paved over the ancient road from Jaffa to Jerusalem. In
ancient times, it took at least two days to walk from
city to city so inns and guard-stations were built along
Travelers to Jerusalem willing to spend a half-hour
can enjoy a superb view by going to the Shaar Ha-gai
lookout point. From the lookout, you will be able to see
the remains of various buildings from different periods.
A police station, from the British Mandate, the remains
of a Turkish police station north of the road, an inn
from the 18th and even the remains of a Crusader period
fortress north of the gas station will all be
The view from the top of the hill is in a northerly
direction. The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway is visible as
it passes through a panoramic view from left to right.
At Shaar Ha-gai, the gas station stands out (in yellow).
Behind it to the right is the British Police Station. To
the left, 200 yards (meters) in a northerly direction,
between the trees, the remains of the Turkish Police
Station will be visible. On the southern side of the
road, on the lookout point side, you can see two
structures: a restaurant and an inn for travelers.
The historical significance of the inn was mentioned
in the newspaper “Ha’Levanon” from the year
“The place called Bab-el-Wad at the heart of
the road between Jerusalem and Jaffa, for many years has
been known for its dangers to passers-by, being
desolated and ideal for robbers’ hideouts. Even after
the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem was paved and a wooden
hut was erected to serve as a coffeehouse – there was no
place for the weary traveler to rest and refresh
himself. Now it has occurred to the Central Government
to build a large, spacious court. Under the court
stables are planned for horses, and above the court –
pleasant houses, furnished with beds, tables, lanterns,
couches, dining tables with a well for freshwater.
Wooden huts were erected opposite for the Arabs and
Peasants so that they would not mix with the
Over the years, this area was left to ruin and only
during the last year, building restoration began, making
it suitable for visitors. The Shaar Ha-gai area is now
being developed as part of Rabin Park, in memory of
slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Early in his
military career, Rabin commanded the Harel Brigade that
played such a crucial role in gaining access to
Jerusalem during the War of Independence.
To reach the lookout point, take the Shaar Ha-gai
interchange to the road leading south, Route # 38,
towards Beit Shemesh. Three hundred yards (meters) after
the turn-off ramp there is a dirt road to the right,
which is your first possible turn. Take this turn and
continue straight on the dirt road that climbs towards
the top of the hill where you can park your car.
Clearly marked signs in Hebrew enable visitors to
easily identify some of the important sites in the
battles for the roads to Jerusalem. It is unfortunate
that the JNF maintained site does not have signs in
English (the signs on the way to the site are also all
only in Hebrew). However, even without the
tourist-oriented signs, visitors will be able gain a
better grasp of how crucial control of the roads was and
enjoy a great view.