Near the spot where in the past numerous enemies had to be conquered, 35 young people from Gdud Ha'avoda raised their tents in 1921 and began conquering the land.
It was a year after the Mandate for Palestine was given to the British, during the Third Aliyah (1919-1923) and the settlers began building a new life at the Harod Spring. By the time they moved to their permanent location at the foot of Kumi Hill in 1930, there were 239 members.
Permanent buildings went up as the kibbutz movement itself was being built. Today the kibbutz has over 500 members and a total population of roughly 1,000.
In 1953 the original kibbutz split into two distinct kibbutzim, over ideological differences, this was known as the 'pilug' (Ein Harod was not the only kibbutz to undergo this turmoil). Ein Harod Ihud the new kibbutz that resulted from the split is located just above Ein Harod Meuchad, at the top of the hill. The differences that once were the cause of fierce disagreements (even causing members of the same family not so speak to one another) have long since disappeared and in fact today both kibbutzim belong to the same kibbutz movement, the Takam (Tnua Kibbutzit Ha'meuchedet, or the United Kibbutz Movement).
The kibbutz offers visitors to the area a number of attractions and is a great place to stop on the way to the Stockade and Tower, Gan Garoo, the ruins at Beit Shean or the Sea of Galilee, beyond.
Attractions include an art museum, a petting zoo and reptile corner (which may make parents cringe but which kids love), and an antique store (which may be of more interest to domestic tourists than those from abroad). The petting zoo, and antique shop are all within a stone's throw from each other. The museum is located a bit further up the hill.
The Museum of Art Ein Harod
Who would have thought that a rural area would be the place for the first building built specifically as a museum in Israel? The Israel Museum was built in 1965. And the Tel Aviv museum was housed at the home of the city's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, until 1970 (see Independence Hall, in the Orange Routes article). While the art museum at Ein Harod, the first building in the country designed as a museum was built in 1948. A recent expansion of the museum was designed by Ada Carmi, one the architects who designed the magnificent Supreme Court building in Jerusalem.
The painter Chaim Atar, a kibbutz member worked various jobs at night so that he could paint by day. By 1937 Atar had a corner in a wooden shack as his studio. He and other kibbutz members believed that a remote rural settlement could also be a place of culture that could influence the spiritual values of the country. They were the driving forces behind the establishment of this museum.
The museum's permanent collection has over 16,000 items, with about 1,000 Judaica items (most of which are from the 19th century, although there are some earlier items, such as a 14th century Torah). Other items include Jewish Folk Art, archaeological finds that emphasize Jewish civilization in Israel and works of Jewish artists from all periods including a collection of works by artists who perished in the Holocaust. A variety of temporary exhibitions are featured at the museum as well. It often features moder art exhibitions and its curator was recently named by Ha'aetz as one of the 16 most influential people on art in Israel.
One of the most distinguishing features of the building is its natural light sources. The museum is jointly owned, by both Ein Harod Meuchad and Ichud. It is the largest museum in northern Israel.
Visiting Hours: Sunday- Thursday, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Friday 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM, Saturday & Holidays 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM.
Read more about the Ein Harod Art Museum,
Entry fees apply:
TEL 04/648-6038, 04/648-5701
Petting Zoo and Reptile Corner
Your kids will thank you for stopping at this petting zoo, or 'pinat hai' as it is called in Hebrew. Here they'll be able to see Oryx (a type of antelope), goats, camels, ponies, ducks, as well as lizards, poisonous snakes (and ones that aren't).
Visiting Hours: Saturday only. 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (closed during the summer months.
Entry fees apply.
Yad Acheret - Antique Store
Here you will find a variety of items, some of which are real antiques, others not. It is a good place to find interesting items and pick up a gift for yourself or someone else.
Hours: Saturday 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Other times, by special appointment by calling 052-3700 973.
Directions to Ein Harod Meuchad: The kibbutz is located about 45 minutes east of Haifa, off of Route # 71 (about midway between Afula and Beit Shean), opposite a Paz gas station.