by Gil Gertel and Noam Even
In this section, we recommend beauty spots that are approximately a 3-hour walk. The information in this section will give you a general idea of these special sites. Walking in this area requires up to date knowledge of the weather and route conditions. The recommended walk is near the Field school of Shaar Ha-gai. For detailed information call the Field School at 02-5342899 (or check with your tour guide).
Command Post 21 and “Convoy Ridge”.
This is a comfortable 3.1 mile (5 km) walk on a marked path, that affords a view of the Jerusalem Hills. There are natural beauty spots along the way, natural Mediterranean woodlands and an amazing birds eye view of the main highway to Jerusalem weaving its way through the hills.
To get to the beginning of the route, you travel on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway until you reach Shoeva Junction. Then turn south according to the roadsign to Shoresh and Bet Meir. After 1.25 miles (2 km) you pass the entrance to Moshav Shoresh and 1.8 miles (3 km) later, just before the first houses of Moshav Bet Meir, you will see a dirt road that bears right (north) and a roadsign displaying the walkalong “The Convoy Ridge”. You can park here. The route is circular and ends at this point.
Start walking in a westerly direction. The path descends to a valley between Bet Meir and the hill that is to the north. After 800 yards (meters), there is a junction of paths. The center path continues the descent, turn right on the path that ascends towards the ridge, northwards. After a further 700 yards (meters), you reach another junction of paths. The path to the left ascends to the western hill, which is Command Post 21.
At the top of this hill, there is a lookout point facing north. One can see the gas station and the old buildings of Shaar Ha-gai (see above description) far below. On a clear day, the coast and the towers of Tel Aviv can be seen in the distance. From this point, one can get an idea of the battle for the roads to battle for the roads to Jerusalem during the War of Independence. Only here, one can notice the inferior road that passes between the two hills rising on both sides. It was so easy for those who sat on the ridges to attack and block the movement of the traffic and convoys making their way to Jerusalem. During a later stage in the war, Palmach forces conquered the ridges after a very tough battle, and the road to Jerusalem at Shaar Ha-gai came under Israeli control. This hill, (Giv’a, in Hebrew) Command Post 21, was marked on the battle maps of the War of Independence and remains so to this day.
After visiting Command Post 21, return to the previous junction of the paths and continue eastwards following the signs to Hill 16. This path passes over the ridge. From time to time the highway to Jerusalem is revealed far below us. For those who are not in a hurry, there are benches on which to sit and contemplate the view. The woodland in the Jerusalem Hills consists of varieties of very tall trees. Outstanding among them is the Jerusalem Pine, and the tangled trees of the forest, including the oak and acorn. Between February and April, annual wild flowers join the trees to make a brilliant, show of colors.
The path descends from the eastern ridge and continues to the right (southwards) back to the parking lot.