Results for category "Parks in Israel"

Jerusalem Day – Yom Yerushalayim

Jerusalem Liberation Day


Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel | Photo: Isaac Shweky Courtesy of פיקיוויקי

Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day, is an Israeli national holiday commemorating and celebrating the June 1967 reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of its “Old City”. In honor of Jerusalem Liberation Day, we have put together some suggestions for enjoyable and meaningful activities, great for the entire family.

Ammunition Hill and Mount Scopus – Jerusalem, Israel

Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Israel
Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Israel | Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

The British built the Police Academy and Ammunition Hill to consolidate their hold on the country during the British mandate period, from 1920-1948. During the War of Independence In 1948, the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem and the region was divided (until the Six Day War on June 5, 1967). The nearby Mount Scopus remained as an enclave within the Jordanian territory, controlled by Israel after the War of Independence. The Jordanians built a military outpost at the Academy and at Ammunition Hill; one of three outposts built along the road to Mount Scopus.

On June 5, 1967, at the outset of the Six Day War, it was decided by the IDF to take back the north of Jerusalem, including the Jordanian outposts and the road to Mount Scopus, which included Ammunition Hill.

The battle was tough and valiant and cost the lives of many fallen soldiers. The IDF had to disconnect the Jordanians from three Jordanian outposts in order to conquer back and liberate northern Jerusalem. The IDF forces were formed by the Jerusalem Brigade and the Armored Division of Harel. In addition, the paratroopers joined to fight and take back the northern city and the Old City of Jerusalem.

After the liberation of the city of Jerusalem, the IDF cleared mines laid by the Jordanian along the border. New neighborhoods were built on the rocky hills such as Mivtar Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Neve Yaakov and Ramot.

 The Ammunition Hill Memorial Museum

Ammunition Hill Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Ammunition Hill Museum, Jerusalem, Israel| Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

Several year later, a museum was built at Ammunition Hill in memory of the fallen soldiers who bravely fought for the liberation of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. The site commemorates this miraculous event. The site also commemorates the unpublished writings, poems, pictures and songs left behind by the fallen soldiers which were published after their passing.

The Museum displays a Memorial Wall Monument to the fallen soldiers, as well as documentary videos and photos. There is even a tour of the location and its trenches. Verdant, lush, green manicured lawns surround the museum. Fascinating guided tours are provided. This is highly recommended to those who want to learn about the legacy of the 1967 war in Jerusalem.

Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus:

Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus is associated with the Medical School of Hebrew University – one of the most advanced academic institutions in the world. The Mount Scopus hospital is currently one of the largest and most modern hospitals in Israel. The hospital is part of the Hadassah women’s organization. The site has a great observation point with views of the Mount of Olives, the Old City and the Dead Sea.

Amphitheater Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel
Amphitheater Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel| Photo: ד”ר אבישי טייכר | Courtesy of PikiWiki

 These are sites which can be visited throughout the year. (They’re not just for Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim!) They are important parts of the “Israel experience” and an interesting and important source of information for anyone who wants to better understand the history of the State of Israel.


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Gamla: A Hike Through History

GamlaHiking is a favorite pastime of Israelis and a great activity for visitors. Israel is home to some absolutely breathtaking views. Whether you like to hike in the heat of the Negev or through the lush greenery in the Galil, there’s a place for everyone. Many of the locations you find will have connection to the Torah and/or events in the history of the Jewish people, and you will often see signs along the trail where that particular site featured in Jewish history.

In the Golan Heights, there is one such trail that leads you on a path to the ancient city of Gamla. It was discovered and excavated in 1968, 1900 years after it fell to the Romans in 67 CE. The details of the battle were recorded by Josephus Flavius and the devastating fall of this city has been likened to that of Masada in the south.

To reach Ancient Gamla, it is approximately a 20 minute hike from the beginning of the trail, with some steep sections, but on the way, you are treated to spectacular views of the mountains and the valleys in the area. As you get closer, there are excerpts from Flavius’ writings describing his first hand account of the battle as the Roman troops advanced. Among the historical treasures uncovered at its discovery was one of the oldest synagogues ever found, built before the destruction of the Second Temple.

But the ancient city is just one option in this nature reserve. Another trail- which is wheelchair accessible- takes you to an observation station on the cliff where you can see the amazing Griffon Vultures that Gamla is famous for. On the way to the observation station, you’ll pass by a church from the Byzantine era. Yet another path will take you to a lookout where you can view Israel’s largest waterfall.

Whether a hike with friends or an outing with the family, Gamla is a beautiful place to spend a day in the north.

More details about Gamla and how and when you can go can be found here:

If you’d like to spend a few days in the area, there are campgrounds where you can pitch a tent, bed and breakfasts, and other guest house options available. is a great resource to help find accommodations.

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Archaeological Sites in Israel

Archaeological Sites in Israel, Qumran


Israel is rich in history and archaeology. There is no place on earth where so much ancient history has been dug out of the ground. If you enjoy seeing how people lived in biblical and Second Temple times, you will enjoy visiting some of these archaeological sites in Israel:

Megiddo was the site of several biblical battles, since it was part of a trade route and of strategic importance. It was leveled by the Babylonians who destroyed the First Temple and was uninhabited thereafter. As a result, it preserves the biblical ruins in great condition. Of particular interest are two stable structures.

Beit Guvrin paints a picture of life in the kingdom of Judah during the First Temple period, as well as Second Temple Roman Palestine.  There are dwellings and burial caves, but the most intriguing aspect of the site is the bell cave complex. Huge caves were dug for their chalk, and many of them are interconnected by underground passages.

Qumran’s caves and dwellings are a testament to the lives of people who settled in the desert toward the end of the Second Temple period. Learn about the composition of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the ascetic sect that copied them. The site has a film and on holidays there may be tours and street acting. You can visit Masada on the same day you see Qumran, and get a full picture of life before and during the Great Revolt.

Herodian (or Herodium) is the site of a palace built by Herod the Great not far from Jerusalem. Besides the palace, there is a bathhouse, a synagogue and a Roman theater. A tomb possibly belonging to Herod was discovered at the site but is not currently accessible to the public.

Beit Shean was inhabited from the 15th century BCE all the way through to modern times. Its excavations revealed an impressive ampitheater, a Roman bath, a Byzantine church and a Crusader fort. It is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Israel and well worth a visit. The area’s warm weather all year round make it an excellent choice for a winter visit (as long as it’s not raining).

Of course, there are many more archaeological sites in Israel. To find out more about archaeological sites and national parks in Israel, go to the website of the Nature and Parks Authority.

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National Parks in Israel

National Parks in Israel - Einot Zukim

Einot Zukim (Ein Feshkha)

Israel is home to about 150 national parks and nature reserves. They are generally inexpensive and some are even free. Some are on sites of historical and archaeological significance and others focus on the flora and fauna of Israel. If you are traveling with children, national parks can be a great opportunity for them to run around and learn something at the same time.

Ein Gedi is a beautiful national park, with a short or long hike. The waterfalls and pools of Ein Gedi are magnificent and a great way to cool off in hot weather. Ibex inhabit the park and can be seen in an enclosure at the entrance. Not far from Ein Gedi are the national parks of Masada and Qumran, which are of great historical and archaeological significance. Children will love Einot Zukim (also called Ein Feshkha) where they can swim in a semi-natural pool of water.

Hurshat Tal in the north of Israel offers camping or bungalows for rent. It’s a great base for day trips in the Upper Galilee. A natural pool of water and water slide can entertain a family for a full day. Hurshat Tal can get very hot, so check the weather before deciding to sleep outdoors.

Castel National Park was the site of an important battle in the Israeli War of Independence. Learn about the history of the establishment of the State of Israel while walking through a maze of tunnels. There’s a pleasant picnic area in the park for eating lunch and stretching your legs.

Beit Shearim provides a fascinating look at burial caves from the time of the Mishnah. The Galilee was the center of Jewish intellectual life during this time period and Rabbi Judah the Prince made his home here for a while. There’s a small tunnel children will get a kick out of crawling through.

This is of course only a small sampling of Israel’s national parks. For a full list of parks and information about each one, see the Nature and Parks Authority website.

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