Jordan Valley 

Several of the following can be chosen for a day trip:

 Gan ha Shlosha:  Heading north in the Jordan Valley, the parched desert melds into greener pastures, culminating in the lush paradise of "Gan ha Shlosha"-----a large sapphire spring at the foot of Biblical Mount Gilboa.  This is one of Israel's favorite swimming spots.

 Yehoshua Hankin Museum:    The only pioneer to be called "The Redeemer of the Land", this adventurous, driven idealist spent his life struggling to buy dunams for the future Jewish Homeland. In his memory, this tiny poignant museum overlooks the plum of his endeavors----the Jezreel Valley, Israel's breadbasket.

  Zorganika: A drive up the Jordan Valley is accompanied by the Jordanian mountains to the east, but the fabled Jordan River, flowing in a deep gully, is hidden from view. This mostly unapproachable closed military area is the border between Israel and Jordan.  The river is "so close, yet so far away."  It tantalizingly beckons a curious civilian. What does it look like over there?  Is it parched or lush?  Can you see Jordanian farms up close?  Jordanian soldiers?  Beautiful birds?  Wild boars?

Zorganika is an organic date plantation by the river, reached by easy arrangements with the army. The vista that suddenly opens onto a hidden world is surreal.  And -----you can join the Israeli groups excitedly buying bargain-priced boxes of plump Mejool dates.

 Bet Shean:  Bet Shean National Park is an enormous excavation with grandiose Roman-Byzantine remains. Most nights, there is an audiovisual show projected onto the impressive ruins, depicting life thousands of years ago, followed by a guided tour.

Remains of Beit Alpha Ancient Synagogue:  Its 1500 year old mosaic floor, replete with a zodiac, Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac, the Temple, and other images was discovered by a kibbutznik digging an irrigation ditch.  A short movie with actors portraying the mosaic-makers of yore is a charming part of the visit.



 Kasr el Yahud: This is another rare spot where you can see the southern stretch of the Jordan River.  The river is narrow enough to greet Jordanians on the other side barely raising your voice. In this area of fenced-off mine-fields, the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land, Elijah ascended in a fiery chariot, and Christians flock here for the traditional site of Jesus' baptism by John.

 Belvoir:  This can be your token Crusader fortress for your trip.  It's hard to imagine such a mighty fortress surrendering to the Muslims.  Standing where the Muslims undermined the walls is an eagle's view of the Jordan Valley.

 Tel Amal:  It's the 1930's (without the malarial mosquitoes) and we have entered the first (of 52) pioneer "Tower and Stockade" kibbutzim.  These settlements were built hastily overnight on purchased JNF lands in the midst of Arab hostilities.  It was thanks to these courageous pioneers that many areas were included in our borders in the 1947 UN Partition vote.

Kids love climbing the ladders of the watchtower, rummaging through old valises for pioneer clothes, and posing with various old time farming implements.

 Old Gesher:  Here ones hears about  the heroic 1948 defense of Kibbutz Gesher, and enters a decidedly wild and whimsical  multi-media show about "Naharayim"---the first electrical plant in the region. 

Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu:  How do you get rid of crop-destroying bugs and rodents without using pesticides and poisons?  To find out, sign on for a delightful 2-hour tour of the kibbutz for all ages. 

  Nahal Ha Kibbutzim:  Also at the foot of Mount Gilboa, and mainly known by locals, Nahal ha Kibbutzim is a shallow, clear, gentle river, ending with a fun swoosh through big irrigation pipes.  Even young children can float down the whole river here, using little inner tubes.  A bicycle and golf-cart rental lets you whiz past fields and fish ponds to 2 more inviting springs:  Ein Shokek and Ein Moda.


  The International Bird-Watching Center of the Jordan Valley:  Surprise!  Israel is Earth's second largest bird migratory route.  We have all shapes, colors, and sizes passing through.  No need to BYOB  (Bring Your Own Binoculars) because they are provided during your guided birding tour.  Come see our wild pelicans, cranes, storks, herons, raptors, and many other species of beaky buddies.

 Harod Spring:  Preparing for battle against the multitude of Midianites,  Gideon weeds out his soldiers here.  The spring is just a trickle, but --- such a famous Biblical event happened exactly here!

 Mount Gilboa Scenic Drive:  Sunset in springtime is the best time to be on top of Mount Gilboa, as we watch the mountains of Jordan turn gold, rose, lavender and blue, meet the rare Gilboa iris, and recount the Biblical stories of Gideon, Deborah, King Saul, and Elijah.  Kids will enjoy climbing a windy watchtower.

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