Ma'ayan Harod National Park

​​​

A refreshing recreational park at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, where the Harod spring rises in a cave and flows into a stream

On the slope above, overlooking the valley, is the family grave of Yehoshua and Olga Hankin next to their small home, which tells their life story. 
  

Points of Interest


·         The Harod Spring and the Cave of Gideon

·         Hankin House

·         Memorial for the Valley's war casualties
  

Location in Israel


The Ma'ayan Harod National Park lies in the Harod Valley.  To get there, drive on the Afula - Bet She'an road (Highway 71) about 8 kms from Afula, on the way to Gideona. 
 

Observation Point


Hankin Home observation point:   The family grave, at the highest point in the National Park, gives a view of the Harod Valley and the Yizrael Valley, the eastern heights of the Lower Galilee, Giv'at HaMore and Mt. Tabor. 
 

Identity


The Ma'ayan Harod National Park is a recreational park where you can spend time in the bosom of nature, based on Ma'ayan Harod (the Spring of Herod).  The park consists of broad green fields (good for playing ball games), a large paddling pool, picnic tables and everything needed for spending time out of doors.  On the slope above the spring Yehoshua Hankin carved out a small family grave for himself and his wife, Olga, alongside the small home that he built.

Ma'ayan Harod was declared a national park in 1966, covering 1,136 dunams.  The area open to visitors is 100 dunams and the amphitheater is about 10 dunams.
 

Reasons for the Declaration


  • Recreational park for spending time in the bosom of nature
  • The home and family grave of Yehoshua and Olga Hankin

 

Activity of the Nature and Parks Authority for preserving the place:

Establishment of a recreational park for spending time close to nature

Operation of a museum in the Hankin home including a film about Yehoshua Hankin

Guided tour of the heritage sites - from Gideon the Judge to Yehoshua Hankin the redeemer of the land

Operation of a night parking/camping area 

Details of the Points of Interest

Ma'ayan Harod:  The spring rises in a cave on the slope of the Gilboa mountain.  It is called the Cave of Gideon after the Biblical judge who collected his warriors here to fight the Midianites.  The waters flow along a clear brook into a large paddling pool and into other streams flowing throughout the national park.  In the past, the spring created a swamp and a stream whose waters flowed into Nahal Harod, and the water of the spring was conveyed via an aqueduct to two flour mills.  The remains of the aqueduct can be seen in the national park;   the remains of the flour mills are located outside the park.

Hankin House:  The home of Yehoshua Hankin (1864-1945) stands on a slope rising above Ma'ayan Harod.  The small house now serves as a museum to document the life of this man who redeemed for the Jewish people more than 600,000 dunams all over the country.

Yehoshua Hankin began building the house in 1934 when he was 70 years old.  When his wife Olga became sick he started carving out a burial grave for her close to the house.  Olga Hankin was buried in the cave in 1942.  Yehoshua was buried next to her three years later.

The inner door of the family grave, which is the original door, bears the symbol of the Menorah.   The two pillars at the front of the grave and the copper door, bearing nail patterns and the 7-branched candelabra, are reminiscent in appearance of burial caves from the time of the Mishna and the Talmud, similar to the burial caves in Bet She'arim.  The pillars and the front wall are made of pinkish limestone.  The floor of the cave is of grey marble, with a black Magen David in the middle.  The outer door was made by the sculptor David Plombo.   It is decorated with the name "Hankin" in an unusual design consisting of interlocking letters.

The museum is open to groups with prior coordination.  On religious holidays there are guided tours for visitors. 

 
The Memorial for the Valley's war casualties:  Ma'ayan Harod was the place where the inhabitants of the Moshavim and Kibbutzim from the region used to gather on holidays and festivals.  The proximity to the spring that was associated with the wars of Gideon against the Midianites, the death of King Saul and his son on the Gilboa mountain, the family grave and the home of the redeemer of the lands of the Valley, Yehoshua Hankin, made this place a symbolic center.  The memorial was erected in memory of seven of the sons of the Valley who fell in the War of Independence on the Gilboa, and today it memorializes all the men of the Valley who were killed in the various wars.

The Memorial is the work of the metal sculptor David Plombo.  It is shaped like a bridge made of iron plates, in which openings have been torn by flames of fire.  Two symbolic ironfigures rise up from the bridge.  On the wall behind the Memorial, metal letters spell out the following sentence:  "The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!"  (Samuel II, Chapter 1)

The night parking/camping area


The night camping area consists of broad grassy areas, where caravans can park, tents can be set up or you can sleep outside under the starry night sky.   There are showers and toilets in the camping area, drinking water, refrigerators, a freezer, picnic tables and cubicles for re-charging mobile phones.

The camping area is open every weekend from Pesach to Succot, and for large groups of 50 or more persons - throughout the year with prior coordination.

To coordinate camping: 

 Tel. No. 04-6532211, Fax No. 04-6531136,

 e-mail -gl-mharod@npa.org.il

 

Geography and Geology:

Ma'ayan Harod rises at the place where the Harod Valley meets the Gilboa Mountain.  The Harod Valley is the eastern part of the Yizrael Valley, and the Harod Valley and the Yizrael Valley are separated by the national watershed line.  The Yizrael Valley is drained by the Kishon river into the Mediterranean Sea, while the Harod Valley is drained by Nahal Harod (the Harod Stream) into the Jordan River.

Nahal Harod flows along a narrow valley created by a sharp geological fault at the foot of Mount Gilboa, and its maximum width is 4 kms.   The water of En Harod and the other springs in the Bet She'an Valley emerge from the edge of an underground reservoir underneath the hills of Samaria in the Jenin and Shechem area.  The reservoir collects the rainwater percolating through the cracked limestone rocks which constitute Samaria, and due to the incline of the mountain layers the water flows to the northern valleys and surfaces there.
 

History:

Two important events place Ma'ayan Harod on the historic stage.  The Book of Judges describes the military "initiation" conducted by Gideon before the battle with the Midianites - wandering desert tribes who invaded the Land of Israel from time to time.   10,000 men responded to the call to fight them.  Gideon preferred to set up a small and agile elite unit, so he tested those who came:  he took them down to the spring and told them to drink of the water.  Only 300 drank without setting their weapons aside, and they were chosen for the task.   The battle ended with victory for the Israelites (Judges 7).

The second historic event took place on September 3, 1260.  On his path of conquests, the Mongol Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, had reached the gates of the Holy Land, and demanded of Qutuz, the Mameluke Sultan in Cairo, to surrender.  Many peoples had surrendered unconditionally to the Mongols, but Baybars, the Mameluke general, persuaded his Sultan to fight back.  While the armies were preparing for war, Hulagu was forced to return to his kingdom due to the death of his brother, Mongke, then ruler of Mongolia, and he left only 10,000 fighters in place, perhaps due to defective intelligence concerning the size of the army which the Mamelukes were capable of raising.

The forces clashed at what was known then as En Jalut, and today - En Harod.  The Mamelukes' warriors were greater in number than the Mongols, and the Mamelukes won the battle.  This victory altered the course of history for the country and for the entire Middle East, because until then the terrifying Mongols were considered to be undefeatable.   Subsequently, Baybers murdered Qutuz, became the Sultan and conquered the Holy Land from the Crusaders.  The country remained under the rule of the Mamelukes until it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1516.

At the beginning of the 20th century the valley was one big marsh, sparsely settled by Arabs.  The valley was crossed by the Valleys Railway, but apart from that there were very few roads.  In 1909, Yehoshua Hankin purchased lands near the village Al-Fula (Afula), and in 1920 he purchased the Nuris Block - 51,000 dunams - on which the villages of En Harod, Kfar Yehezkel, Geva, Tel Yosef, Bet Alfa, Heftsiba and Bet Hashita were built.

In 1921 the first members of Kibbutz En Harod settled near the spring.  After about five years, they moved to Kumi Hill, where the Kibbutzim En Harod "Ihud" and "Me'uhad" are located to this day.
 

How to get here: Between Afula and Beit Shean, on Road 71. About 10 km from Afula, turn towards Gidona (over the bridge). Another option is to drive along Road 675 from HaSargel Junction (HaTa'anachim) to Navot Junction, and after 1 km, turn to Ma'ayan Harod.

 

Length of visit: About 1 hour – for groups by advance reservation

Family tours are held on holidays – please call the site for updates: 04-6532211.

 

Best season:  All year round

Don't miss: Hankin Museum (open to groups only, by advance reservation), and the view over the valley near the Hankin mausoleum

Other attractions

  • The flowing spring
  • Wading pools
  • Recreation facilities
  • Picnic
  • Children's playground
  • Sports fields
  • Football and volleyball

Ceremonies and activities can be arranged

Overnight campground

Ma'ayan Harod overnight campground, with hot showers, open for families at weekends only, and for groups of 30 people or more - by advance reservation

Campground open season:
For groups - March 1 until October

For families – from Passover until October

Educational tour in the footsteps of the Bible stories

  • Gideon's cave and the story of heroism
  • Lookout point and visit to the Hankin mausoleum
  • Entry to the Hankin museum and film – by arrangement
  • Nighttime tour – by arrangement

Opening hours

Last entry to the park is one hour before closing time

Summer:

Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 5 pm

Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm

Winter:

Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm

Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm

On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement, and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm

Contact us

Telephone: 04-6532211

Fax: 04-6531136

Emailgl-mharod@npa.org.il

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maayanharod

Important information

  • Playing music is strictly prohibited (audio systems may not be brought into the national park or the overnight campground).
  • Electric cables and extension cables may not be used in the area of the park or campground.
  • Animals may not be brought into the overnight campground.
  • Glass bottles may not be brought in.
  • There are wading pools at the site.
  • There is no visitor service center.
  • The site is accessible to people with disabilities.

Entry for dogs

Dogs may be brought to the site, on a lead and with a muzzle.

No dogs or other animals may be brought into the camp site


    Content under construction, the information apears soon.
    Content under construction, the information apears soon.
    Content under construction, the information apears soon.
    32.55079,35.358794
    Ma'ayan Harod National Park