First we stopped just outside Merom Golan at a statue in memory of Eli Cohen, probably Israel's most famous spy whose work in Syria was very helpful in the 1967 war. (Click on his name to read his story.) The statue is of his wife, Nadia Cohen and their three children, looking out toward Syria and waiting for her husband to return. (His body was never returned to Israel.) The statue was made in 2015, probably on the 50th anniversary of his death.
Our next stop was a short distance away at the overlook into Syria and the UN peacekeeping mission headquarters. I've been there at least four times in the past 15 years and have seen the site upgraded. The outlook has been recently named for Ronen Gilboa, a member of Kibbutz Ein Zivan who died in 2014 at age 52, a man who loved the Golan and was full of spirit.
vital Volcanic Park, which opened in April, 2013. It was built on an abandoned basalt quarry and is the result of the efforts of a geologist who worked in the area. It now is funded by the Golan Regional Council, the Tourism Ministry, and a non profit volcanic quarry group.
Eruptions of Mt Avital, which has been dormant for over 100,000 years, are what caused the Golan Heights' formation and also what spewed basalt rock over the area. The park is a paleomagnetic site, which means that that the basalt rocks have changed the Earth's magnetic field over time. When compasses are near rocks, they seem to go crazy.
There usually is a Druze fruit vendor at this place, and today the gentleman also was helpful in explaining the sites in the distance to us.
We then walked around the volcanic park and saw the models of the region in early times and in modern times as well as models of how the volcano worked and the descriptions of the layers of rocks. Most of the explanations were in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
|Before the most recent eruptions on the right and after on the left|
|Inbar pointing at Merom Golan, her home|
|A model of an eruption with a recording in Hebrew|
|Eruption of "bombs"|
|A "bomb" inside a rock|
|Nava pointing to a drop in a wall|
|Different kinds of rocks found in the area|
|Examples oflocal rocks including tuff and bread toast on the right|
|So many colors in the layers of rock|
There was also a walk toward Syria along a path of basalt rocks, but we didn't have time for it. Near the path there was an amphitheater but it has not been used since the war in Syria worsened.
We then visited three ancient springs turned into pools off the beaten track. Ayin or Ein in the construct state means "spring." And the first was Ein Mokesh. An article in Haaretz by Moshe Gilad on May 31, 2017 entitled "The Forgotten Syrian Secrets of the Golan Heights: From old minefields to pools for Syrian officers, the vestiges of the former sovereigns of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights are everywhere, if you know where to look." Ein Mokesh was one of them, and it means "Mine spring" as it was surrounded by unexploded landmines.
It was originally build by the Circassians who came to this region from in the 19th century, sent by the Turks who ruled the area, as a buffer with the Beduins. The Turks converted them from Christianity to Islam. During the 1967 Six-Day war, they fled to Syria and later most to Europe and the US. Some Circassians live in Israel, mainly in Kfar Kanna and Rehaniya. They were excellent craftsmen and built this beautiful, deep circular pool.
The next spring we went to is called by the locals עין (אין) איך לצאת, a play on works --either the spring of (no) way to leave or no way to leave. The water level is quite low right now.
This spring was converted by Syrian officers into a pool. You can see that it isn't as well built as the one above.
Some visitors have poured goldfish into the pool and many have thrived. The local nature authorities are not pleased as sit chances the natural form of the pool. The fish came to the surface to greet us.
Our next stop, it turned out, was a pool that had recently been capped because of the danger of collapse.
On our way to our next stop, we passed by a number of Wind Turbines. The Golan is very windy and these turbines produce a lot of electricity. The power grid wants to put up several on the hills by Merom Golan, but the community is objecting, in part because of the loud noises (which we heard as we approached the turbines below) and the light that is emitted.
There were more places to visit, but we were out of time, so we headed back to Inbar's for lunch before heading out to the Hula valley in the upper Galil to join Inbar's husband has he helps put the visiting cranes to sleep!