Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek where we met is strategically located on the southern slopes of the Jezreel valley hillside. In April 1948 its members fought a bitter battle over several days against the volunteer Arab force led by the Iraqi commander Kaukji . Seventeen members of the kibbutz were killed in the see-saw battle that finally ended when Yitzhak Sadeh's support units arrived at the battle and drove back the Arab attackers. In a battle some several kls away to the west, Moshe Dayan's brother Zorik was killed in a battle with Arab forces attempting to capture Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan. The Arab Forces included Druze fighters who switched sides and joined the Jewish forces when they realized the Jews were the stronger force. Since that battle, Druze serve in the IDF and the Police.
We awaited Tracey at the launch sire near the Palmach Cave in anticipation of an exciting new ride in unchartered territory for most of us. But Tracey had other unexpected plans and instead David and Michal were entrusted with instructions and GPS destined to navigate us on the path to the Holy grail. A steep immediate uphill was the first obstacle and not knowing where to turn was the second. By then Sami had given up and abandoned the group.
Finding the way again we rode up another hill to be faced with yet another "where to" By then Uri Sahar was turning white so he decided to rest and return to the car. We rode off to again lose the way and returned on our tracks to find Uri now recovered. "I once was lost, but now am found." Amazing, but some grace.
Things started to look better and directions easier as we approached the summit. After a short rest we commenced the return. A slight diversion to the Kibbutzim memorial site enabled us to view majestic vistas as well as to grasp the enormous contribution the kibbutzim have made in sacrifice in the way of fallen soldiers over decades. Their fallen numbers are vastly disproportional to the numbers of fallen in the community at large.
Having climbed for several kls and mostly steep inclines we finally welcomed the fast downhills on the way to the carpark. There was one last climb through the kibbutz to the real holy grail... our cars and for me and Haim, a beer at the Meggido rest area. David and Hylton declined the beer offer but provided good company as we discussed our good fortune at being well enough to be able to enjoy rides like today's superb route irrespective of minor glitches.
Thanks to David and Michal who also provided fine weather. The phot is the site of the Kibbutz Memorial (prior to its construction) when we last visited it 15 years ago. Who can you identify???
|From 2003, can you name them all?|
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: