Hiking Along Gush Halav Stream

Hiking in Gush Halav Stream

A Pond,  Stream and an Ancient synagogue. This is a short & easy hike, but packs lots into it. You will visit a winter pond, fantastic Almond tree blossom (Feb-Mar), a lovely stream and an ancient synagogue. In addition you can round it all off with good Humus at Jish.

Hike Metrics
Hike Description
Distance5.5 Km
Short versionsN/ A
Climb220 m
LevelEasy
BestDec - Apr
PossibleOct - May
LocationGoogle-Maps-icon-2020
/ Start PointGoogle-Maps-icon-2020

Important note: The 1st half of the route has no markers. It is recommended to use the GPS track file.
Track description:
  • Starting point – Center of the village JISH (1).
Jish is a small Arab village with a population of about 3,000. which is predominantly Maronite Catholic  with a Sunni Muslim Arab minority (about 15%).
Jish dates back 3,000 years. The village is mentioned in the Mishnah as Gush Halav, a city “surrounded by walls since the time of Joshua Ben Nun” (m. Arakhin 9:6). Canaanite and Israelite remains from the Early Bronze and Iron Ages have been found there. Archaeological finds include two historical synagogues, a unique mausoleum and burial caves from classic era. (Further reading in Wikipedia)

 

  • Find your way, always uphill through the village streets to reach point (2).
  • Continue on the dirt road until the junction (3).
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  • Fork right to another dirt road and continue down.  Ignore a ‡Black‡  marked track joining from the left and continue until you reach the winter pond “Ha’ain Hakuchla”  (The blue eye”  in Hebrew) (4).
The “Blue Eye” is a small 50 m diameter seasonal pond created from rainwater. In winter and spring the water are clear and attractive for swimming. During the summer and autumn the pond gets filled with seaweed.
  • This is a very nice setting for a picnic. Relax on the meadow near the pond and enjoy the view.

Green meadows around the Blue Eye Pond

  • The next section is a little tricky because you have to find our way down without any marker or road/trail. Just follow carefully the GPS along the bed of a dry wadi until it merges with the main Stream of Gush Halav (5) .
  • In this area if you are lucky enough to be in the right season (February-March) you will encounter impressive Almond tree blossom.

Almond Tree in full blossom on the slopes of gush halav stream

  • we are now on the ‡Green‡ marked trail that follows the stream.
  • Follow the ‡Green‡ markers up stream until you reach the ancient Synagogue of Gush Halav (6), passing along the way several old watermills.
  • Continue with ‡Green‡  markers all the way to the village center.
The ancient synagogue in Gush Halav dates to the Second Temple period.  The synagogue is has a square shape, facing south (Jerusalem direction). There were three rows of columns in the hall, parallel to the three walls, as customary in Galilean synagogues.  On one of the columns there is a dedication inscription in Aramaic that says: “Yosseh Bar-Nahum Abd al-Hadan had her blessing.”

 

The ruins of the Synagoge in the Gush Halav stream
Gush Halav Ancieny Synagog By Bambitz / Wikimedia

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  4. Map Legend and labels are in English

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