web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Fascinating Hula Valley

LIttman-022213-Water

The crane is the king of the Hula Valley with welcoming squawks and shrieks of sheer delight from the thousands on the ground and the many hundreds in the skies above. They are surely calling out “Shalom aleichem, my friends, alechem shalom, so glad you arrived,” for it is known that cranes inform each other of favorable domiciles. Littman-022213-Crane

Eretz Yisrael is literally and figuratively the center of the world, located at the crossroads of three continents. The eyes of the world are always on Eretz Yisrael, whether during discussions at the UN, or in ancient times when it was on the trade route of other nations.

Eretz Yisrael also plays a major role in the lives of approximately five hundred million birds (390 different species!) that arrive annually by air. Following the example of their ancient migratory ancestors, these guests do not have to wait to have their  passport stamped or watch the baggage carousel make never-ending circuits until their luggage eventually appears. These storks, cranes, egrets, gulls, cormorants, and ducks (to name but a few) using main bird migration routes are heading for the Hula Valley Nature Reserve and the Hula Lake Park in the Upper Galilee.

 

History

The Hula Valley once contained a lake – thousands of years old – one of the oldest documented lakes in history. It is referred to in Chapter 11 of Sefer Yehoshuah as Mei Merom (Waters of Merom). It was here that Hashem delivered into Yehoshuah’s hand an alliance of city-states of the Canaanim. (Some modern scholars dispute this identification, arguing that it is swamp area and there is no reason to assume the Canaanites, whose prime weapon was the chariot, would be drawn to battle in swamps.)

Littman-022213-DuckThe Gemara in Bava Basra (75) refers to it as Hiltha.  It states that there are seven seas (Tiberias, Sodom, Helath, Hiltha, Sibkay, Aspamia, and the Great Sea) and four rivers (Jordan, Jarmuk, Keramyon and Pigah) surrounding Eretz Yisrael.

Maps of Palestine throughout the first half of the 20th century show this lagoon along the Jordan River, about 20 kilometers [12 ½ miles] north of the Kinneret.

 

Before the Drainage

Since ancient times this body of water provided a natural habitat for many species. In the area were found panthers, leopards, bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, jackals, hyenas, gazelles, and otters.  For centuries Lake Hula probably contained the richest diversity of aquatic biota in the Levant. It was also populated by a rich variety of flora and fauna.Littman-022213-Birds

Since it lies along the Syrian-African Rift Valley, it was a major stopover point and feeding station for traveling birds. Hundreds of species of birds used the Holy Land’s airspace as a part of their migratory route. Today in the springtime, the skies are filled with millions of birds, on their way to Asia and Europe from their habitats in Africa. In October, they retrace their journey in reverse.

Since the swamps surrounding the lake were the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Jewish pioneers in the early part of the 20th century who settled in the Jordan Valley, suffered terribly from malaria.

The first modern Jewish settlement in the Hula Valley was Yesud  HaMa’alah on the western shore of the lake, established in 1883 during the First Aliyah.  Estimates say that during the 1930s, 70% of local adults were infected with malaria. Few, if any, children survived beyond the age of two.

Beginning in 1940, innovative measures were taken. Irrigation canals were flushed of their vegetation and the water was sprayed with kerosene. New improvements in health care were introduced, but it was only with the introduction of DDT in 1945 that the war against malaria could be won.

In those days the Hula Valley had a lake at the southern end and swamps in the north. The majority of the swamp consisted of dense impenetrable tangles of papyrus, with scattered channels of running water and pools. In deeper depressions within this papyrus “jungle” were open-water ponds covered with yellow water-lilies.

 

Transforming the Hula Valley

In 1948, the State of Israel decided to drain the swamps and lake, which covered more than fifteen thousand acres, and convert the area into agricultural fields. There was a critical need to create farmland for the budding Israelite agricultural society. In addition, a large number of unemployed olim needed employment.

About the Author: Originally from south Africa, Vardah has been living in Eretz Yisrael since 1974 and the more she learns about our glorious Holy Land the more she gets to love this prime property that Hashem has given to the Jewish People. She is studying to be a tour guide and hopes with the help of Hashem, through this column to give readers a small taste of the land.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Fascinating Hula Valley”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Katyusha strike in upper Galilee August 23, 2014.
2 Israelis Wounded in Grad Missile Attack on Be’er Sheva, Katyusha Attack from Lebanon
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-082214

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

Twenties-082214-Girls

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

Lewis-082214-Gaon

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

Astaire-082214-Main

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

More Articles from Vardah Littmann
Littman-112213-Flowers

Only half an hour’s drive from Jerusalem, the majestically beautiful Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve is a lush, green oasis surrounded by miles of flat arid, desert.

Littman-102513-Wall

The Kotel Hakatan is the “little sister” of the well-known Western Wall, and is reminiscent of the photos and drawings of the way the Kotel looked before 1948. It is located 200 yards further north of the Kotel, and is on the same level as Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount). Since its plaza is much narrower, and the majority of the wall is underground (thereby concealing much of its height), the Small Wall is less impressive than the Western Wall.

When we come to the Kotel we may be so engrossed in our tefillos that we don’t notice the numerous birds flying close by and the plants growing out of her stones. But the Kotel—spiritual home to millions — is built of stones that serve as the physical home for various animals and plants.

Although there are more direct and faster routes to Beer Sheva and Eilat and all the sites and towns in-between, the Basor River is one of the beauties of the Negev that defiantly justifies a diversion.

Speechless wonder is the reaction to the beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge.

About four years ago a group of orthodox senior citizens from Bnei Brak arrived to tour the Ayalon Institute. One woman seemed to be exceptionally moved and cried a lot. Nearly two week later, she sent a letter to the Institute explaining why. She wrote that she was a Holocaust survivor and between 1943 and 1945 she had been a forced laborer making bullets to help the Nazi cause – bullets that were used many times against Jews. After the war, she had concentrated on raising a frum generation, suppressing all the terror of those horrendous years in order to do so.

We will start our tour at Agripas No. 12, exactly where the first round stone pot-plant of pansies stands, on the same side of Binyan Klal, but walking towards King George Street and opposite the traffic circle. Entering HaRav Chaim Elboher Alley, we find ourselves in Even Yisrael.

The crane is the king of the Hula Valley with welcoming squawks and shrieks of sheer delight from the thousands on the ground and the many hundreds in the skies above. They are surely calling out “Shalom aleichem, my friends, alechem shalom, so glad you arrived,” for it is known that cranes inform each other of favorable domiciles.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/travel/the-fascinating-hula-valley/2013/02/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: