A fire that started Monday afternoon, apparently from burning pruned branches in the agricultural areas of Beit Uziel, a religious moshav near Rehovot, was carried by high winds in the direction of the Tel Gezer National Park, where several acres were burned in the blaze. Firefighters along with about 20 Israel Nature and Parks Authority inspectors participated in fighting the fire.
The area dates back to the Neolithic period, 5,000 years ago, and contains great archaeological treasures. An initial inspection showed no serious damage to the archeological monuments at the site.
On Tuesday morning at first light, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority inspectors arrived at the site of the fire to estimate the damage, and they will issue a more detailed report.
The Tel Gezer National Park is rich in archeological monuments, including worship monuments, and its highlight: 175 steps descending to the depths of the earth where an ancient water plant can be found.
The area of the Gezer hill is about 32 acres and there were 26 settlement layers from the Chalcolithic period to the Early Roman period (3500 to 100 BCE). The hill is situated close to the ancient road that led from Jaffa to Jerusalem, making it a strategic asset.
Gezer is mentioned in Joshua 10:23: “At that time King Horam of Gezer marched to the help of Lachish; but Joshua defeated him and his army, letting none of them escape.”