In Israel we have a variety of landscapes. The Golan Heights, for example, was
created from volcanic activity. All these volcanoes are extinct and many are accessible by car.

Drive along Road 90; head North, pass the turn off to Hatzor HaGalilee on our left (west) until you reach Tzomet Machanayim. At the junction, turn right (east) on Road 91. Drive until you pass Kibbutz Mishmar Hayarden. Go over Gesher Bannot Yacov over the Jordan river. Pass the Old Customs House (Beit HaMechess) along Road 91.

From Gesher Bannot Yacov drive approximately 16 km. And pass some Israeli Army bases and deserted villages. These date back to June, 1967 when the Circassians left the area. You will pass, on your left, the turn off to Kibbutz Ortal. At this point look forward and to your right to see ten wind turbines that produce electricity for the area’s Jewish Settlements.

Continue on Road 91 and pass Kibbutz Ein Zivan until the next junction. At this point turn left (north) on Road 98. On your left is a steep slope which is the Northern front of Har Avital. On our right (east), you will see the remains of Kenetra, former Syrian capital of the Golan Heights. This town was a rest stop for caravans. During the Ottoman period (1516-1918) a custom post was built here. In the late 1880’s a German Archeologist surveyed the area and reported that Kunetra was occupied by Circassians, soldiers and clerks of the Ottoman Empire.

After about 2 km. take the first left and drive up a small hill. Remain on the road as you start to head down. Now you are heading into the crater of Har Avital. Continue along and swing to the right and head up. At the top, stop to enjoy the view. Drive along past the turn-off (on your right there is a helicopter landing pad used by the Israel Army.) to the junction. Turn right (north) and then make another right at the sign that says “Volcanic Park.” This steep road will take you to the top of Mt. Bental, which is 1,165 meters above sea level. There is a parking lot. Here are former Israeli Army bunkers built after October, 1973.

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Emek HaBacha, or the Vale of Tears. In this valley Avigdor Kahalani and the Seventh Armored Brigade held the Syrian Army during the Yom Kippur war in Oct. of 1973. There is also a coffee shop, Caf? Anan.

Leave the site at the bottom of the mountain, turn left and continue to the junction and then turn right. A left turn takes you back to the crater. Make a right at the next junction and then make a left until the next junction. There is a sign to Rosh Pina pointing back on Road 91 South.

Based on an article in the Safed “Western Settlers’ Newsletter.” Moshe Friedman is a certified tour guide and medic. Email: friedman@kinneret.co.il; cell phone: 050-417651.