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Road to Tabor, Israel

The Road to Tabor is a two day, 26km walk steeped in history. It has a medium difficulty rating.

You will start at Kibbutz Beit Keshet, which can be accessed from Route 65, proceeding to the end at Kilometre marker 399 on route 90, 1km south of Kibbutz Gesher. There is an impressive Mount Tabor oak west of Route 65, next to the Kibbutz Beit Keshet access road. Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte passed this site after he failed to conquer Acre. He came to remove his army from a Muslim contingent that came from Damascus. The Muslim army had won a a battle near the village of Fula. Napoleon was subsequently able to eke out a narrow victory at the Batte of Tabor. The site is known to local Arabs as Marach al-Frange, the French campground. The same oak tree also appears in drawings from the Napoleonic era. The tree is also special to the Bedouin of the a-Sbeih tribe, for the clan sheikh Ahmed Shihab was buried here. He was a noted highway bandit, in the style of Robin Hood, and was killed in 1906 by an Ottoman ambush.

This path was a migration route for prehistoric peoples, as attested by stone tools collected in the area. Beit Keshet itself was established as a frontier post, and was the site of violent conflict between the kibbutz members and the bedouins during the Israeli War of Independence.

You will then find the Israel Trail, which heads south to Mount Tabor. At Mount Tabor, you can see a Greek Orthodox church, and the Catholic Monastery of the Transfiguration. At the base of the hill, there is Tabor Terminal, a parking lot with a washroom. It's a fairly steep ascent to Mount Tabor, a climb of 350m, among oaks and pines.

The hill is identified as the place where the transfiguration of Jesus took place. The event is described in the New Testament as follows:

"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led the up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus."

While there is no explicit reference to Mount Tabor, other references in the New Testament indicate a location somewhere near Galilee, and hence by the end of the 4th century, Mount Tabor had become associated with the transfiguration.

The Israel Trail runs by Mount Tabor Hotel, at Gazit Junction, where you may spend the evening. Alternative sleeping options include the B&B at Kibbutz Kfar Tabor, and the Tabor View Hotel at Kibbutz Mizra.

The route next passes through Nahal Tabor Nature Reserve, via Route 7276 to Kfar Kish. Here you will enter the renowned Basalt Canyon, with a profusion of wildflowers amid the cliffs. Some people regard this site as the ancient city of Anharet, mentioned in the Book of Joshua, belonging to the tribe of Issachar, which controlled Nahal Tabor. Almond tree blooms and blue lupin blossoms can be enjoyed here, as well as the Red Pool.

From here, the trail then proceeds among white acacia trees to Route 90, Jordan Valley Road. There are numerous deer in this area.

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