Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Allon Road

Last Friday, I was heading up to the Galil (Galillee) and had a chance to drive the Allon Road. The road cuts from Jerusalem northward through Samaria (northern West Bank.) After Israel conquered the area in 1967, General Yigal Allon drew up a plan whereby Israel would settle the sparsely populated Jordan Valley (shown in orange below) as a prelude to eventual annexation, and surrender the populated mountain ridgeline to Jordan (yellow below.) This would prevent invasion from the East while allowing Israel to avoid annexing heavily populated areas. If Israel were to annex the heavily populated areas, it would have to issue citizenship to the Arabs living there, causing Israel to eventually lose its Jewish majority.

In order to prevent an eventual surrender of the Jordan Valley, Allon supervised the construction of a road running north-south along the Jordan Valley's western edge. This would provide access for his vision of a row of settlements to mark out his idea for new borders.

The plan was a pipe dream for a variety of reasons: first, it was based on the idea that the Jordanians, still licking their wounds from their botched attempt to exterminate Israel in 1967, would submit to Israel's annexation of a chunk of what they considered to be their own territory. Secondly, Allon was only one man in a government full of ministers, all of whom had their own big ideas. Thirdly, it assumed a new wave of young pioneering kibbutzniks to move out and settle the new land. Instead, the Kibbutz movement, and with it Secular Zionism, had already begun its long decline, and instead mainly religiously inspired settlers moved into the region.

Still, it's a beautiful drive through the cradle of Jewish Civilization.

We turned right on the access road to Maaleh Michmas, where King Shaul (Saul), the first Jewish King, defeated the Phillistines in the first battle of his short two-year reign.

The road to Maaleh Michmas.

The green pastures of Eretz Yisrael.

Cruisin' along.

Olive groves cover most available flat land, with the dry hills lining the Jordan Valley popping up in the distance.

The Allon Road hugs the mountainside.

Maaleh Ephraim (Ephraim Heights,) in the border rgion between the hills of Samaria and the Jordan Valley in the background.

We found a nice rest stop, "Mitzpeh Allon" (Allon Vista.) Bumped into an Israeli motorcycle gang there.
A. Hops around on the rocks.

Yours truly, in front of the Jordan Valley.
Cruisin' behind the cyclers.
Jewish settlements dot the landscape.
Hang a left.

Ariel Sharon, back in his days as a territorial maximalist, before he turned into an "Allonist," brought all the IDF training bases he could and relocated them in Judea and Samaria.

Bottom left: Soldiers at attention. Top right: Shepherding.

We soon arrived at Chemdat, a settlement in the northern Jordan Valley.
The view from Chemdat was breathaking.
In the background, is the Jordan valley, the Jordan river, and the Hills which were once home to the Jewish tribe of Reuvein, now part of the Kingdom of Jordan.

1 comment:

NormanF said...

Lovely.... I like mountain scenery. I don't need to live on a mountain but I like to look at it.

The last time I was in Israel was with my Dad as a young man. I really need to go back and see it again. I love the country and its people and its like home to me. I have family there.

So I have an idea of where I want to live in Israel should I decide to make aliyah. A few years ago it would have impossible for me to make a good decision. I would feel lost and have no idea where to start looking.

Your blog and others give a good local view and let me see what I like and don't like about Israel. Still for any one who has Jewish feeling, the Land is special. It speaks to me just like it does to you and I mean in a complimentary and heartfelt way.

At some point, all one's apprehensions disappear. Its such a small and beautiful land. That's the way I see Eretz Israel until I can hopefully return to kiss its ground again.