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Samson in the Biblical Pathways of the President’s Forest

The Biblical story presents Samson as a somewhat strange person: he let his hair grow wild, tore a lion into pieces with his bare hands, scraped honey out of its carcass, played practical jokes, lit the tails of 300 foxes and, in the end, he brought down the Philistine temple.  But this strong young man saved the Children of Israel from the Philistines, become one of the judges of Israel and, just recently, a hiking trail has been named after him in the President’s Forest : The Samson Trail. 


This is the first of the “Touring with the Bible” trails dedicated as part of a joint project of KKL-JNF, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Industry & Trade.  In the coming weeks, a second trail to be dedicated is The Saul Trail on Mount Gilboa , followed by the David and Goliath Trail in the Valley of Elah.


The purpose of the project is to enable the public to tour with a Bible in hand, as a tour guide, on a sign-posted trail combining nature, archeological sites and breath-taking scenery.  The Samson Trail, from the Sculpture Route in the Tzora Forest , reaches Tel Tzora, where there is a grave traditionally attributed to Samson himself.  It passes between forest trees, natural woodland and fruit trees.  KKL-JNF invested much effort to connect the sites along the trail with verses from the Book of Judges, which are exhibited. For example, a large and impressive burnt tree marks the story of the burning of Philistine fields by torches attached to tails of foxes.


At the trail dedication ceremony, Yehiel Leket, KKL-JNF World Chairman, said that the Biblical pathways project connects the country and its scenery to the Jewish heritage. KKL-JNF is the most qualified to do this, as its work - safeguarding national lands, planting, developing and nurturing the quality of the environment - derives from Zionist ideology stating that Israel is the land of the Jewish People.


The Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Eli Cohen, and the Deputy Director-General, Moshe Rigal, thanked KKL-JNF for its dedicated work in developing tourist infrastructures.  Eli Cohen stated that KKL-JNF expansion in this sphere would have continued cooperation from his Ministry. Mr. Rigal noted that our Biblical past is also a tourist attraction of the first order and expressed the hope that the project would grow to include some twenty trails country-wide.


Meir Weisel, Head of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, Eli Cohen, Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism and Yehiel Leket, Chairman of the KKL-JNF Board of Directors


Meir Weisel, Head of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, warmly thanked KKL-JNF and the Ministry of Tourism for the project, which contributes greatly to development of rural tourism in this area where there are many producers of wines and cheeses. “KKL-JNF is the greatest Green organization - easy to cooperate, aids vital development and raises no special difficulties, yet fights to protect the environment.”


The speakers then cut the ribbons together with the Deputy Head of the Regional Council, Yuval Anokh, the Director-General of the Ministry of Industry & Trade, Nira Peretz. All the participants, including the staff that created the trail, the forest units and Central District employees happily took the first tour of the trail.

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