New Zechariya Bike Trail Dedicated Near Beit Shemesh.
(photo credit: KKL)
New Zechariya Bike Trail Dedicated Near Beit Shemesh
"The new Zechariya single is not far from Beit Shemesh, a city with very different sorts of people. We need to invest in creating unity between these sectors. Sports in general, and bicycling specifically, is a way of bringing people closer together," said KKL-JNF Deputy Chairman Gael Grunewald at the dedication ceremony of the Zecharya single near Beit Shemesh on Friday, November 1st.
The new 14-kilometer trail winds through the hills and forests of the Judean Lowlands between Zecharya and Sdot Mikha, farming communities established in the 1950s by immigrants from Kurdistan and Morocco. It ascends to the hilltop of Khirbet Zakaria, with its ancient pool, caves and gorgeous, blue winter-blooming lupins, and then continues along an antiquities-studded route westward, passing impressive old oaks and cultivated fields.
Otto Friedman, who was very involved in every aspect of the planning and creation of the trail, said that when the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood was built, "Beit Shemesh bicyclists lost a lot of their turf. They approached KKL-JNF, and the response was immediate. Gilad Masai, KKL-JNF Central Region director, took it upon himself to transform the idea into reality. It shouldn't be taken for granted that this happens when you talk to the director of an organization. KKL-JNF carried this project out quietly, with a great deal of care and responsibility. There are all sorts of 'heads' here – bald ones and ones with hats, old and young, but the differences between them disappear under the bike helmets."
MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, a resident of Beit Shemesh, praised the cooperation between the local residents and KKL-JNF. "Over 100 volunteers participated in the building of this trail, and it's a great example for the entire country. I heard it being discussed on the radio yesterday and was very happy, because unfortunately, our region is usually in the news for negative reasons. KKL-JNF and everyone else who worked on this trail have a major part in sharing the region's beauty."