(photo credit: Kibbutz)
t is possible that Mount Ben-Tal, a lookout site in the Golan
Heights and former bunker for IDF soldiers fighting Syria,
wasn’t created with the express purpose of playing hide-and-seek. But
while most tour guides may overlook the location’s supremacy in that
field, my three children (ages almost five and three-year-old twins)
were quick to catch on.
just left Kibbutz Merom Golan and could clearly see the vacation hut
where we’d stayed the previous night from the lookout. A little farther
away we just made out the fantastic petting zoo where my boys,
Ya’ir and Yaron, had helped a farmhand load up a cart with straw
to feed the goats. They’d also cavorted with the camel, fed hay to the
horses and petted the ponies in between collecting peacock feathers and
making the turkeys gobble. Daughter Kinneret, in the meantime, had
an unfortunate incident involving goose poop.
But no matter, she was quickly taken off to our hut for a complete
overhaul in its
luxurious jacuzzi bath — and luscious heating. In the brisk November
weather, upon our late-afternoon arrival the day before to this, the
far reaches of the Golan, heating was a special blessing and we used
it all night and into the morning.
Outside it was autumn. Between the intermittent drizzle and the
smell of fallen leaves, I could almost make believe that Israel has
more than two real seasons. And as we walked to the kibbutz cafeteria
for breakfast early that Friday morning, I found myself thinking of the
joy of a nice hot meal and was secretly sad we were ’only’ going to get
We were the first guests to arrive (unsurprising, as our kids
generally awaken by 6 a.m.) and were presented with another surprising
blessing: There were several hot dishes, a huge spread of cheeses, fish
and salads, a variety of homemade jams (try the yummy mango) and two
kinds of cake for dessert. What a breakfast!
I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. The holiday apartments,
while not the lap of
luxury, are beautifully done. Snug and cozy in our hut, we had plenty
of space in the two rooms for the three kids in the main room to sleep
on the convertible sleeper sofa and chair. The bedroom was done
in a Western theme and a warm-toned wood paneling was used throughout.
There was a small kitchen area as well, which was admittedly not
equipped with a cooking surface, but did have a handy sink, mini-fridge
and hot drink provisions. There was also a jug of milk in the fridge —
just one of the thoughtful touches.
In the bathroom the aforementioned jacuzzi bathtub (smaller and more
water efficient than a full-sized spa) was a highlight and the fittings
and fixtures were stylized and
presumably new. Unfortunately, however, the soap dispenser didn’t work
and a piece of the shower fell on my head while I bathed.
Thankfully, there were other means of soap provided next to the modern raised sink,
something not all B&Bs now think to provide, and what I usually forget to bring from home.
Between the comfortable room and fun-filled petting zoo, we were
loath to leave. Later, looking out from Mount Ben-Tal, I noticed that
some 20 additional units were being built there and made a hopeful wish
that one day we’d be back for a longer stay.
For more information, visit www.meromgolantourism. co.il or call (04) 696-0267.