Established in 1937 in the framework of the famous "Tower and Stockade" (Homa Umigdal) operation, Tirat Zvi once had everything typical of the Kibbutz Movement, including large children's houses where pioneers' offspring lived from babyhood to high school.
Recently, those now abandoned children's houses were transformed into unusual kibbutz guestrooms - unlike any I have seen before. Invited to stay there overnight on our trip north, we were delighted with the high ceilings, tons of living space, stunning decors that differ from room to room, large bathrooms, and well-equipped kitchenettes. Yet while the rooms are as elegant as accommodations in a high-class hotel, you are well inside the kibbutz, able to enjoy its pastoral landscaping, and to bid good morning to kibbutz members riding their bikes to and from the meat packing factory, the date farm (the largest in Israel) and the fishponds.
Wildly diverse attractions at Tirat Zvi range from a glorious sunset over its reservoir to a tiny date museum (yes, the kind you eat!). We visited the museum with kibbutz member Yossi Shmueli, who combines his artistic talents with his love of the land by whittling mezuza casings from the bark of regional trees bearing the Seven Species (biblical fruits and grains).
While showing us the museum, Shmueli suddenly unscrewed a pipe that reached from ceiling to floor. He then removed a tile to reveal an underground cache - one of hundreds of cleverly hidden spots throughout the country where pioneers stashed weapons from the eyes of the British during the Mandate Period (1920-1948).
Prices for a couple in the new guest rooms range from NIS 430 on weeknights, including breakfast, to a weekend with full board at NS 850. For reservations call Yael at (050) 576-1488.