Tzova: A history of mighty warriors

Palmah soldiers settled Jerusalem-area village, just as their biblical forefather did.

The Palmah members founding the kibbutz in 1948. (photo credit: KIBBUTZ TZOVA)
The Palmah members founding the kibbutz in 1948.
(photo credit: KIBBUTZ TZOVA)
Not much is known about Igal son of Nathan from Zobah. Mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:36, he is one of the 30 mighty warriors who fought alongside King David in his conquest of the Land of Israel. But his actions were a symbol for the generations to come - even 3,000 years later - leaving a legacy for warriors and great men to live in the region.  
The area has become known for playing a role in the life of John the Baptist.
Shimon Gibson, a British-born archeologist who lives in Israel, lead the excavation of the wilderness cave of John the Baptist in 2000 near the village of Suba, and later wrote “The Cave of John the Baptist,” a first-person account of his experiences in the dig.
“I became aware of a set of drawings incised into the wall of the cave, hidden behind piled-up boulders,” he wrote. “One of the drawings was that of a figure of a man that looked like it could be John the Baptist. It reminded me of representations of John the Baptist that I had seen in early Byzantine art."
Later the cave was sanctified by Byzantine monks, and then in the late 11th century, Crusaders captured the city and built a fortress, Belmont. The castle was in a perfect position for the Pope's soldiers, with it having fertile agricultural land, being in proximity to a natural spring and providing a great vantage point on the mountains leading to Jerusalem.
Approximately 20 years later, however, with the lack of reinforcements, the Crusaders relinquished the fortress to Saladin and his Arab army, and the castle went into decay.
Most significantly, though, the area received a revival only 68 years ago, with the return of the Jewish state to the Land of Israel.
In the middle of Israel’s War of Independence in the summer of 1948, soldiers from the Palmah Brigade – the Hagana’s elite unit – were in fierce fighting with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood soldiers in Suba, the Arab village that overlooked the main road to Jerusalem. During the war the Brotherhood and village residents repeatedly attacked Jewish convoys ascending to Jerusalem, making it very difficult to sustain the Holy City.
In a battle on July 12-13, however, the commando forces defeated the soldiers and the Arab villagers, with them fleeing to nearby villages.
Three months later, the mighty warriors of the Palmah wished to settle the recaptured area, and on October 19, 1948, the soldiers founded Kibbutz Palmah Tzova, in the same region that their forefather Igal son of Nathan, another mighty warrior, had also settled.
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