Explore our heritage

Much of this area is under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, but the IDF continue to protect the Jewish communities.

Samaria mountains 521 (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Samaria mountains 521
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
The ancient region of Samaria is located right in the middle of the country. The mountains of Samaria were silent witnesses to the stories of the people of Israel. With biblical dramas playing out in the valleys and on the slopes, almost every stone has a story to tell. Here walked the founders of our nation, our kings and prophets during 3,500 years of colorful history that was recorded for eternity in the Bible.
Today, Samaria is going through a phase of uncertainty. Much of this area is under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, but the Israel Defense Forces continue to protect the Jewish communities throughout the region. As Jews, we should not neglect Samaria and the wonderful gems it has to offer. These gems include the natural and historical as well as the more modern and man-made.
When you get tired of the noisy and crowded modern world that surrounds you and you don’t want to drive too far north or south, the mountains of Samaria offer a great alternative. In a short amount of time, you can reach the Mount Kabir Nature Reserve. On Mount Kabir there is a wonderful terrace lookout.
BARRELS OF wine at the Tura WineryBARRELS OF wine at the Tura Winery
From the terrace spreads the land as it is described in the Bible. The people of Israel entered Canaan from the east, crossing the Jordan River and moving west through Nahal Tirza into the Promised Land.
Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal are the main landmarks that Moses gave in his directions to the people of Israel. He himself stayed back and did not enter the land. Observing the valley from the top of the mountain, one almost can feel the footsteps of the forefathers. The landscape is most impressive close to sunset.
The path up the mountain goes through Elon Moreh, which sits on the southern slopes of Mount Kabir. Not far away, there is a path that leads to a 70-meter-long tunnel. At the end of the tunnel one is rewarded with a pool of spring water.
A few kilometers to the south, a scenic road climbs onto the Itamar ridge. The route is dotted with a few communities, organic farms and lovely lookouts. On a hill beside the narrow road, you will reach the Three Seas Overlook at 866 meters above sea level. On a clear day, three of the four seas of Israel can be seen: Lake Kinneret, the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. The Red Sea, to the south, is too far away to see from here.
Down the same road, a flourishing farm will catch your eye. It is always green, with large sheds for goats, lots of trees for shade and a big grassy area.
This is a large organic farm run by the Ran family.
They produce fine goat cheese, eggs and flour. They are set up to host visitors and addition to offering their local tasty organic products, there is also a unique stone structure made by the artist Asaf Kidron on the property. An additional surprise is the smallest synagogue most people have ever encountered.
Down the hill on the same road, near Itamar, you may encounter David Itsik, who founded Hanekuda Hakafrit (“the rural spot”), where he and his staff run educational programs for children of all ages which include activities based on biblical life.
Hiking enthusiasts will find a pleasant trail along Nahal Kaneh. Along the path are several springs surrounded by thick forests. Coloring the distant river bank are vineyards, orchards and fields. This bluemarked trail is easy to walk.
Another good place to visit is Mount Gerizim.
Here you will encounter another ancient culture that has a shared history with the Jews in Israel since biblical times. These people are the Samaritans, who have stories that parallel the events that transpired in Jewish history. The Samaritans have their own language in letters that are reminiscent of ancient Hebrew. They also have their own version of the Bible, which is quite similar to ours. The Samaritans maintain a museum which is well worth a visit and you will probably meet the interesting manager of the museum; a colorful character name Yefet Cohen.
On top of Mount Gerizim is the national monument that holds the ruins of the largest city from the time of the Hasmoneans and the Hellenistic era, which was destroyed by Yohanan the Hasmonean in 129 BCE. Later, a Byzantine church was built on the site.
Samaria is a large and varied region. Alongside its deep history, it carries some lighter, more modern attractions, including quality boutique wineries Har Bracha and Tura Wineries; local art; national parks; restaurants; museums and, above all, hospitable and pleasant communities that are most welcoming.