Giv'at Yehonatan is a hill above Gid'ona, in the Gilbo'a mountain range, named after Biblical King Saul's son (Jonathan) who fell in battle against the Philistines on these mountains, in the 11th century BC.
The memorial, though, commemorates a much more recent battle: On March 19th, 1948, during the early stage of Israel's War of Independence, seven Hagana fighters gave their lives here in a battle against Nuris villagers who used to attack the workers of the Ein-Harod quarry.
From the monument there is a fine view of the Jezreel valley below.
Joshua Hankin (1864-1945) was nicknamed "the redeemer of land". He worked on behalf of the JNF (Jewish National Fund) purchasing land in various parts of Palestine under the British Mandate. In the autumn of an illustrious life he and his wife Olga chose to build their home on the slope of Mount Gilboa, overlooking the Jezreel (Yizre'el) Valley: he had dedicated 30 years to the task of acquiring the lands in the Jezreel Valley, which then became the prime agricultural region of Israel.
Hankin wrote: "My divine mission in life was revealed more than sixty years ago: to redeem the land our people yearned for. I was unwaveringly devoted to this goal of mine... I gave my heart and soul for the redemption of extensive barren areas..."
The construction of Hankin's house began in 1934, in the international (Bauhaus) style. When it was finished Olga was already sick, and the couple never lived here. However, a mausoleum was built for them next to the house, where they are both buried, overlooking the valley which they loved and care for so much.
Access to the house and mausoleum is by a scenic winding path uphill from the lawns of the Ma'ayan Harod National Park. From the house there is a beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley.
It's one of the most exciting things about travelling in Israel: Seeing the Bible stories come to life.
The Harod Spring features in Giedon's story, in the Book of Judges. Standing in front of the spring you can imagine Gideon bringing his men to the water, telling them to have a drink, observing who bows down and kneels in order to drink the spring water and who laps the water with his tongue as a dog does: This is the way Gideon selected his choice warriors to go to battle against the Midianites, who embittered the Israelites' lives at that time.
Looking further afield you can see the Hill of Moreh, where the Midianites camped.
When we last visited the spring a group of elderly tourists were there, and tried to have their photo taken as Gideon's warriors, lapping the water with their tongues without kneeling down, but they were just not nimble enough...