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Campsites in Israel

The low priority of camping in Israel is reflected by  the limited number of campsites in the country. The only ones we have found on the Internet are the four below at national parks. It shows the necessity to create more campsites with proper facilities.

There are other campsites, though, some even free, with and without facilities - see elsewhere.

  1. Hurshat Tal National Park

    Hurshat Tal National Park, in the northern part of the Hula Valley, is the ideal place to spend a day or two or even three.

    Hurshat Tal National Park is located on Route 99 (northeast of Kiryat Shemona) about 5 kilometers east of the Mezudot junction.
    Campsites; guest rooms; bungalows; showers; picnic areas; snack bar; lifeguards and waterslides in the summer.
    Telephone  (06) 694-2440
    Fax:  (06) 695-9360

  2. Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve
    Rivers, natural pools, and waterfalls
    The 16,500-acre Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve is located in the heart of the Golan Heights.

    The Yehudiya Forest Reserve is 7 kilometers east of the Yehudiya junction on Route 87 (Yehudiya-Hoshaya) in the direction of Katzrin. The reserve is about 5.5 kilometers south of Katzrin.

    Campground; Information center;  recreational areas; snack bar; picnic tables; rappelling
    Telephone  (06) 696-2817
    Fax:  (06) 696-1166


  3. Mount Carmel National Park
    A mountain that is green all year long
    Useful Information

    Although only one-third of the 21-acre Mount Carmel National Park is a nature reserve, the entire park is dedicated to nature conservation, and specifically to maintaining the Mediterranean habitats of Israel.
    The mountainous Carmel ridge, with summits more than 500 meters above sea level, is a fine place to study both nature and history.

    To get to the Mount Carmel National Park, take Route 4 (the old Tel Aviv-Haifa highway) to Oren junction and turn east. From Route 70 (Faradis-Yokne'am), turn west to the Eliakim interchange and at the city of Nesher, head towards the University of Haifa.

    Campground; (there is a fee for overnight stays and reservations are recommended);  Recreational areas
    Telephone  (04) 823-1452 or (04) 984-1750

    Fax:  (04) 832-2287

  4. Massada National Park
    Symbol of willpower and heroism

    Massada National Park is on Route 90, about 20 minutes from Ein Gedi, Zohar junction, and Arad. The cablecar starts at the eastern entrance (Dead Sea). The sound and light show is accessible only from the western entrance (Arad).

    Campground for groups (not individuals) (western entrance); Self-guided recorded tour; cablecar; restaurant; youth hostel (eastern entrance).
    Telephone  (07) 658-4117/8

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Other Campsites in Israel

These sites are mostly on Israel's shores: the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret), the Dead Sea and Eilat. We have only explored the one site at the Dead Sea that is free, but nevertheless provides facilities, namely the Ein Gedi Beach that is administered and kept in good order by the Jordan Valley Local Council.

Apart from being a holiday resort with picnic facilities and a beach for swimming under the watchful eyes of lifegaurds, it is also a stopover for travelers and tour groups, including many groups of Jewish and Arab Israeli children. An interesting feature is that no security measures against terrorism are applied because both Jews and Arabs visit the site in about equal numbers. Jewish Israeli groups of youngsters invariably have armed gaurds with them though, like everywhere else in Israel, whereas Arab kids don't need them since the terrorists come from their ranks.

Something incredibly unpleasant at the campsite some evenings, was the Moslems' noise warfare that one also needs to endure in the Christian and Armenian Quarters in Old City and some suburbs in Jerusalem with mixed populations like Beit Safafa near Bethlehem (Betlechem). The Moslems have penetrated these areas with mosques and powerful loudspeakers "proclaiming" Islam (so-called prayers, they claim). What they are actually perpetrating is noise warfare to drive out the "infidels," judging from the fact that the loudspeakers are just audible in their own Moslem Quarter in the Old City. The population of Beit Safafa is about 50 per cent Christian (Arabs), and they managed to block the Moslems' from "broadcasting" "prayers" from the mosque in this suburb. They nevertheless did, at first from small loudspeakers that were soon replaced with huge ones. The "infidel" residents (in the Moslems' eyes) complained, of course, but soon stopped because the Moslems severely harassed and intimidated those who dared to complain.

At Ein Gedi this "warfare" takes the form of unbelievably loud zombie music. The Moslems would arrive there with generators to power sound systems that are loud enough for a rock concert at the Teddy Kollek football stadium. People complaining are told, "it's a free country, we can do what we like!" The staff at the site don't seem to want to do anything about it, because there isn't a rule against noise. Fortunately, however, this INSOLENCE" is mostly limited to Thursday and Friday evenings, apart from short "show-off" burst of loud music from young people with small cars with powerful hifi systems. Now and then Jewish young people also meet there for re-unions and all night partying, but they mostly are not insolent when someone reminds them that they are not the only people at the site.

What is also good about Ein Gedi Beach, is that it is within easy walking distance from the wonderful Ein Gedi waterfalls and hiking trails at Wadi David and Wadi Arugot. Basically between the two wadis there is also a "dig" of an ancient synagogue covered by an extravagant funnel-like roof.

Then there are also a number of other free campsites in the area without facilities, not even drinking water. The first one is at an army checkpoint about 10km ahead of Ein Gedi Beach. It is close to a kibbutz, though, where one can find water. Then there are campsites at Wadi Mishmar and Matzoke Drogat about 7km beyond Ein Gedi beach and another one at Wadi Tzealim about 3km further on.

Find lots of information about National
Parks and other tourist sites in Israel
at  Arutz-7's Travel Page

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