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Special Activities The Israeli Experience Magazine

A mountain of attractions

A lookout, a cafe, a volcanic past, a military post of the Israel Defense Forces, a Sculpture Garden and much more, on Mount Bental which is in the Golan Heights region
by: Israel Traveler   |   26.04.2011
When the country is so small, it is not surprising that our tour operators have learned to produce the absolute maximum out of its each and every square centimeter. Take for example Mount Bental which is located in the north-east of the Golan Heights region. As to its height, it is not that impressive- all in all it is only 1,171 meters above sea level, but this mountain holds within itself volcanic dramas and presents a reconstructed Israel Defense Forces military post, a lookout over to Syria, a wonderfully amusing Sculpture Garden, an automated information post, a café and if all of this is not enough, then it also features snow in the winter and even signs which direct one toward the cities of Bagdad and Damascus. How is this for an absolute maximum?
So yes, Mount Bental is also filled with love, or at least according to its name in the Arab language, in which it is called "Tel al Aram”, which means "the beloved mound” or "the mound of great love” and why "love”? Some people say that it is because of the resemblance of Mount Bental to the breast of a woman. Blessed be those who have this kind of fantasies. Our assumption is that this perhaps stems from Mount Bental’s volcanic past, which just like love, caused some impressive volcanic eruptions here in the past.
Today this volcanic mountain is dormant, but it is very much active in regard to tourism. At the top of Mount Bental there is a visitor center which includes a military post of the Israel Defense Forces which was raised over a Syrian military post, which today is manned only by statues of soldiers, and an automated information post which tells about the wonders and troubles which took place on Mount Bental. Here on Mount Bental one can find a winding and dark underground system of deserted bunkers which belonged to the Israel Defense Forces and from here you will also be able to look over to Syria, to the slopes of Mount Hermon and to the Golan Heights region in general. One can only hope that this military post will continue to serve for this type of enjoyable touristic observations over the area and pray that it will never have to serve for military and war purposes ever again. And one can also always wish that at some point the signs that show the direction to the cities of Bagdad and Damascus will become practical. Did we manage to make you laugh? Wait until you see the sculptures created by the Dutch sculptor Joop De Jong that are located along the climb up to the observation point.
Joop De Jong, a Dutch sculptor who actually started his way in the field of Psychiatry, is a member of the Kibbutz of Merom Golan who came to Israel in 1973. Joop De Jong makes his sculptures out of scrap-iron, such as pieces of metal, cog-wheels, iron meshes, springs and metal threads, according to what comes into his head, without plans or sketches, and the result is wonderfully cute, crazed and grotesque sculptures, such as that of a giant ant, a miniature knight and many other surrealistic figures.
At the end of your visit here it is recommended to sit at the "Coffee Anan” Café. It is not every day that you get to have your coffee in such a high place. This is the place in which to enjoy the view, the pleasant breeze, the beauty of Mount Hermon and mainly the peace and quiet. And may it always stay this way.
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