Day trips in Bet Shemesh – Haelah Junction Area
The story of David and Goliath is told in detail in Samuel I. King Saul and his camp were on the mountain top, and Goliath and the Philistines were in the valley below taunting anyone who would dare come and fight him. Young David took his slingshot went down the valley and knocked Big Bad Goliath down with one shot. According to Jewish tradition, the monumental event occured in the Valley of Haaeleh and Tel Azeka.
There’s a nice KKL (Jewish National Fund) park at the bottom of the Tel, and an easy footpath up the hill to the breathtaking views of the valley below. The steps up to the top of the hill are incscribed with quotes from the Scriptures renacting the great story of David vs. Goliath.
Getting there from Bet Shemesh
Take Road 38 south from Bet Shemesh towards Beit Guvrin. About 2KM after the gas station by Zecharia, make a right turn at the junction leading to Re’em. (If you’ve reach Haelah Junction, you’ve gone too far). Shortly after the turn, about 1KM, there will be a left turn into Park Britannia.
Enter the park and drive along a winding narrow paved road. You will see 2 or 3 parks on the left side of the ride, keep going until you reach a junction. There will be a sign to turn left towards Tel Azeka. Make the left turn and drive up about 1KM uphill and pull up to a parking area for the park. Admission is free. Follow the footpath up to the top of the hill for a wonderful view. You can also bring your BBQ from home and have a cookout at the bottom of the hill. A nice way to enjoy history for free and with relatively easy access. The hill can easily be climbed by all ages. The last time our family went, there was a family in front of us with a grandmother in her 80s. She made it to the top ahead of us!
Panorama Photo of Tel Azeka and Haelah.
The stitching of 5 photos here is a bit sloppy, but you get to see this stunning panoramic of Tel Azeka, which is on the perimeter of the shefela, and near Haelah Junction. On the far left is the village Zecharia.