Glimpses of Israel - Mt Gilboa

Located in central Israel and rising from the plain at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley is Mt Gilboa.

Originally part of the inheritance of the tribe of Manasseh the region proved formidable because "all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those in Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel." (Joshua 17:16)

In spite of the seemingly impossible, Joshua urged them ". . . the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong." (Joshua 17:18)

During the days of the Judges, Mt Gilboa became the scene of one of Israel's greatest victories. Gideon gathered his troops at the foot of Gilboa before leading three hundred men to victory against an army of one hundred and thirty-five thousand (Judges 8:10) encamped just to the north at the hill of Moreh. (Judges 7:1) Sadly, Mt Gilboa also became the scene of one of Israel's worst tragedies. It was here that Israel's first king, King Saul, and three of his sons were killed in a battle against the invading Philistines. (1 Samuel 31)

A memorial to King Saul can be found at the northern end of Gilboa, where a lookout also affords beautiful views of the valley below – northward toward Gidona, En Harod and the hill of Moreh, as well as a panoramic view southward toward Beit Alpha, Nir David and Beit Shean. During Spring the mount is a mass of colour with the famous purple Gilboa iris.

Nearby attractions include the very popular and scenic Gash Hashlosha National Park, where swimming is possible all year-round because of the natural warm springs, and the Gan Garoo Australia Park, featuring Australian wildlife and flora.