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Trail that covers the country

Making tracks from Modiin to Neve Shalom.      Photo: Yoav Dothan, Wikipedia

Founded in 1995 by Abraham Tamir and Uri Dvir, today The Israel National Trail is under the auspices of The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI).

The Trail, which is 1000 kilometers long, crosses the entire country of Israel from the Dan Nature Reserve in the north to the city of Eilat in the south. It does not cross the Green Line nor does it go into the settlements. It is used by hikers, cyclists and jeeps.

A specialty of The Trail is "Trail Angels", whereby friendly folks along the trail invite participants into their homes for a meal, a hot shower and overnight accommodation if desired.

The idea for The Israel National Trail was born in 1971 when Abraham Tamir went to The United States for the first time to meet his friend Sam, a New Yorker, who knew a lot about Israel. They decided to do some hiking along the Appalachian Trail which runs from the State of Georgia up to the Canadian Border and beyond into the north. That trail did it for Abraham. He became obsessed with the idea that the young State of Israel should also establish such a trail and allow more people to acquaint themselves with the unusual topography of Israel.

The Israel National Trail enables tourists and Israelis to get into the interior of the country and to enjoy the diversity of the topography of Israel. Few countries in the world have such vast differences in the landscape as Israel does, from the snow-covered Mt. Hermon in the north to the warm and beautiful Red Sea in the south.

The Trail is marked with orange, white and blue stripes all the way along it. You cannot get lost. In addition, there are rangers from the SPNI patrolling The Trail in case anyone sustains an injury. I broke my ankle on The Trail, arrogantly thinking that I could take a shortcut. Within minutes a pick-up vehicle appeared and took me to the Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera.

Abraham was a very robust and fit man for his age. He had only one eye due to an accident in his youth. With that one eye and a strong magnifying glass, The Trail was meticulously designed by Abraham and his friend Uri Dvir. The two of them hiked the entire path to ensure accessibility for all those who would come in the future. 

On the trail . . . Nancy Tamir (second row, in pink) with her family

On March 1st, 2014, the entire Tamir family arranged to meet in Park Afek with a guide from SPNI as they wanted to put up a poster on The Trail. In addition, the grandchildren, who love to paint on stones, brought some of them and laid them on the path under the poster. Tamara, a sweet soul, was afraid someone would take the stones, but after explaining to her that the stones might make other children happy, she decided that it was okay. "Maybe they'll add some of their own," she claimed with the innocence of a four year old.

It was a wonderful day in nature in the park, and it was also an opportunity for Abraham's sons and his many grandchildren to picnic together – all carrying the same family name. They appreciate with pride Abraham's stubbornness in making his dream come true.

One can get on The Trail anywhere – that is the beauty of this truly spectacular concept in nature. There are Israel National Trail groups whose participants systematically cover sections of The Trail. You and your friends and family can have a wonderful day's outing in nature. Depending on which section you are hiking along, you can pass Biblical sites as well as cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa. All the sections have extraordinary landscapes.

If you want to hike, bring a map of The Trail, a compass (if you have one), good walking shoes, water, a hat and enough cash to pay the modest entrance fee which helps cover the upkeep of The Trail.




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Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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