Southern Coastal Plain Experience
The Southern Coastal Plain is a region of the country with a history connected very much with Israel’s War of Independence, with agriculture, wonderful cities, like Ashdod, Ashkelon, and more. Our goal of the trip is to take a look at that history, in order to better understand what is going on today. Let’s get started on our Southern Coastal Plain Experience!
Sderot is known because of the high number of rockets shot from the Gaza Strip since 2006. As a result, the municipality built as many bomb shelters as possible. This includes the bus stations throughout the city. But the municipality has also built them in creative ways in places like playgrounds, and schools to make it less imposing. We will tour the city:
- to see the Magen David Adom,
- the rockets that have fallen into the town,
- the safety precautions the municipality has taken,
- and end with an outlook into the Gaza Strip.
We will continue our Southern Coastal Plain Experience in Netiv HaAsara. From there, we will begin following the path of the Egyptian army heading north in the War of Independence. We can see the first town the Egyptians took over during the War of Independence, Kfar Darom. Why from here? What happaned?
On May 15, 1948, Egypt, among 4 other countries, attacked Israel. The Egyptian army split into two fronts: one to Jerusalem, and one to Tel Aviv. The goals were:
- to cut the country in half,
- gain control over holy Jerusalem,
- and make way toward Tel Aviv to gain control northward.
We will explore the beginning of this battle against the Egyptians, what the background was, and what the politics behind it are.
Yad Mordechai is named after Mordechai Analievich, leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II. Survivors from the Holocaust and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising came to Israel, established this Kibbutz, and named it after their leader. After taking over Kfar Darom in Israel’s War of Independence, the Egyptian Army headed north for Yad Mordechai. No one expected what happened here. The Egyptian army was a strong one, with advanced weaponry. There weren’t a lot of residents living here, and they barely had any weapons at all. But the residents held off the army for SIX days! During our visit we will
- visit the memorial for Mordechai Anelievish,
- explore the memorial for those who fought in this important battle,
- visit the museum remembering the battle,
- and maybe have some time to buy their famous honey!
After understanding this chapter of the story, we will move onward in our Southern Coastal Plain Experience. We will stop on the way to the next site for lunch.
After the Egyptians overtook Yad Mordechai, they continued onto Negba. This fight was a mere formality for the Jewish fighters didn’t stand a chance. While the battle was much shorter, the residents still fought hard to keep off the Egyptian Army. We will learn what happened here and its implications in the War of Independence.
Ashdod Ad Halom
We will end the story of the Egyptian Army, where it indeed ended—at the Ad Halom Bridge in Ashdod. When the Egyptians reached the bridge, they decided to stop and wait to meet leaders of other invading armies. But this led to the defeat of the Egyptian Army at the hands of the young Israeli AirForce. We will tell the story of how the IAF beat a formal, well-established army here, and see one of only two monuments in Israel built by Egypt!
Ashdod Ecological Park and Beach
At the end of the day, and our Southern Coastal Plain Experience, we will go to the Ashdod Ecological Park at the meeting point between the Lachish Riverbed and the Mediterranean Sea, where many animals thrive. We will then continue to watch the sunset over the beautiful Ashdod beach!