Golda Meir Park - A Lake in Israel's Negev Desert

A Blue Lake in an oasis: In the heart of the desert, in the Negev hills, on the banks of Revivim River, KKL-JNF created an impressive recreation site with a lake, green lawns, picnic areas and a scenic lookout.



Geographic location: Negev highlands
Lookout
Archeologic or Historic site

Identity Card



Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 

Special Sites in the Park: Pepper Tree Well, Tali Lookout, Revivim River – Bir Asluj, Mitzpe Revivim.

Facilities: Picinic area, Archeological or Historic site, Lookout, Active recreation area, Marked path.


Additional Sites in the Vicinity: Nir Am, Beit Eshel, Gevulot, Be’eri Forest and Old Be’eri, Yad Mordechai, Nitzana, Haro’ah Recreation Area, Beersheba River Restoration, Steel Division Memorial, Lavan River Reservoir Scenic Lookout, Besor Scenic Road, Eshkol Park, Kibbutz Sde Boker, Yeruham Park


How do you get there?


- The park is near Mash’abim Junction and can be reached from the north by the road east of Beersheba. From Hanokdim Junction continue south toward Mash’abim Junction (Highway 40) and turn right (west) at Mash’abim Junction onto Highway 222. The park is about 1km north on the right side of the road.


- Another way to get there is from Ashkelon and Yad Mordechai. Take Highway 34 to Sa’ad Junction and on to Gevim Junction, Re’im Junction and Gevulot Junction (Highway 232). From Gevulot Junction pass Tze’elim and Revivim on Highway 222 and proceed to the park.

Projects and Partners Worldwide
Golda Meir Park was developed thanks to a contribution
from friends of KKL JNF in Australia.
 

About the Park

Named after the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Golda Meir Park is another link in the chain of parks commemorating Israel’s prime ministers—David Ben Gurion Park, Levi Eshkol Park, Menachem Begin Park, and Yitzhak Rabin Park.

It is no accident that this park was created near Kibbutz Revivim, which was established as an outpost in 1943. One of its founding members was Golda Meir’s daughter, so Golda Meir spent a lot of time there. It was her second home, with her daughter’s family and the extended family of kibbutz members. The park KKL-JNF created in her memory provides a wonderful recreational site in the Negev as well as rehabilitating an old quarry that marred the impressive desert landscape. It also has tremendous economic impact for Negev residents, thanks to the many visitors it attracts from all parts of the country.

Notwithstanding the very arid climate of the region, which has a very short rainy season, there are no dry areas in the park. Revivim River, which is a seasonal stream, cuts through the park, and in especially rainy years a lake forms, and when the groundwater level rises it also fills the wells in the area of the park. The lake is also filled by the water that rinses the filters of the nearby Neve Midbar Baths.

Near the lake are extensive lawns, interspersed with picnic areas, and play and sports facilities for children and youth. With the help of its friends in Australia, KKL-JNF upgraded this play area by putting down safety rubber surfacing and adding additional playground installations, including a combination structure with slides, a carousel, spring toys and swings.

The Pepper Tree Well

The park has a British well that supplied water to the army base and the Bedouin village of Bir Asluj. The well has two compartments. The eastern one has a well tiled with concrete bricks. The mouth of the well is covered warp and woof with three wooden beams and two iron bars, which bore the pump. The northern width wall is an arc encompassing the well.

Five steps lead up to the western compartment. The pump motor was screwed into the concrete base, and near it was the generator that provided the electricity for the British army base. After the War of Independence a new motor was installed, and the well water provided for the needs of Kibbutz Mash’abei Sadeh.

There is a pepper tree that shades the structure. Pepper trees are evergreens from the sumac family originating in South America. They are called pepper trees because their fruits resemble peppercorns.

The Tali Scenic Lookout
On the northern slope of Revivim River there is a lookout that overlooks the landscapes of the Northern Negev and the Ramon Ridge. The lookout commemorates Tali Kestenbaum (née Resinsky) who was the marketing director of the Negev Development Administration in 1989 and1990.

Revivim River and Mitzpe Revivim

In Arabic, the name of this stream is Asluj, which means suckling. According to a legend, when Abraham lived in Beersheba and sent his maidservant Hagar away, she took a camel and her son Ishmael, and when she arrived here her water ran out. Hagar then put her son down in the wadi. The thirsty boy kicked with his heels, and water sprang out wherever he broke the earth.

Bedouins of the Azazma clan settled around the Bir Asluj well, and during World War I the Turks built a train station on the side of the Sorek River – Beersheba – Kseima (Sinai) rail line. The site became a military logistics center.

Students from the Mikve Yisrael School of Agriculture, who were drafted into the Turkish army as a tree planting brigade, planted a grove of eucalyptus trees here. Later the British established a terminal for the Desert Police, who rode on camels. During World War II a large army base was established, which served as a stop on the way from Suez to the center of the country.

In December 1947, a Kibbutz Revivim car was ambushed and three members of the kibbutz were killed. In June 1948, the soldiers of the 8th Regiment of the Palmach Brigade attacked the Egyptian force that occupied the abandoned British police station. The conquest was completed in December during Operation Horev. Thirty-four soldiers fell in the battles. A memorial was built here in honor of those who fell in local battles during the War of Independence.

Mitzpe Revivim
On a chalkstone hill about half a kilometer from south of the kibbutz is Mitzpe Revivim, the outpost where the pioneers of the kibbutz lived until 1950. The outpost was refurbished and includes several buildings surrounded by a wall. Among them is a museum that reconstructs the life of the founders.

The outpost is surrounded by communication trenches and defense positions, and in the courtyard there is an aircraft that brought arms and supplies to Revivim in the time of the siege on the community.

Next to the outpost there is a large cistern from the Byzantine period called "The Cave", in which the first pioneers lived. In Revivim River, near the outpost, there are pools for storing floodwater, which were constructed in 1945 by the founders of Kibbutz Revivim in their vain attempts to develop intensive agriculture in the region.

Revivim was cut off during the War of Independence. The siege was lifted during Operation Horev at the end of December 1948. The permanent location was established in 1950, and the original site of the pioneers was turned into a museum that tells the story of the early years of the Negev pioneers.

The Negev outposts functioned as stations for agricultural experimentation whose goal was to investigate possibilities for developing agricultural enterprises in the Negev, through studying problems related to the climate, the soil and the vegetation unique to the area. The outposts helped a lot in the various research studies undertaken in the Negev, which was then an unknown region. They also fulfilled a very important role in land acquisition and protection, not just in their vicinities but in many other places. The region became much more defensible as a result of these outposts.