The Joe Alon Center and the Museum for Bedouin Culture
Situated in the heart of the forest, it is a center for scientific and educational research undertaken in conjunction with the museum, which is dedicated to Bedouin culture. The exhibition is fascinating and includes a film, folk tales, a visit to a hospitality tent, a presentation about the Jewish development of the Northern Negev and an exhibition about the work of KKL-JNF, The Awakening Desert. There is also an audio presentation on the roof of the museum explaining the surroundings. The Center is open daily including Saturdays, for a fee, telephone: 08-9913322 and 08-9918597.
Hirbet al Remamin, south of Kibbutz Lahav, is on the eastern slopes of the forest, where there are remains of an ancient Jewish synagogue from the time of the Second Temple (Nehemiah 11:29). The inhabitants of this village comprised the remnant that had not been exiled to Babylon. In the center of the building that remains, there are parts of walls, architectonic features and a floor with five engraved rosettes—a typical Jewish ornament in the days of the Second Temple. There is also a bird ringing station at the site.
Tel Halif and the Halif Ruins
North of Kibbutz Lahav is a mound identified with Rimon, a town recalled as having been part of the territory allotted to the tribe of Shimon (Joshua 19:7). Remains from the Bronze Period were discovered at the site as well as remains from the early Israelite Period – 6th to 9th century BCE. There is an excellent view of the Coastal Plain from the top of the ruins. Some of the remains were damaged in the 1950s, when communication trenches were dug there for military purposes. At the Halif ruins, remains of vessels from the Egyptian period were also found, as well as nearby Jewish burial caves from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, which attest to the Jewish presence on the plain after the Bar Kochba rebellion.
From the area of the watchtower there is a dirt road on the western slopes of the forest. On one of the turns in the forest KKL-JNF constructed an observation deck facing the Southern Coastal Plain.
Abu Hof Ruins
Abu Hof. Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik.
About ten minutes walking distance from the observation point are the Abu Hof ruins, which are from the Byzantine period and include a church, with its columns prone. A columbarium was discovered among the ruins with small cells for pigeons. It is exceptional because it was made of stone and not hewn from the bedrock like the other columbaria on the plain. There are also remains from the Chalcolithic period including a well considered the oldest in the world of its kind.
At 518m above sea level, the fire watchtower has a view of the Judean Plain, the mountains of Hebron, the Southern Coastal Plain and the Beersheba Valley. It is useful for KKL-JNF foresters in protecting the forest from fires. (No visitors are allowed to enter!)
Not far, between Kibbutz Dvir and Kibbutz Lahav, on a paved road, there is a ruin with hidden tunnels connecting the larger cave with underground chambers.The tunnel system was apparently dug out in the days of the Bar Kochba rebellion and was used by the insurgents. The cave is pitch dark, and a good part of the way through it requires crawling. (You must be equipped with a flashlight!) At the top of the ruins there is a great view of the Yaval Valley and the southern slopes of the Hebron Hills.
The Campbell Recreation Area
Located near the parking area next to the fire watchtower, it has picnic tables, playground facilities, water fountains and paved access paths that are wheelchair accessible.
Hashdera Recreation Area
Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik.
Located at the northern entrance to Lahav Forest, it has picnic tables that are wheelchair accessible.
Additional Recreation Areas
Additional recreation areas include the Mitzpe Recreation Area, the Doron Recreation Area, the Reches Recreation Area and the wheelchair accessible Oranim Recreation Area.