Nahal Assaf Lookout

 

Nahal Assaf, which is station number 4 on the ANZAC Trail, is a picturesque sitting area and lookout plaza, built with the support of JNF Australia. En route to the lookout point, you will pass columns bearing informative plaques about  the Gaza battles and the date Beersheba was conquered. Both the recreation ara and the lookout point are accessible to people with disabilities.
Nahal Assaf memorialises Assaf Shachnai, the commander of a Palmah squad that secured the water pipeline to the Negev settlements during the pre-state period. He was killed in December 1947 along with five of his men near Kafr Shu’ut,  close to the Gevulot Junction.
 
Wadi Assaf (Wadi al-Maayan) begins its path near Hurvat Maon (Khirbet Ma'ayan), passes through the foot of the observation point and spills into the Besor Stream about 3 km to the north. 
 
In November 1948, during the War of Independence, the Egyptians tried to extend their hold on the Gaza Strip to the western Negev and took over Tel Gama and Hurvat Ma'on. At the beginning of December, the IDF launched Operation Assaf, which thwarted the Egyptian threat in the region.
KKL-JNF planted a desert forest in Nahal Assaf covering some 850 acres. Most of trees planted are eucalyptus trees, while other broad-leaved trees and conifers make up the rest.
 
The loess soil that covers plains of the western Negev is subject to the processes of erosion. In places where the soil interface is faulty because of overgrazing, the uprooting and cutting down of vegetation, road building and incautious farming in the area, the water that flows from rains splits the area into many channels. The channels erode the soil, interfere with cultivation and make it difficult for natural vegetation to grow on the area's steep slopes.
 
KKL-JNF has turned the Assaf streambed into a  'field laboratory' where it trials different methods of preventing erosion. Several soil-stabilising devices have been installed along the streambed as part of the development of technologies to combat desertification.
 
To get there: From Tel Gama, proceed south on Route 232. After 500 meters  is Gama Junction (where the road meets Route 242). Continue on Route 232  for 30 meters past the junction and turn right onto a dirt road. The road makes an immediate left, and continues parallel to the road about half a kilometer, until it reaches the lookout’s parking area.