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The SWS Trail

The SWS trail (security-water-settlement) is a vehicle/bike trail connecting 14 fascinating sites that tell the story of the settlement in the Northern Negev from before the establishment of the State of Israel until today.

The sites are varied and take travelers through the settlers’ hardships bringing water to the Negev, alongside life next to the Gaza Strip over the years.

At each site, you’ll find an explanatory  sign  and a video clip that brings the place to life and gives a sneak peek into the stories and people behind the names.

Moving between the sites can be done by car or bicycle, and can be driven from north to south, or vice versa.

General Information:

  • Route length: 30 km. The road is flat, mostly paved, and suits all vehicles.
  • Duration of the tour: 2-4 hours, depending on travelers’ choices.

The sites (From North to South):

  • Deir Suneid – an old Turkish railway station with an impressive bridge over the Shikma stream, where the track used to pass.
  • The Shikma Observatory – a national ecological corridor that runs through diverse landscapes, from the slopes of the Hebron mountains, through the ravines to Zikim Beach in the west.
  • The Moshe Feder Monument – Learning about Moshe, a technical manager at one of the Erez factories, who came from the center of the country to help his friends operate this vital factory and was killed by a missile that hit his car.
  • Erez’ Searchlight Hill – a strategic point in the struggle over this kibbutz during the War of Independence, where a searchlight was operated to detect infiltrators.
  • Pursuits Hill – a strategic hill in the fight against the fedayeen in 1956. At its foot, 6 fighters were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine.
  • Camel Hill – a hill overlooking Beit Hanoun and the entrances to Gaza. Over the years, it formed a grazing space for Kibbutz Nir Am’s cattle.
  • The Pillbox – a fortified guard post built by the Haganah organization before the War of Independence and manned throughout the war by the defenders of Kibbutz Nir Am.
  • The Water and Security Museum – the first point where Nir Am members started the settlement. It became the Mekorot camp, from which the first pipes that lead water to the Negev came out.
  • The Asaf Siboni Observatory – a monument in memory of Asaf, a Nir Am member, killed in the She’ar Yashuv helicopter disaster in 1997.
  • The Nabiya Meri Observatory – Learning about the unique personality of Nabya Meri, a Druze commander who broke through the service wall of his sect but was killed in 1996 in the Rafah sector.
  • The Black Arrow – a site that conveys the paratroopers’ legacy. Adjacent to the Armistice House, which was used by representatives of Israel and Egypt as a place to settle differences.
  • Observation over the Gaza Barrier – a point that best illustrates the meaning of life next to the Gaza Strip.
  • The Old Be’erot Yitzhak – a water tower that remained as a symbol of the laying of the water pipes to the Negev and the resistance of Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzhak members to the attacks suffered during the War of Independence.
  • The Barel Trail: Learning the story of Barel Hadaria Shmueli, an Israeli security forces soldier killed by gunfire at the border of the Gaza Strip.

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