Explore Central Israel’s Sites

May 6th 2012

In between spiritual Jerusalem and modern Tel Aviv lies a wealth of fascinating Israeli sites that offer a range of experiences. For a glimpse into Israel’s military past, visit the clandestine Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory, a battlefield from the War of Independence (Latrun Police Station), and the Armored Brigade Museum. Kids will enjoy the science exhibits at the Weizmann Institute and will delight in Mini Israel, a tiny to-scale model of Israel that extends over 35,000 square meters.

Tha Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory offers a glimpse into a thrilling chapter in Zionist history. During the British Mandate period, Zionist resistance fighters needed to discreetly produce bullets and so built a secret factory beneath a fully functioning kibbutz. Today the impressive site is a museum, and visitors can climb down into the small space and see where the freedom fighters toiled. Between 1942 and 1948, the factory produced 2.25 million bullets.

To continue your tour of Israel’s military history, head to the Latrun Police Station, which was a major battlefield during the War of Independence. The British built a police station in the Ayalon Valley in the early 1940s because of its strategic importance, but they handed it over to the Arab League in 1948 when they retreated. Over the next 20 years, the Israeli army tried to take over the station many times and finally succeeded in 1967 at the beginning of the Six Day War.

Today it is a memorial site dedicated to those who lost their lives fighting for Israel. Visitors can pay respects at the Memorial Wall and watch a short documentary about the battles fought here. Also on the site is the Armored Brigade Museum, which offers an impressive exhibit of over 200 armored vehicles used in Israel throughout its modern history.

For something a little lighter but no less educational, head to the nearby Clore Garden of Science at the Weizmann Institute, an interactive science museum with exhibits that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Hands-on exhibits are so much fun that you’ll love learning about the laws of physics, solar energy and more.

Finally, a tour to Israel is hardly complete without a stop at one of the country’s most beloved sites, Mini Israel. This remarkable 1:25 scale model of Israel extends over 7.5 acres and displays more than 385 exact replicas of many of the country’s most important sites. It really is fun for the whole family!