Degania Aleph Review
The first kibbutz, the collective village of Degania Aleph was founded by Jewish pioneers from Eastern Europe in 1909. (Aleph is the A of the Hebrew alphabet; don't confuse the kibbutz with its younger neighbor, Degania Bet.) Near the entrance is a small Syrian tank of World War II vintage. On May 15, 1948, the day after Israel declared its independence, Arab armies invaded it from all sides. Syrian forces came down the Yarmuk Valley from the east, overran two other kibbutz complexes en route, and were only stopped here, at the gates of Degania. A teenager with a Molotov cocktail set alight the lead tank. On the grounds is the museum of Beit Gordon, named for the spiritual mentor of the early pioneers. It houses two collections: one devoted to the region's natural history, the other examining the history and archaeology of human settlement in the surrounding valleys.