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Arbel (arbel, nebe shueb, horns of hittim)

Date of Submission: 30/06/2000
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
Delegation Permanente d'Israel aupres de l'UNESCO
Coordinates: Lat. 32°59' N / Long. 34°59' E
Ref.: 1475

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These three elements provide an integrated and contiguous site.

Arbel The ancient settlement of Arbel is located in the eastern Lower Galilee, a recognized site of early Torah scholars during the Second Temple period where places of Jewish study were built. Arbel is also known for its unique fortified caves where Hasmonean loyalists fighting the Galilean Zealots hid. In the Talmud and piyyutim and in the Salvation literature of the sixth and seventh centuries CE, the valley of Arbel is mentioned as the place in which the redemption would begin. A few travelers mention the remains of a magnificent synagogue here, ascribed to Nittai of Arbela or to Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, founded in the second century C.E. as were other synagogues of the Galilee. The synagogue appears to have been destroyed in the mid-eighth century CE. Arbel is also a site of uncommon natural beauty with steep cliffs plunging down toward the Sea of Galilee, overlooking Migdal, the birthplace of Mary. It is also a natural reserve supervised by the National Parks Authority.

Nebe Shueb Located near Karnei Hittim, south of Tiberias, Nebe Shueb is the site of the tomb of Jethro, father-in-law of Moses and the focal point for the annual pilgrimage and public festival at Je by Druse, who consider the site holiest in Israel, as according to Druse tradition, Jethro was the hidden prophet of his generation who instructed Moshe, the revealed prophet. It is also identified by early Latin sources as the Mount of Beatitude.

The Horns of Hittim The Horns of Hittim, is the site of a major battle between the Arabs and Crusaders in the year 1187, marking the beginning of the end of the Crusader Kingdom in Palestine. At the close of the 12th century the Crusader Kingdom was confronted with a threat from united Arab forces under the command of Sultan Saladin. Heavily armored Crusader knights and foot soldiers, nearly the entire Crusader forces, went out eastward from Sepheris' springs past Tiberias toward Saladin's invading army. Reaching the steaming valley at the foot of the Karnei Hittim, they were caught in a fire of thorns when thousands of lightly armed Moslem knights shot at them with bows and lances. The Crusaders, duped by the deceptive ruse of weakness by the Moslems galloped frantically after the imaginary Arab retreat, directly down the slope above Karnei Hittim's fields to the spring near Nebi Shueb. The Crusaders' heavy armor prevented them from redeploying their forces and, with the day's end, their defeat marked the destruction of almost all Crusader power in Palestine. Shortly afterwards, the entire Crusader Kingdom fell to Saladin.