KKL-JNF has constructed a path that leads from the memorial plaza, turns eastwards and passes close to the remains of the buildings. The cypress trees here are worth a look, as KKL-JNF planted them between the housing plots after the War of Independence. A few of the large eucalypts beside the road may likewise be remnants of the original avenue planted along Mishmar HaYarden’s main street.
The silhouette cut-outs along the trail portray figures and events related to the history of Mishmar HaYarden, from its earliest days, through the British conquest in the First World War, all the way to the War of Independence. To the east of the memorial, within the fenced compound, is the arched entrance to the cellar of the community’s first public building, which served as a school, a synagogue and a clinic before the community’s last surviving combatants holed up there in the War of Independence. The path leads us to the recreation area created by KKL-JNF in the shade of a large eucalyptus tree. About fifty meters further on are benches that overlook the landscapes of the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. The recreation area is dedicated to the memory of journalist Yitzhak Ziv-Av, who for many years was chairman of KKL-JNF’s Land Development Authority.
To get to the cemetery we need to drive eastwards from Old Mishmar HaYarden in the direction of Bnot Yaakov Bridge (Route no. 91). The road curves round to the right, and about 450 meters from the bend a short dirt road ascends to the right and leads us to the cemetery parking lot.
Adjacent to the cemetery, beside the entrance, at a spot that provides a wonderful view of the Jordan River and the slopes of the Golan Heights, stands a large rock that commemorates the first pioneers to settle in Galilee.
The cemetery is full of graves from the First Aliya period, including those of Shoshanat HaYarden settlers. Every grave tells a story, though some of these stories remain unknown. The graves of three children who died on the same day remind us of the constant battle the Mishmar HaYarden pioneers waged against malaria.
A large tomb belonging to Haim Grabovsky and his son Menahem touches the heart particularly. On a summer’s day (July 26th) in 1938, after Arabs had destroyed the water facilities within their community, the two men drove their wagon down to a spring beside the River Jordan. On the way back, Arabs who were lying in ambush opened fire upon them. Haim pushed his son off the wagon and shouted to him to hide. Although injured by the gunfire, he continued to fight and even managed to break a rifle belonging to one of his attackers. Hearing the shots, other members of the community rushed to spot and found the son dead and his father mortally wounded. The father managed to gasp out the name of one of the murderers before he died on the way to hospital in Tiberias, still believing that he had managed to save his son’s life. Haim Grabovsky’s second son, Karmi, fell in the heroic defense of his home during the War of Independence.