The Nir Moshe Community Forest is a smallish woodland that extends over 923 dunam (approx. 230 acres) as part of the Western Negev’s Shovalim Forest. In the 1950s KKL-JNF began planting this widely dispersed greenwood along the shallow loess channels characteristic of the area in order to prevent rainfall from eroding the soil and damaging cultivated farmland. Planting was resumed in the 1990s, and today the woodland consists mainly of different varieties of eucalypt, cypress, jujube and tetraclinis, a North African conifer similar to the cypress. In the gullies, where water is comparatively plentiful, West Australian golden wattle (Acacia saligna), which is considered an invasive species, flourishes. Here and there the planters have added an occasional specimen of carob, tamarisk, sycamore and casuarina.
Nir Moshe Forest takes its name from nearby Moshav Nir Moshe. Thanks to donations from KKL-JNF Switzerland and local community efforts, the woodland has undergone a facelift and an upgrade and roads negotiable by private cars, two recreation areas, signposts and scenic-lookout seats have all been added. Between late January and mid-February visitors can enjoy the sight of innumerable anemones in flower.
KKL-JNF has recently laid a road from the entrance to Moshav Nir Moshe to “Anemone Hill” on the Sderot-Ruhama highway (Route no. 334). This area was the site of fierce fighting during the First World War at the Battle of Huj, in which British Yeomanry Cavalry played a decisive role, and the route, which is suitable for private cars, is today known as the Yeomanry Cavalry Road.
Eran Tirosh, chairman of the Society for the Heritage of World War I in Israel – which works together with KKL-JNF on sites that provide information about the Great War that concluded the Ottoman chapter in the history of the Land of Israel and ushered in the British Mandate – writes in this article about the battle that raged at the site.