Hakaf-Het Forest

Hakaf-Het Forest. Photograph: Yaakov Shkolnik, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Hakaf-Het Forest, also named Kola Forest, covers approximately 3000 dunams.
The part of the forest south of Elad, approximately 1200 dunams, serves as a community forest for the benefit of the residents of Elad and the surrounding area.
The forest, which KKL-JNF began to plant in the second half of the 1950s, is designated for conservation as an open green area in the National Outline Plan for forests and forestry (TAMA 22).
KKL-JNF, in collaboration with Elad municipality and Hevel Modi'in Regional Council, nurtures it according to the principles of the community forest on involving the community and its institutions in the life of the forest.
  • How to get there

    South-eastern entrance: Route 465, one kilometer east of Koah Junction (Rantis), following the Israel Trail. Breslav Gate: A footway, which leaves the peripheral road of Elad, approximately 80 km from the end of Ritba Street. Western entrance: Turn east from Route 444 about one kilometer south of the junction at the entrance to Elad.
  • Entrance fee

    Entrance to the forest is free of charge.
  • Geographic location-

    Coastal lowlands
  • Area-

  • Special Sites in the Area-

    Rosh HaAyin community forest, Shoham community forest, Ben Shemen Forest, Tel Hadid, Migdal Tzedek National Park, Tel Afek National Park, Mekorot HaYarkon (Yarkon Sources) National Park.
  • Special Sites in the Park-

    Sayeret Matkal recreation area, Alexandroni Brigade memorial, Kola Fortress, Hakaf-Het Road.
  • Type of parking-

    Accessible parks,Picnic parks
  • Interest-

    Hiking and Walking Tracks,Lookouts

About the Forest

Hakaf-Het Forest, which KKL-JNF began planting in the second half of the 1950s, is designated for conservation as an open green area in the National Outline Plan for forests and forestry (TAMA 22).

The forest was planted to commemorate the fallen of the Alexandroni Brigade who feel in defense of the place in the War of Independence and it is named after them.

KKL-JNF, in collaboration with Elad municipality and Hevel Modi'in Regional Council, carries out activity in the forest according to the principles of the community forest, of which the main one is involving the community and its institutions in the life of the forest.

Elad Forest, which covers approximately 3,000 dunams and surrounds the city of Elad in a horseshoe shape on the south, east and north, is a community forest that is part of Hakaf-Het Forest.


Hakaf-Het Forest is planted on the western slopes of Samaria, which meet the Coastal Plain – an area known as Hadom HaShomron.

The hill peaks here ascend to approximately 200 meters above sea level.
The rocks that are exposed in the forest are mainly hard chalk and dolomite.
The main channel that drains the area is Nahal Mazor, one of the tributaries of the Yarkon.

Two important trails cross Hakaf-Het Forest: One of them is the Israel Trail, which crosses the length of Israel; the other is the Sea to Jerusalem cycling trail that connects Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The region in which Elad is located is the historical territory of the tribe of Ephraim. Elad, which was founded in 1998, is named after one of the sons of the tribe, who is mentioned in the Bible: "The sons of Ephraim... and Zabad, his son Shuthelah, also Ezer and Elad" (Chronicles 1, 7: 20-21).

In 2014 the population of the city was approximately 42,000 residents, who observe a religious way of life. KKL-JNF have planted forest and woodland trees in the forest, signposted roads and walking trails and prepared picnic sites for the benefit of the public.

Activity in nature in HaKoah Forest. Photo: Mira Zer
Activity in nature in HaKoah Forest. Photo: Mira Zer
Nature in the forest

Hakaf-Het Forest is mostly a planted forest. The trees that characterize it are Jerusalem pine, Turkish pine, Canary pine, stone pine, Mediterranean cypress, tuart, red-capped gum, terebinth and tamarisk. Two species of trees from the legume family have also invaded the forest – blue-leafed wattle and white leadtree.

In Hakaf-Het Forest there is a diverse and rich world of plants and animals. In a survey that was carried out, more than 237 species of plants were recorded including rare species such as Kickxia cirrhosa, Dianthus tripunctatus and bush jasmine. Rhus tripartita, a bush characteristic of western Samaria, also grows in the forest, and in fall, autumn squill and Steven's meadow saffron also flower there. Later the branched asphodel appears, conspicuous with its high stalks among the carpets of anemones, cyclamen, tulips and many other flowers.

A zoological survey identified activity of many species of mammals in the forest including the jackal, mountain gazelle, red fox, mole-rat, porcupine and species of bats. Approximately 56 species of birds have been observed including the lesser kestrel, long-billed pipit and European bee-eater.
The long-legged buzzard is also among the visitors to the forest. Common birds are the partridge and the jay. In winter the white wagtail hops here and in summer the snake eagle hovers overhead.
Hakaf-Het Forest is located on an international migratory path of birds. In fall and spring many migratory birds cross its skies including the white stork, pelican, European honey buzzard, black kite, Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture, osprey and species of eagles, buzzards, harriers, hawks and falcons.

Disabled-accessible sites

In the Sayeret Matkal recreation area the following facilities have been made disabled-accessible:

  • A campfire circle
  • Picnic tables

Community Forest

The community forest is the result of collaboration between KKL-JNF, community representatives and the local authority. The community is a partner to the life of the forest in the stages of planning, development, maintenance and initiating community activities.

The community forest is very important as a green area near built-up areas and as an environmental resource that is essential for the quality of the lives of the residents near it.

During the year KKL-JNF carries out activities and guided tours in the forest.
The communities of Elad and Hevel Modi'in have taken upon themselves to assist KKL-JNF in nurturing the forest and guarding it against fire. Its representatives participated in courses in firefighting, which took place with the guidance of the Ayalon firefighting association. They practiced initial halting of the spread of fire, which is intended to delay the spread of a fire until the professional firefighting forces arrive.

The forest provides important ecological services. The trees in it fix carbon dioxide and contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect. The forest contributes to forming and varying the landscape, conserving soil and increasing permeation of water into the soil. The forest reduces noise and air pollution.

Community forests fulfill an important role in giving community services such as the possibility of a calm walk in nature near the city, a place that serves spiritual needs of prayer and seclusion, contributes to mental and physical health and contributes to improving the quality of the air.

KKL-JNF guidance in the forest. Photograph: Mira Zer