At this point, it’s worth leaving the forest and going out on to the road. At the junction of HaShomrim Street and Jezreel (Yizrael) Street a monument in a park marks the spot where Alexander Zaid (1886-1938) of HaShomer (“The Watchman,” i.e., the pre-State Jewish defense organization) was murdered while on his way to the temporary settlement of nearby Kibbutz Alonim. A sign near the memorial marks the spot where his murderers lay in wait for him. On the other side of HaShomrim Street is the entrance to the cemetery where members of HaShomer, including Zaid himself, are buried. The grave markers are made from unhewn stone and the place has an atmosphere that is all its own.
In 1926 a group called Kvutzat HaRo‘im (“The Band of Shepherds”) settled here in an attempt to found a herders’ village. This romantic project attracted people from Tel Aviv, including the poet Alexander Penn, who composed some of his finest works here. After a number of failed attempts, however, the shepherds abandoned the Beit Shearim hills and Alexander Zaid remained alone at the site until his murder in 1938.
In 1927 Sde Yaakov, the first HaPoel HaMizrahi moshav, was established in the Jezreel Valley. Its founders, pioneering farmers imbued with a love of the Land and the Torah, had settled initially on Mount Beit Shearim before moving to the Jezreel Valley, just below the site they inhabit today. The moshav is named after Rabbi Yitzhak Yaakov Reines, the founder of HaPoel HaMizrahi.