KKL-JNF rehabilitates the forest using natural means that take into account the self-rehabilitation ability of the growth and the ground's seed supply. Only when no other choice is left, the KKL-JNF foresters intervene and take action to help rehabilitate the grove trees.
Diefenbaker Road at Rabin Park
Starting point: the roundabout near the Jerusalem Trailblazers Memorial near the Shoresh Interchange and north of it.
End of the Track: the Sha'ar HaGay Gas Station.
Length of the Track: about 8 kilometers.
Track type: a dirt road drive for a 4X4 vehicle.
The track: Rabin Park spreads east of Sha'ar HaGay. During Israel's War of Independence, Yitzhak Rabin commanded the PALMAH's Harel Division, tasked with breaking the Arab blockade on Jerusalem. Two high branches rise above Sha'ar HaGay: on the south, the Shayarot Branch, above the Burma Road and on the north the Mishlatim Branch, through which the Diefenbaker Road passes.
Trailblazers Recreation Area – contains a memorial site for the PALMAH's sixth battalion. Here, travelers will find signs telling the story of the battalion and the way to Jerusalem during Israel's War of Independence. The large rock with the inscription "Rabin Park" was brought to the site on June 24, 1997, the same day of the park's declaration.
The battalion's main mission during the first months of fighting was securing the road to Jerusalem. One of the battalion's platoons was stationed at Kiryat Anavim and in Ma'ale HaHamisha, and operated outposts along the ridge. The platoon's warriors also operated against villages used as bases for Arabs who attacked the convoys on their way to Jerusalem. Two of the platoons were "Foremen's Platoons" – tasked with securing the convoys. The battalion had many more missions as the campaign continued.
The Trailblazers Memorial – about 200 meters west of the recreation area, a staircase goes up to the top of a small hill, the former sire of a small Arab village named Hirbet Zunukla. Today, it is the site of The Trailblazers Memorial, sculpted by Naomi Henrik. The memorial, which was revealed in 1967, is made of six steel rods that point the way to the capital and symbolize the break into the city during Israel's War of Independence.
The Mishlatim Branch - Hirbet Zunukla and the Mishlatim Branch were conquered during Operation Maccabi, which took place on May 1948. Yitzhak Rabin commanded the operation, carried out by the Harel Division, with reinforcement from the 51st Battalion of the Givati Division. The operation started on May 7, 1948. The outposts along the ridge were taken, but the force had to retreat due to complication at the Masrek section.
On the following night, another attempt to take over the ridge south of Jerusalem. On the night of May 9, the outposts on both sides of road were taken, and the forces stood successfully against constant Arab attacks that lasted for a few days. Some of the outposts changed hands, but eventually remained under the control of the Israeli forces.
The Armored Vehicles Site – back in the Trailblazers Recreation Area, travelers can take the Diefenbaker Road that passes at the top of the Mishlatim Branch. The road, marked in red, is named after John Diefenbaker, who served as the Prime Minister of Canada from 1957 to 1963 and was a loyal friend to Israel.
Drive carefully! From the Trailblazers Recreation Area, a road marked in red goes east. The road bypasses the recreation area branch from the east and then changes direction to the west. After another 500 meters, travelers reach The Armored Vehicles Site. Travelers will be greeted by a sign explaining on the site, and a trail leads to an olive grove on the left. Here, between the grove and Road 1, are the remains of seven armored vehicles from Israel's War of Independence. They are positioned in a way that allows on the road to see them.
Outposts and Japanese Garden – up on the road marked in red, the heightening way above Road 1 demonstrates the huge strategic value of the outposts during Israel's War of Independence. A drive up the branch and 1.5 kilometers from the armored vehicles site, travelers will reach the Japanese Garden. The garden consists of a batch of rock surrounded by natural growth dedicated to Father Otsuki – founder of the Christian society of Beit Shalom. According to the society's faith, Jerusalem is the key to world peace, and the garden was therefore founded on the road leading to the capital. Near the garden was Outpost 5, one of the outposts overlooking the road to Jerusalem.
Further up the road, against the landscape of Sha'ar HaGay, travelers pass near a commemoration sign for Uzi Narkis, who commanded the 4th battalion of the Harel Division during Israel's War of Independence and participated in the defense of Sha'ar HaGay. Two large oak trees mark a large forest section planted in the memory of Zevulun Hammer, former Minister of Education in the Israeli Government. A short dirt road leads to outposts 7 and 8.
On the way to outpost 9, travelers will suddenly see the landscape of the plains. The city of Modi'in can be seen clearly, as well as the cities of Rehovot and Ramleh. On a bright day, the high towers of Tel Aviv can also be seen. Up next is the sign telling of outpost 10, which was positioned in front of the Jordanian "The Turrets Ridge" in Latrun.
The road goes down to the Ilan Stream and meets a junction. A left turn passes the Harsis Ruins and brings travelers to the end of the trip at the Sha'ar HaGay gas station.