The Shfela Scenic Lookout

Location: The Hamalachim-Shahariya Forest, east of Kiryat Gat.

Description: The Shfela Scenic Lookout takes advantage of a small elevation to provide a view of Nahal Lachish, Kiryat Gat, the large Kiryat Gat Interchange on Route 6, Tel Erani, and Route 35. On the far side of Route 35 and visible opposite the lookout (which is shaded by pines) is Khirbet al-Ra'i, an archaeological site testifying to a settlement with Philistine characteristics that dates from the 12 century BCE and including a later stratum consistent with the Davidic period. Archaeologists identify the site, which is currently being excavated, as Ziklag of the Bible.

Directions: Enter the Hamalachim – Shahariya Forest. Take the paved road that circles the forest's perimeter. The road leads you to a lookout tower, with the central parking lot alongside. From the site of the lookout tower, continue on the perimeter road another 1.5 kilometers. The lookout is at a sharp leftward bend in the road. (If using Waze, go to the Hamalachim-Shahariya Forest and follow the above directions from there.)

Photograph: Ronen Helman, KKL-JNF