Hamat Gader (Hebrew: חַמַּת גָּדֵר ; Arabic: الحمة السورية El-Hamma El-Souriya, meaning "The Syrian Hamma") is the Hebrew name of a site in the Yarmouk River valley, near the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights. The name means "hot springs of Gadara", referring to the several mineral springs with temperatures up to 50°C. Gadara, modern Umm Qais in Jordan, is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away.
The ancient name of Hamat Gader is preserved in the local Arabic name for the site (el-Ḥamma, Arabic: الحمّـة, Hebrew: אל חמה), and of the mound located near the site, Tel Bani, a corruption of the Greek word meaning "baths".
Hamat Gader was already widely known as a recreation site in Roman times.
Construction of the bath complex began in the 2nd century by the 10th Roman Legion, which was garrisoned in the city of Gadara. Two distinct construction periods are evident at the site: The Roman-Byzantine Period, during which most of the bath complex was built, and the Muslim period, during which major changes were made to the existing structures.
The hot water springs were used for recreation and healing purposes.
Some of the buildings were damaged by an earthquake in the 7th century and restored by the Umayyad caliph who ruled from Damascus. Eventually, in the 9th century, the baths were abandoned and a thick layer of silt covered the ruins.
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, according to the armistice agreements of 1949 Between Israel and Syria, it was determined that the area would be included in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between Israel and Syria. The villagers and their property were formally protected by Article V of the Israeli-Syrian agreement of 20 July that year.  However, Israel thought the Arab villagers could pose a security threat, and Israeli settlers and settlement agencies coveted the land. Israel therefore wanted the Palestinian inhabitants, a total of 2,200 people, moved to Syria.
On April 4, 1951, a force of Israeli soldiers and Border Police set out for Hamat Gader in order to assert Israeli sovereignty over the site. Since Israel was not allowed to have soldiers in the DMZ, the patrol was disguised as policemen. Syrian soldiers guarding the entrance to Hamat Gader ordered them to turn back immediately, but the Israeli force refused. Once the Israeli force had passed, the Syrians opened fire. Of the 22 soldiers and policemen in the force, seven were killed, three were wounded and one was taken prisoner. The skirmish became known as the "Al-Hamma Incident" (Hebrew: תקרית אל-חמה).
Israeli control over Hamat Gader was secured during the Six-Day War in 1967, when the Israeli army captured the surrounding Golan Heights, allowing free access to Hamat Gader for Israelis. Since then, it has been under Israeli sovereignty and has been developed as a tourist attraction, health resort and an alligator and exotic bird reserve. The health resort opened in 1977.
Hamat Gader is Israel’s largest and oldest Spa complex. The crocodile farm complex includes thermal baths. The water contains sulfur at a concentration of 4.7%, which may have a therapeutic effect on skin diseases, asthma, rheumatism and wrist pain, as well as renew skin cells.
- Hamat Gader Information Site
- Sukenik, EL : 'The ancient synagogue at Hamat Gader' (in Qobes, Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, 1934), pp. 41-61
- E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 82.
- "The Line of June 4, 1967", Frederic C. Hof, Jewish Virtual Library
- Morris, 2004, p. 513
- UN Doc S/1353 Syria Israel Armistice Agreement of 20 July 1949
- Israel to build dam on disputed land claimed by Syria New York Times, 26 August 1997
- Morris, 1993, p.363, citing Shalev: Shituf-Peula, 168-73
- Hamat Gader in the 20th Century
- Hamat Gader Information (Hebrew)
- Hamat Gader at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs site.
- Hamat Gader at Google Earth
- Hamat Gader Hot Springs