Canada Park

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Lake in Canada Park

Canada Park (Hebrew: פארק קנדה‎, Arabic:كندا حديقة) (also Ayalon Park)[1] is a national park stretching over 7,000 dunams and maintained by the Jewish National Fund of Canada.[2]

The park is located mainly in the Occupied Palestinian territories with a portion in the region that was a no man's land before 1967. It is North of Highway 1 (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem), between the Latrun Interchange and Sha'ar HaGai.[3] The park attracts some 300,000 visitors annually.[4] The whole Latrun salient was annexed by Israel in 1967.

Establishment[edit]

Map of destroyed villages and armistice lines

Canade Park is located in a strategic zone of the First Arab-Israeli War, blockading Jerusalem that was assaulted 6 times without success by the Israeli forces in 1948 but that fell in one hour during the Six Day War.[5]

After the capture, israel annexed the Latrun salient. The 4 Arab villages there were razed on the orders of Israeli general Yitzhak Rabin and over 10,000 inhabitants were expelled.[6][7][8] Canada Park was established on the lands of two of these Arab villages: Imwas and Yalo.[9] The inhabitants were offered compensation but not allowed to return.[8] Imwas, Yalo and Bayt Nuba were demolished as part of strategic plans to widen the Jerusalem Corridor.[10] Dayr Ayyub, also on the grounds of the park, had been partly destroyed during the fighting in 1948 and never rebuilt.[11] The settlement of Mevo Horon was built on the lands of Bayt Nuba in 1970.[12]

Canadian funding[edit]

In 1972, Bernard Bloomfield of Montreal, then President of JNF Canada, spearheaded a campaign among the Canadian Jewish community to raise $15 million for the park's establishment. The road leading to the park is named for John Diefenbaker, the former Canadian Prime Minister, who opened it in 1975. The project was completed in 1984.[13] JNF Canada continues to fund the upkeep of the park through donations received for this purpose.

Features[edit]

Ruins of Byzantine church, Canada Park

Canada Park covers an area of 7,000 dunams.[14] It is filled with wooded areas, walking trails, water features and archaeological sites. Trees in the park include olive, carob, pomegranate, pine and almond. The area is also home to a range of wildlife from lizards and turtles to gray ravens and blue jays.[15] Historical ruins on the grounds of the park include a Roman bathhouse, a Hasmonean cemetery, and a Crusader fortress (Castellum Arnaldi).[16] Two Second Temple-era ritual baths were also discovered there. [17] At the foot of one of the hills that overlooks the city of Modi'in is a large reservoir built by the Jewish National Fund for irrigating local fields.[18]

In the middle of the park is a forest planted to commemorate over 300 American and Canadian Jews who died in Israel's wars or were victims of terror. An annual memorial ceremony is organized by the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI). In 2001, the ceremony was attended by the US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Benvenisti, Meron (2002). Sacred Landscape. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23422-2. 
  • Brynen, Rex; El-Rifai, Roula (2007). Palestinian Refugees Challenges of Repatriation and Development: challenges of repatriation and development. Canada: International Development Research Centre. ISBN 1-55250-231-7. 
  • Colombo, John Robert (2001). 1000 questions about Canada: places, people, things, and ideas : a question-and-answer book on Canadian facts and culture. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-88882-232-1. 
  • David Newman, Clive Schofield (1995). Boundaries in Flux: The 'Green Line' Boundary Between Israel and the West Bank - Past, Present and Future. IBRU. ISBN 978-1-897643-25-9. 
  • Swedenburg, Ted (2003). Memories of revolt: the 1936-1939 rebellion and the Palestinian national past. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1-55728-763-2. 
  • Winter, Dave (2000). Israel Handbook: With the Palestinian Authority Areas. Canada: Footprint Handbooks. ISBN 1-900949-48-2. 


Coordinates: 31°50′19″N 34°59′52″E / 31.83861°N 34.99778°E / 31.83861; 34.99778