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The Lower Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל התחתון, translit. HaGalil HaTaḥton), is a region within the North District of Israel. The Lower Galilee reaches from Jezreel Valley in the south to the Upper Galilee (Beit HaKerem Valley) in the north. Its eastern border is the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. Its western border is the Zvulun Valley and Acre.
The Lower Galilee is the southern part of the Galilee. It's called "Lower" since it is less mountainous than the Upper Galilee. The peaks of the Lower Galilee raise up to 500 meters above sea level. The tallest peaks are Mount Kamun (598 m) at the northern part of the Lower Galilee and Mount Tabor (588 m) in the southern part.
The Lower Galilee consists of three different regions which differ in their geological structure:
- The western Lower Galilee
- The central Lower Galilee
- The high regions of the eastern Lower Galilee
The Lower Galilee consists of low mountain ranges which extend from east to west with several valleys in between; south of the Beit HaKerem Valley is the Shagor mountain range, then the Sakhnin valley, the Yodfat range, the Tur'an valley and range, the Beit Netofa Valley, and the Ksulot (Joshua 19:18) range. In the western part of the Lower Galilee there are several low hills (200–300 meters) covered with Oak tree forests, the central Lower Galilee region is more mountainous and the eastern Lower Galilee region turn into flat basalt mountainside reaching heights of 300 meters above sea level which extend from northeast to the southwest.
Although the landscape of the Lower Galilee is less dramatic than that of the Upper Galilee, it is greener, more peaceful and quiet. The Lower Galilee is more accessible to the majority of Israelis (less than a 2 hour drive from the Tel Aviv area). Much of the produce farms of Israel originates in the Lower Galilee, especially in the Jezreel Valley and the Beit She'an Valley.
Type of soil
The soil of the Lower Galile mainly consists of the following:
- Limestone - the lands in the central Lower Galilee region consists mainly of limestone which was created due to accumulation of shells and skeletons of marine life on the seabed.
- Brown Terra Rossa - the Lower Galilee region also have many areas which consists of this type of soil which has high amounts of minerals. The Terra Rossa is the basis for the development of forests in the Galilee due to the fact that it has a large amount of mineral needed for the trees to grow.
- Basalt - the lands in the western Lower Galilee region (the area near the Golan Heights) consists mainly of Basalt which is a type of rock that was created as a result of hot magma from erupted volcanoes which later cooled in temperature and become rock hard and impenetrable. The Basalt rocks also consist of very fertile soil.
Until 1932 the settlements in the eastern Lower Galilee was based solely on spring water which existed in proximity to the villages which were only enough for home use and therefore it was not possible to have irrigated agriculture in the Lower Galilee at the time. In 1932 the first Well drilling was done in the Yavne'el Valley which supplied irrigation water to Yavne'el. In 1942 a water pipeline was constructed from the Sea of Galilee to the village which as a result extended its amount of agricultural lands, which were based mainly on the new water sources, despite the relatively high cost of water at that time. During the first decade of the State of Israel the villages of the Lower Galilee were involved in a constant struggle with the government demanding that the government would solve their water problems. After several local Well drilling attempts made during those years failed water pipeline were laid from the Sea of Galilee towared all villages in the Lower Galilee.