ⓘ Mount Gilboa


ⓘ Mount Gilboa

Mount Gilboa, sometimes called the Mountains of Gelboe, in Arabic Jebel Faqqua, is a mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley in northern Palestine to the north, and parts of the Tubas and Jenin Governorates of the Palestinian Autonomy to the south.


1. Etymology


The meaning of the Hebrew name Gilboa is boiling springs; bubbling fountains; agitated pools; water bursting from the rock.

Jebel Faqqua

In Jebel Faqqua, also spelled Jabal Fakuah, "Jebel" means mountain, and "faqqa" means burst, split.


2. In the Bible

In the Hebrew Bible, Saul, Israels first king, led a charge against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa 1 Samuel 28:4. The battle ends with the king falling on his own sword and Sauls sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua being killed in battle 1 Samuel 31:1-4. King David, who hears about the tragedy after the battle, curses the mountain:

Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of choice fruits; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil 2 Samuel 1:21.

3. History

A minor battle between the army of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and Sultan Saladin took place at the foot of Mount Gilboa in 1183.

The 1260 Battle of Ain Jalut was fought at the foot of Mount Gilboa. The success of the Muslim Mamluks against the Mongols marked the end of the westward push of the Asian empire and ensured the survival of Muslim Egypt.


4. Geography

The formation has the shape of a boomerang, extending north from the highlands of Samaria on the West Bank and turning northwest at about half its length, thus separating the southeastern end of the Jezreel Valley to the west, from the Beit Shean and Ein Harod valleys to the east. The Green Line between Israel and the West Bank follows the top of the ridge, thus running west-to-east first, then north-to-south. The ranges highest peak rises 496 meters above sea level.


5. Flora and fauna

In 1976 and 1977, it was counted to have about 170 plant species, including Pinus halepensis on the rocky slopes and Pistacia lentiscus the shrub layer.

Every year from late February until late March the purple Haynes Iris, known in Hebrew as the Gilboa Iris Irus ha-Gilboa, blooms on the mountain. Two nature reserves have been declared on the ridge: the Gilboa Iris nature reserve in 1970, covering 7.280 dunams 728 ha, and the eastern Gilboa reserve in 2005, covering 18.290 dunams 1.829 ha.

It also has a very diverse in animal species range, with 14 reptile, 7 rodent, 31 bird and 13 isopod species.