The Yigal Allon Center
The Yigal Allon Center near Kibbutz Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee can be considered an interest museum – you are either interested in the displays or you are not. The museum was erected by the friends of Yigal Alon (1918-1980) to perpetuate his ideals. He was a founding member of Kibbutz Ginosar, a commander in the Palmach and an influential Knesset member and government minister. On the ground floor an ancient wooden boat is exhibited that was observed . It was that was exposed in 1986 by the fall in water level of the Sea of Galilee and that had been preserved by the clay around it. It has been dated from 100 BCE to 100 CE. A short movie describes how the boat was lifted from the lake. A room describes the military and political life of Yigal Alon. There are other exhibits, including a mosaic floor from an excavated late Roman synagogue, but no overall theme. The center also runs leadership seminars.
Directions: Enter “Yigal Allon Center” into Waze and click on “Yigal Allon Center, Ginosar.”
Admission: The museum is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm Sunday to Thursday and Saturday, and 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Friday and holiday eves. Their phone number is 04 622 7700. This is their website.
Who used this boat?
One of the reasons for the excitement about the boat displayed in this museum is that 100 BCE to 100 CE includes the time of Jesus. Following the murder of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas, Jesus of Nazareth took over John’s ministry in the Galilee, which was to urge everyone to repent before the pending apocalyptic Kingdom of God. Jesus’ base was in Capernaum and his preaching would have been in the towns on the north-east shore of the Sea of Galilee. This boat was found a bit south of Ginosar by the former town of Magdala. Many of those he preached to would have been fisherman. Three of the disciples he recruited for his mission gave up their livelihoods as fisherman to join him, Peter, John and James, and this is the type of boat they would have used. Jesus would also preach from a boat to people on the shore. Three local communities were not prepared to heed his words, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Chorazin, and they were cursed by Jesus.
However, experts are prepared to admit that there is no particular reason why a fisherman’s boat should have capsized, and given the location of the wreck close to the town of Magdala, it is more likely that this boat was sunk during the Battle of Migdal that took place during the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans between 66-70 CE. Magdala was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee located towards Tiberius and opposite Arbel National Park. Jesus taught here and healed an afflicted woman Mary Magdalene, who would subsequently make her hometown famous. There is an archeological park at the site of the town that includes the ruins of a synagogue.
The city of Magdala was protected by a wall and the Romans attacked by the lake. This very lopsided battle is described by the historian Josephus. The boats the townspeople had were no match for those of the Romans. Some 6,500 people died in the battle. Shipwrecks and bloated corpses littered the shoreline. The Romans executed 1,200 prisoners of war at nearby Tiberias, sent 6,000 as slaves for Nero’s building projects in Greece, and tens of thousands were consigned to slavery.