The Yigal Alon Center and a submerged fisherman's boat

The Yigal Alon Center is near Kibbutz Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee. This museum was formed 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. An ancient wooden boat is exhibited on the ground floor that was retrieved from the Sea of Galilee. It was exposed in 1986 by the fall in water level of the lake and  had been preserved by the clay around it. It has been dated from 100 BCE to 100 CE, which includes the time of Jesus of Nazareth. A short movie describes how the boat was lifted from the lake. One room describes the military and political life of Yigal Alon. Other exhibits include a mosaic floor from an excavated late Roman synagogue, but there is no overall theme to the museum. 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.

Boat at Yigal Center.jpeg

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 of Nazareth. Following the murder of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas, Jesus took over John’s ministry in the Galilee. His mission 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 to whom Jesus preached would have been fisherman. Three of his disciples 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. 


Nevertheless, experts 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 quite 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 follow him and thereby 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 therefore attacked by the lake. The 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.

Replica of the Magdala Stone (see webpage on Magdala for details)