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The Yigal Allon Center and its boat

The Yigal Allon Center is adjacent to Kibbutz Ginosar by Lake Kinneret and was founded by friends of Yigal Allon (1918-1980) to perpetuate his ideals. He was a founding member of Kibbutz Ginosar, a commander in the Palmach, an influential Knesset member, and a government minister. One room is dedicated to describing his military and political life. On the ground floor is an exhibit of a wooden boat retrieved from Lake Kinneret that dates from the time of Jesus. Other exhibits include a mosaic floor from a synagogue from the late Roman period and a copy of the Migdal Stone from Magdala. 

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.

Public transport: Enter into Moovit "Ginosar". There is a moderately frequent bus service between Tiberias and Moshav Livanim that stops 600 meters/7-minute from the Center. There are also many other lines that stop at the intersection to Ginosar and which are a 1.0 Km, 13-minute walk to the Center.  

Boat at Yigal Center.jpeg

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When did the boat displayed at the Yigal Allon Center capsize?


The boat displayed in the Yigal Allon Center was exposed in 1986 by a fall in the water level of Lake Kinneret. It had been preserved in the lake because of the clay around it. A short movie in the center shows how it was retrieved. It has been dated from 100 BCE to 100 CE, which 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. Jesus’ base was in Capernaum and his preaching would have been in the towns on the northern shore of Lake Kinneret. Many of those to whom Jesus preached would have been fishermen. Peter, John and James were three of his disciples who gave up their livelihoods as fishermen to join him. This is the type of boat they would have used for their fishing. Jesus would have also preached to people on the shore from a boat similar to this. 


This boat was found a bit south of Ginosar, by the former town of Magdala. Magdala was a fishing village on Lake Kinneret close to Tiberius. Jesus taught here and healed an afflicted woman Mary Magdalene, and she would subsequently follow him in his missionary. Her hometown of Magdala became famous through the New Testament. There is an archeological park in this town that includes the ruins of an ancient synagogue.

But why did this fisherman’s boat capsize close to the town of Magdala? A strong possibility is that it was sunk during the Battle of Migdal that took place during the Great Revolt of the Jews against Rome between 66 to 70 CE. The first place in the Galilee to be attacked by the Romans was Yodfat and Magdala was next.


Many armed Galileans joined in the defense of Magdala, although as at Gamla many inhabitants of the city were reluctant participants. The lopsided battle is described by the historian Josephus. The Jews were soon routed by the Romans. Magdala was protected on land by a wall, but was unprotected from the lakeside and many Jews attempted to escape by fishing boats. Vespasian had anticipated this and the boats of the townspeople were no match against those of the Romans and a massacre ensued. Some 6,500 Jews died in this battle. Shipwrecks and bloated corpses littered the shoreline.


In sum, it is possible that this boat did not capsize at the time of Jesus, but during the Great Revolt which occurred about 40 years after his death. Nevertheless, it was the type of boat used by his disciples and other fishermen during this period. 

A replica of the Magdala Stone displayed at the center (see the webpage on Magdala for details)

Links to the HOME PAGE and best family activities, hikes and historic sites in the GOLAN, EASTERN GALILEE, UPPER GALILEE, LOWER GALILEE, JORDAN VALLEY & LAKE KINNERET, the SHEFELAH, TEL AVIV-YAFFO and surroundings, NORTH of TEL AVIV, and SOUTH of TEL AVIV.

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