Mount Bental/Valley of Tears
The Mount Bental overlook is beautiful and provides stunning views of Mount Hermon and the Golan. Located in the Golan Heights, Mount Bental is 1,170 meters above sea level. The road to the top has recently been repaved and tourist facilities have been renovated and rebuilt. In a region where much is inaccessible to tourists due to restrictions on non-military traffic and poor roads, Mount Bental offers a rare and rewarding sight. The overlook is managed by Kibbutz Merom Golan, the first Kibbutz established in this region after the 1967 war. From the overlook one can see Mount Hermon (3,000 meters above sea level), several Druze villages as well as a network of old bunkers and trenches. Just to the east of Mount Bental is Syria, with Damascus lying just 60km away.
In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Mount Bental was the site of one of the largest tank battles in history. Mount Bental is a key strategic point for Israel due to its advantageous observation point. Israel knew it count not risk losing this mountain, nor any of the Golan Heights . The Syrians attacked the Golan with 1,500 tanks and 1,000 artillery pieces. Israel countered with only 160 tanks and 60 artillery pieces. The long stretch of valley in between Mount Bental and Mount Hermon became known as the Valley of Tears. The 100 Israeli tanks were reduced to seven under extreme enemy fire. However, the Israelis managed to take down 600 Syrian tanks in the process. The Syrians eventually retreated, but not without inflicting heavy casualties on Israel.
Source: Allan Rabinowitz, Wikipedia. View from Mount Bental, signs courtesy of Marty Block.