The Beit HaShomer Museum is located in Kibbutz Kfar
Giladi in the Upper Galilee. The museum tells the history of the Bar Giora
underground security organization, which was established in 1907 to guard the Jewish
settlements from Arab attackers. Bar-Giora later became the HaShomer movement,
which was the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces - the IDF.
In 1907, young European immigrants founded the Bar Giora
secret organization, named for the leader of the great revolt against Rome.
Prior to this, the Jewish communities hired Arabs for protection.
In 1908, there was a rise in Arab nationalism and the Jewish guards were in great demand.
In 1909, the Bar Giora movement became the Hashomer Eretz Yisrael (Land of
Israel Watchmen) movement.
In 1916, the Hashomerim founded Kibbutz Kfar Giladi.
After the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the Hashomerim was replaced by the Ahdut
Ha’Avoda, in 1921 by the Hagana, and, in 1948, by the Haganah which became the
official Israeli army – the IDF.
The Beit HaShomer Museum is run by the IDF. The museum
consists of a series or rooms and a video presentation which tells the story of one of the
watchmen through his correspondences. The story in the video carries on from one room to the
next, where artifacts from the watchmen and Hashomer movement are displayed. These
artifacts include rifles, clothing, and photographs.
Nearby - within walking distance - are the importaint historical
sites of Tel Hai and the cemetery with the famous Roaring Lion that marks the burial site of Tel
Hai's defenders. The museum is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday.
Cost of admission is about $5.00 for adults.