Isle Of Peace: Where The Jordan Meets The Yarmouk
The churning rapids at Naharayim, or ‘two rivers,’ helped birth the first hydroelectric power station in the land of Israel
When Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, special arrangements were made for a parcel of land near Naharayim and Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’acov. Although the land had belonged to Israel for decades and had been farmed by Israeli settlers, under the treaty it was transferred to Jordan.
Then, in a spirit of cooperation, it was leased back to Israel so that settlers could continue cultivating their fields. From that time on, visitors were warmly welcomed to the Israeli enclave inside the Kingdom of Jordan, and the amicable agreement was tangible proof that peaceful coexistence could be a reality. The so-called island became known as the Isle of Peace.
Nearly three years later, a group of schoolgirls from Beit Shemesh participated in an outing to Naharayim and the Isle of Peace. The girls and their unarmed teachers were standing on a hill above an abandoned lake in the enclave when a Jordanian soldier aimed his weapon in their direction and pulled the trigger. Seven girls were killed in the massacre.
Following that tragic event, the late King Hussein made an unprecedented trip to each of the victims’ homes to express his personal sorrow and the grief of his nation. Eventually, new security arrangements were finalized that ensured the safety of contemporary Israeli visitors.