Seek An Ottoman Tax-collector’s Treasure On The Golden Trail
Seasonal blossoms make this the perfect time to walk a storied path in the Negev’s Lahav Forest.
Back in the last century, when the Ottoman Turks ruled Palestine, a tax collector lived in Gaza. In 1917, as British forces advanced towards Gaza in their move to conquer the Holy Land, he decided to hightail it out of the country. He packed a trunk with taxes he had collected – mainly gold, but also diamonds, rubies, and other valuables – and boarded a train for his home in Istanbul.
As he traveled through the Negev, he stopped off at the ruins of a village called Abu Hof. After finding the perfect spot, he buried his treasures, shot his companions, and continued on his way.
According to Talila Livshutz, Director of Community and Forests in the Jewish National Fund’s Northern Negev District, the story may be only that – a story. But it could also be true. For locals who believe that they can pinpoint the location of the treasure sometimes dig in and near Abu Hof, often causing damage to its antiquities as they attempt to strike it rich.
Last year, Livshutz completed development of a wonderful, circular forest trail around the ruins of Abu Hof (Father of Fear), on the western edge of Lahav Forest. Livshutz named it Shvil Hazahav (The Golden Trail), for both the tax collector’s treasures and the deep yellow blossoms found nearby in late fall.