Alonei Abba (Waldheim) and Beit Lehem Hagalilit

Beit Lehem Hagalilit

The communities of Alonei Abba and Beit Lehem Haglilit sit on the hills east of Kiryat Tivon in the western Galilee surrounded by the 240 acre Alonei Abba nature reserve of Tabor Oaks.
This reserve is the largest remains of the forest that once stretched from Hadera and Caesarea to Tivon and the Nazareth hills.

The Temple Society founded Bethlehem in Galilee (Beit Lehem Hagalilit) in 1906 and Waldheim (Alonei Abba) in 1907.
The only church built in Israel by the Templar Community is in Alonei Abba.
The Evangelical Church was built in 1916 by the German citizens of "Waldheim", designed by Architect Otto Lutz.
In 1939, after the break of World War II, many of the settlers were deported by the British authorities to Australia under charges of aiding the enemy owing to the Templars' open support of the third Reich.
On April 17, 1947, forces of the Haganah captured Beit Lehem haGalilit and the last of the Templar settlers were deported to Australia as well. In the 1990s the place turned into a popular tourist site. Much of the original Templar architecture still survives at the site, like Bet Ha'Am.

Beit Lehem haGalilit is located about 7 kilometers west of Nazareth.
This town of Bethlehem is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as being in the territory of the Tribe of Zebulun, which included the lower Galilee (Josh 19:15).

Alonei Abba (Waldheim), Evangelical Church Beit Lehem Hagalilit  

Aviram Oshri, a senior archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority concludes that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of the Galilee, not in Bethlehem of Judea. Here is a translated portion of the summary to his article: What has been described above indicates that Jews occupied Bethlehem of the Galilee in the time of Jesus. During the Byzantine era there is a massive Christian presence in that place, a presence that has, if fact, continued to our times with the settling of the Templars. In addition, we learn from the New Testament that the life of Jesus centers around the lower Galilee and the Kineret [the Sea of Galilee]. According to the New Testament, the pregnant Mary rode [on a donkey] to be in her hometown, [yet] it makes no sense that a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy would ride such a distance [Bethlehem of Judea is situated some 70 miles {~113 kilometers} south of Nazareth]. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem of the Galilee, in contrast, is only about 7 kilometers [~4 miles]. The explanation that ties Jesus to Bethlehem in Judea is clear enough; the Christian claim is that Jesus is the Messiah, the Messiah, according to the Old Testament, will come from the House of David, and his [David's] origin is from Bethlehem in Judea. Therefore, if this historical entity existed and was named Jesus, and if he were born in Bethlehem, then it follows that it is Bethlehem of the Galilee, and not that of Judea.

 Alonei Abba (Waldheim), Evangelical Church

Templars are members of the Temple Society (German: Tempelgesellschaft), founded by Christoph Hoffmann and Georg David Hardegg at Kirschenhardthof near Ludwiigsburg in 1861.
This religious society has its roots in the Pietism within the Lutheran Church in the State of W?rttemberg, Germany.
Their aim was to promote spiritual cooperation to advance the rebuild of the Temple in the Holy Land.
In 1868 the Templers started to create settlements in Palestine. First they purchased land that was far from the city of Haifa and set out to build the first planned agricultural community in the Holy Land.
One year later Hoffmann established the community near Jaffa(1869), afterwards other Christian communities Sarona* (Hakirya, Tel Aviv, 1871), Wilhelma (Bnei Atarot, 1902), Bethlehem in Galilee (Beit Lehem Hagalilit, 1906) and Waldheim (Alonei Abba, 1907).
They maintained their German citizenship and established the first Nazi Party branch outside of Germany. At the outbreak of World War II they were interned by the British in Palestine, and about one third were deported to Australia. The Templars were exiled to Australia by the British Administration during World War II (1939-45).
After banishment of the Germans and the capture of the community during the 1948 War of Independence, it was resettled as a semi-cooperative moshav. The Australian government, which wanted to use the proceeds from the sale of the Templars' property to assist in their resettlement, successfully persuaded Germany to include this restitution as part of the Claims Agreement signed in September 1952. It took a further decade of negotiation before a final settlement was agreed to. Their property was taken over by the State of Israel.

*Sharona was built 16 years before Neve Zedek, the first Jewish neighborhood to be built outside the Jaffa city walls and was greened with variety of fruit trees and other special plants such as Eucalyptus trees, brought from Australia in 1872 and planted for the first time in Israel.
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