Yodfat is an off-the-beaten-track adventure you won’t want to miss if you are an avid fan of Roman history and a reader of Josephus, whose immortal descriptions bring alive the Temple, Jerusalem, Massada, Caesarea, and of course, this Galilee mountain town, which he called Jotapata.
It was here that Josephus, who was a general in the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans (66-70 CE) before he was its chronicler, was captured by Romans. From the top of the mound, Josephus’ rich description of the site and the battle comes alive.
Yodfat’s caves and cisterns (careful, not all are marked!) played a part in the dramatic story that Josephus tells of his own capture here and the suicide pact that led to it. On the north side of the mound, remains of the Roman wall can be seen. Beautiful vistas are revealed from the mound and on the trail to it, including oak and carob groves, olive orchards and Jewish National Fund pine forests.
A rough gravel road off road 784 south of modern Yodfat is sign-posted in English and Hebrew. The road is 2-3 kilometres long and reaches a grove from which visitors can climb to Tel Yodfat. For exact directions, contact the Israel Nature and Parks Authority www.parks.org.il or in Israel, call the INPA at 03-638-8688.