Nahal Sorek

Nahal Sorek

Nahal Sorek (Hebrew: נחל שורק‎, lit. Brook of Sorek), also Soreq, is one of the largest, most important drainage basins in the Judean Hills.[1] It is mentioned in the Book of Judges 16:4 of the Bible as the border between the ancient Philistines and the Tribe of Dan of the ancient Israelites. It is known in Arabic as Wadi Surar.



The Midrash (Numbers Rabbah 9) states that the sorek is a "fruitless tree" (the word רק req means "empty" in Hebrew), implying a moral lesson and metaphor suggesting that Samson's involvement in his affair with Delilah was eventually "fruitless". However, another etymology suggests that "sorek" means "special vine" and refers to the grapes and wines grown in the area.


Biblical history

Nahal Sorek was the place where Delilah lived, and Samson came to meet her for the first time. It was also the place she enticed him to tell her the secret of his strength, and where he was eventually captured by the Philistines:

And Samson went to Gaza... And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the brook/valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her: 'Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him...

—Judges 16, [2]

Modern history

Remains of the Nahal Sorek Railway Station

In the 19th century, Nahal Sorek served as an important waterway between the two major cities in the area, Jaffa and Jerusalem. Because railways at the time were reliant on water sources, several surveyors who planned the first railway in the Middle East, the Jaffa–Jerusalem line, decided to use Nahal Sorek as the main route for the line.

While at that time the route was logical, when plans were made to renovate it in 2001, the digging of numerous tunnels was proposed to mainly avoid the Nahal Sorek route and shorten the line. Due in part to the opposition from the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, this plans was never materialized, and the old route on Nahal Sorek was refurbished complete and is still in use today.


While still being adjacent to the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem railway today, Nahal Sorek mainly serves as a tourist attraction. Several small water reservoirs exist along its route, notably near Tal Shahar and Yesodot. Waterfalls are located on several of its tributaries, including Ayanot Dekalim in Beit Shemesh, Ein Sifla on Nahal HaMe'ara, and others.

The Nahal Sorek Nature Reserve, first declared in 1965, and since expanded, spans over 11000 dunams,[2] from the Avshalom Cave Nature Reserve near Beit Shemesh, to moshav Nes Harim.

Israel maintains one of its two nuclear reactors at Nahal Sorek (the other being Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona). It was provided to Israel by the United States. Unlike the nuclear reactor at Dimona, where Israel refuses to allow any IAEA inspections, the reactor at Nahal Sorek is inspected by IAEA twice a year.[3]

Panoramic view of Nahal Sorek channel, in the western part of the Jerusalem mountains


  1. ^ Protecting The Environment
  2. ^ "List of National Parks and Nature Reserves" (in Hebrew). Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  3. ^ Yossi Melman. "Israel to stress safety of its nuclear reactors at IAEA special session,"[1]. Ha'aretz.

See also

Coordinates: 31°45′21.25″N 35°03′.59″E / 31.7559028°N 35.0501639°E / 31.7559028; 35.0501639

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