Mt. Kabir (Har Bilal in Arabic) is a large rocky region that rises to the northeast of Shechem and above the southern edge of Wadi Far’a (Nahal Tirtsa). The northwestern summit of this mountain (745 meters above sea level) has a scenic lookout that offers a breathtaking view in all directions. Mt. Hermon is to the north and the Gilead region and Mt. Gilboa are to the east. Mt. Kabir is surrounded by the Shomron mountains – Mt. Eval and Mt. Grizim to the south, with the Binyamin hills in the distance. On a clear day one can see Lake Kinneret to the north, the Dead Sea to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.
The western summit, at 767 meters above sea level, has three scenic lookout points with telescopes along its northern edge, placed here as a memorial to Brig. Gen. Yosef Luntz, the military governor of Shechem in the 1970s. In the center of the summit is the tomb of Sheikh Bilal Ibn Rabah, who according to Muslim tradition was Mohammed’s first muezzin. There is lush greenery all around, from large ancient oak trees to tiny alkanet flowers. The huge tree in whose shade we can rest is the same kind as the Elon More mentioned in the Bible, and the slope below is one of the steepest in Israel, plunging nearly 600 meters to the beautiful Tirtsa Valley below, where Nahal Tirtsa flows.
Sites down in the valley include Tel el-Far’a (North), the site of the biblical city of Tirtsa, which served as the capital during the reign of Yeravam ben Navat and was mentioned by King Solomon in Song of Songs (6:1), “You are as beautiful, my love, as Tirtsa; as lovely as Jerusalem.” Just north of Far’a is Tubas, which preserves the biblical town of Tevets, where the rebellious Avimelech, the son of Gideon, died after a woman threw a millstone at him (Judges 9:50-53).
From the southern lookout, right beside the parking area, we can see the Eval and Gerizim ridges, where the Israelites stood for the biblical event of the blessings and the curses. In counter-clockwise order, the Jewish communities we can see are: Har Brakha, Yitshar, Ariel, Tappuah, Ma’ale Levona, Eli, Itamar Ridge – home to the community of Itamar – and above it Tel Orma, the site of a Hasmonean fortress and the biblical village of Avimelech, the son of Gideon the Judge.
This mountain is also called Abraham’s mountain. According to biblical tradition, when Abraham came to Shechem and Elon More, it was here that he received the promise of the Land of Israel: “And Abraham passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the terebinth (elon) of More, and the Cannanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared to Abraham and said, ‘To your seed will I give this land…’” (Genesis 12:6-7).
A scenic road passes along the Mt. Kabir ridge for about four kilometers, through the Mt. Kabir Nature Reserve. Elon More, one of the first the first Jewish communities established in Shomron, is on the southern slopes, and further to the east is Skali Farm, also known as Hill 792, named after the nearby summit’s elevation above sea level.
Directly below us is the fertile Tirtsa Valley, where Nahal Tirtsa flows. Tel el-Far’a (North) is the site of the biblical city of Tirtsa, which served as the capital during the reign of Yeravam ben Navat and was mentioned by King Solomon in Song of Songs (6:1), “You are as beautiful, my love, as Tirtsa; as lovely as Jerusalem.” Just north of Far’a is Tubas, which preserves the biblical town of Tevets, where the rebellious Avimelech, the son of Gideon, died after a woman threw a millstone at him (Judges 9:53).
Some researchers believe Mt. Kabir is the biblical Mt. Gerizim.