The settlement was founded in 1916 by a group of Hashomer guards who built a fortress (now the museum) and began to cultivate the land (Hashomer was an organization that believed that only Jews should guard Jewish settlements). After the First World War, Tel Chai and other
The young fighters were buried in a communal grave at nearby Kfar Giladi which, in 1926, was marked by a stone lion, the traditional symbol of independence and courage, (above, middle row, on the left), sculpted by Avraham Melinkov. It stands as a monument to the bravery of those who fell, determined at all cost to defend what they had built.
It is hard to imagine the drama that was played out in this spot. When we visited the courtyard museum the sun shone on it's well-tended lawns and the scenery around us was breathtaking. Yet this small yard witnessed one of the most dramatic moments in the life of the young Zionist community of Israel.
The exhibits in the museum explain the history of the settlement and the ideology which brought further groups of settlers to the area after the original settlers of Tel Chai were forced to leave. The nearby town of Kiryat Shmoneh, meaning "Town of Eight" is named after the settlers who died in 1920, and visitors are left with the understanding that Israel's existence today is due to them, and people like them, who put their own personal lives at risk for the ideal of a Jewish State.