Ami’ad עַמִּיעַד is a kibbutz in northern Israel near Safed. The kibbutz was founded by 28 young people who were from the Youth Aliyah village of Ben Shemen. They planned to prepare the outpost as a future settlement for demobilized soldiers from the Jewish Brigade of the British Army but they decided to settle the outpost themselves. The group were members of the Hanoar Haoved Movement and the first to form a unit in the Palmach. They initially settled on a hill around two kilometers south of modern Ami’ad, naming their settlement Jubb Yosef after the nearby ruins. They later moved to the current site, renaming the kibbutz HaHoshlim, before adopting the current name.
Ami’ad has one of the best preserved Turkish caravansaries in Israel. Drive through the kibbutz past the winery and bed & breakfast cottages, and through the exit gate. Turn left onto the unmade road through the orchards, and drive a kilometre to the inn. The inn which dates from the Moslem period and was a staging post on the old highway between Damascus and Egypt. The road to Safed passed nearby. The Crusaders, mistakenly believing that Jacob crossed the Jordan near here, ascribed events in the lives of Jacob and his sons to nearby sites. Some Moslem and Jewish traditions subsequently adopted the mistake. The dome on the hill to the east of the caravansary marks Joseph’s well. A Moslem tradition relates that when the brothers stripped Joseph of his coat, they left him in this pit. Legend has it its stones are the solidified tears of Jacob, who cried looking for Joseph.
The caravansary was in use until the last century, and its remains are still impressive. The building is 47 x 34 meters, and the walls are 1.8 to 2.5 meters thick. The black and white striped brick is characteristic of Mamluk architecture. The small room opposite the entrance was probably a mosque; the mikhrab (niche) on the far wall points towards Mecca. The holes in the walls were for archers to shoot through.