The Ayalon Institute or “Machon Ayalon” in Hebrew is well worth a visit next time you’re touring in Central Israel! The Museum is located on the site of an underground bullet factory created by Jewish pioneers in preparation for the War of Independence.
The Story of the Ayalon Institute
During the entire period of the British Mandate (1917-1947), Jewish paramilitary groups such as the Haganah, Irgun and Palmach were outlawed. This made it very difficult for the Jewish inhabitants to prepare themselves for the war that was sure to come when the British would leave. One of their problems was that they didn’t have enough ammo for their weapons.
In 1945 the Haganah decided to create their own factory to produce ammo. The problem was how would they hide it from the British? The solution they came up with was to build a new Kibbutz and hide the bullet factory underground! The code name for the bullet factory was “Machon Ayalon” – The Ayalon Institute.
To disguise the noise from the factory, they set up real factories on top of the hidden bullet factory. These included a laundry and bakery. They only ran the underground factory at the same time as the above ground factories were working in order to hide the noise. They were so successful that the British soldiers even sent their uniforms to the laundry to be washed and starched!
A Tour of Machon Ayalon
Today Machon Ayalon is a Museum located on the original site of the bullet factory. On a tour of Machon Ayalon, you will see the original machines from the underground factory as well as the industries that were built above ground to disguise them. The Museum’s guides will show you through the site and you will see a video that brings the story to life.
Sunday-Thursday: 8:30 AM- 4:00 PM (Last tour is at 3:00 PM) Friday and Holiday Eves: 8:30 AM-2:00 PM
David Fiks St.