Metulla, marking the northernmost point of settlement in the Upper Galilee, was founded in 1896 on land purchased by Baron Rothschild. The town was temporarily evacuated (along with nearby Tel Hai and Kfar Giladi) in 1920, following stiff attacks by neighboring Arabs.
When Britain and France demarcated the Mandatory boundaries between Palestine and Lebanon, Metulla's houses remained inside Palestine, while most of the agricultural lands were transferred to Lebanon. Metulla farmers were permitted to freely cross the border and work their lands until Israel's War of Independence in 1948.
In addition to agriculture, tourism is a key economic field in Metulla, with the "Canada Center" - which features a world class ice-skating rink and other recreational facilities - a key factor in tourism growth in recent years.
Metulla numbers 1120 residents.
Metulla and the Canada Centre
Metulla is a small rural village nestling at the foot of Mt. Hermon with magnificent views, beautiful scenery, wonderful flora and fauna, with the river Iyyon to the east.
It is the most northernmost Jewish village of Israel.
Metulla was founded in 1896 on the Baron Edmond de Rothschild's initiative, after the land was purchased from a Lebanon Christian landowner, Jabur Bek Junbalat, by the Baron's clerk Yehoshua Osuvitsky.
The first settlers, were 57 families from Rishon leZion and Zichron Yaakov, especially chosen for their ability to defend the new settlement against attacks by Druze from the Lebanon, who were former tenant-farmers of Jabur Bek Junbalat.
The village's economy was based on fruit orchards, vineyards, field crops and cattle.
Today the economy is based on fruit orchards and tourism as a summer and winter resort and offers family hotels with swimming pools, bed and breakfast accomodation and a wide choice of restaurants.
Until the late 1980s, the village had a small central swimming pool, and a sports facility for residents of the area; in the 1990s this became an international centre for ice sport.
The Canada centre.
In the late 1980s the head of the Metulla local council, Mr. Yossi Goldberg, visited Europe, and was impressed by the large sports centres and country clubs offering multiple services in one place.
His vision was to transform northernmost Metulla into the centre of Israel for at least one branches of sport.
He succeeded in interesting the Jewish Agency and Jewish communities in Canada in the project.
In 1990 the centre opened, offering a range of sports facilities, swimming pool, ice rink, a basketball court and more.
In 1996 the large olympic-size second ice rink was opened and the first international figure skating competition "Skate Israel" was held.
At Chanukah December 1998, the IVth Skate Isreal will take place with skaters from 22 countries.
Today the "Canada centre" is a sports, cultural and recreational centre which offers a wide range of sport facilities.
It answers the needs of amateur and professional sportsmen with 2 squash courts, table tennis, fitness centre, firing range, basketball court, 2 ice rinks and football pitch, a heated indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and there are children pool and water slides.
In the summer months an outdoor swimming pool is also available.
Among the variety of clubs and courses, courses for ice skating instructors and trainers from all Israel are organized at this centre.
The centre has a health club offering massage, a steam room, a sauna and a private jacuzzi; a sport shop sells sportswear and equipment.
The centre offers a choice of cuisine from a self-service snack bar and restaurant overlooking the swimming pool and a dairy restaurant overlooking the ice rink.
The centre is today a self-supporting, non profit making organisation.
Thanks to Dafna Shwarz-Coren of the Canada centre and Judi Javor of the Metulla local council for their help in preparing this page corrections.
The pictures and text by: Pinhas Baraq.