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Ayalon Institute

Israeli Military History

This Institute presents the story of a secret factory that manufactured ammunition, built underneath a limestone hill. On the surface, it was used for training groups of young people (garinim) for Kibbutz life. Built and operated during the years 1946-1948, the Institute was established by the "Haganah," the largest Jewish underground movement during the British Mandate. This factory would develop into what is today called IMI (Israel Military Industries) or "TAAS". This special clandestine factory was prepared secretly in less than a month, 8 meters (25 feet) underground. Its openings were covered by a 10 ton oven and a large washing machine that camouflaged the noise of manufacturing bullets. The Ayalon Institute was the largest IMI factory to operate underground and produced over 2,500,000 9mm bullets mostly for Sten guns during its two years of operation. The restoration includes: Visitors Center, short introductory film, reconstruction of the washing machine and large oven that hid the openings to the underground factory, ladder and spiral staircase leading down to the factory, many of the original machines still operate in their original places, and the above ground kibbutz facilities i.e. dinning room, laundry and living quarters of a typical kibbutz. A guided tour is included. There is also the possibility for small or large groups to order meals or have receptions or special events in the original kibbutz dining room with or without folk singing and kibbutz entertainment.


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