The Ayalon Institute is the site of a hidden factory that during the years 1846 to 1948 manufactured ammunition. Built beneath a hill of limestone, the factory was established by the ‘Haganah’, the largest Jewish underground movement of British Mandate times, who were preparing themselves for the end of British rule. Above ground the area appeared to be no more than a kibbutz and commercial laundry, while below ground over 45 people worked in secret.
Built in under a month, the hidden factory subsequently developed into what is known today as the IMI (Israeli Military Industries) or ‘TAAS’. The factory is eight meters underground with openings that were covered by a 10 ton oven and a washing machine – installed there to camouflage the sound of bullets being manufactured. A unique stop when visiting Israel, the factory managed to produce over 2.25 million 9 mm bullets for Sten guns during its time in operation, often over 40,000 per day.