Ein Harod

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Kibbutz Ein Harod in 1920s

Ein Harod (Hebrew: עֵין חֲרוֹד‬) was a kibbutz in Israel between 1921 and 1952, when it split into Ein Harod (Ihud) and Ein Harod (Meuhad). It was located in the north of the country near Mount Gilboa and was named after the nearby Well of Harod, Ein Harod in Hebrew.


Kibbutz Ein Harod, 1949

The original kibbutz was located near the 1260 battlefield of Ayn Jalut, a battle in which the Mongols suffered their first defeat at the hands of the Mamluks, which arguably saved the Mamluk sultanate from annihilation.

The kibbutz was founded in 1921 by Russian Jewish pioneers of the Third Aliyah.[1]

In 1921, members of the Gdud HaAvoda "Work Battalion", at a time when their road work was decreasing, set up a work camp in the Harod Valley, the eastern extension of the Jezreel Valley, at the foot of Mount Gilboa.[2][3] In 1921, 35 young people from the Gdud pitched tents at the Harod Spring.[4] The group, led by Shlomo Levkovitch (Lavi), began to farm land which the Palestine Land Development Company had purchased from the Arab village of Nuris, in the eastern part of the Jezreel Valley.[5] The Gdud members worked here at draining the swamps, a permanent source of malaria.[2] According to a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Ein Harod had a population of 244 Jews.[6] The Tel Yosef-Ein Harod group split in July 1923 over differences concerning economic autonomy, with two-thirds of the group settling Tel Yosef and the rest, Ein Harod.[3] In 1923, the group established a kibbutz named for the spring (Ein Harod, "Harod Spring" ), which is mentioned in the Bible in connection with judge Gideon (Judges 7:1).[7] While it's sometimes considered that Ein Ḥarod was founded in 1921 and Tel Yosef in 1923, the fact remains that together they formed one farming unit.[3] In 1924, the Ein Harod group was joined by members of the Havurat HaEmek group. In 1925, under the leadership of Yitzhak Tabenkin, Ein Harod became the center of countrywide kibbutz movement joined by members of Yagur, Ashdot Yaakov and Ayelet HaShahar, forming the basis of HaKibbutz HaMeuhad. Ein Harod became the organizational headquarters of the movement.[citation needed] In 1926, during a breakup of the Gdud HaAvoda along ideological faultlines separating the Marxists from the more moderate leftists, Ein Harod and Tel Yosef ceased their close cooperation.[3][8]

In 1930, when the collective moved to a permanent location at the foot of Kumi Hill, the kibbutz had 239 members.

The village played an important role in the defence of the area during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, known by the Jews of the era as "the disturbances," during which it was the base of Orde Wingate's Special Night Squads.[1] In 1945 the Haganah had a small prison there in which they detained members of the Irgun during the Season.[9] However, on 29 June 1946, as part of Operation Agatha, the British army occupied the kibbutz by force.[1] By 1947 it had a population of 1,120.[1]

Palmach training at Ein Harod, 1947

In 1952, in the wake of ideological differences between supporters of the two main socialist parties, Mapai and Mapam, the kibbutz split, creating two separate kibbutzim: Ein Harod (Ihud), affiliated with Mapai and belonging to Ihud HaKvutzot veHaKibbutzim; and Ein Harod (Meuhad), affiliated with Mapam and belonging to HaKibbutz HaMeuhad. Today both kibbutzim belong to the United Kibbutz Movement.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Meir Har-Zion (1934–2014) – military commando
  • Shlomo Levkovitch (Lavi) – founding member; Zionist activist and politician, originator of the larger kibbutz settlement form
  • Avraham Shlonsky (1900–1973) – founding member; Hebrew literary stylist, author, translator and editor
  • Yitzhak Tabenkin (1888–1971) – founding member; Zionist activist and politician, co-founder of the Kibbutz Movement


"Mishkan Le'omanut" (Museum of Art Ein Harod) is one of the first art museums in Israel. The museum was founded by the kibbutz members themselves during the early period following the founding of the kibbutz in the belief that culture and art are among the essential components of a society. The museum was inaugurated in 1948 during the height of the War of Israel's Independence. The museum has a collection of 16,000 artworks and ongoing solo and group shows. The museum publishes exhibition catalogues and research books.

Museum "Beit Shturman" with collections of nature, archaeology and history of the area. In the museum also Charles Orde Wingate is honoured, one of the few British soldiers supporting Zionism. He liked the region, because he linked his fate to the Biblical judge Gideon, connected to this area.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Jewish National Fund (1949). Jewish Villages in Israel. Jerusalem: Hamadpis Liphshitz Press. pp. 36–37.
  2. ^ a b "Tel Yosef", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2008, The Gale Group, via Jewish Virtual Library
  3. ^ a b c d "Gedud ha-Avodah", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2008, The Gale Group, via Jewish Virtual Library
  4. ^ Ein Harod Meuchad Gems in Israel, February 2004
  5. ^ The Founding Myths of Israel, Zeev Sternhell
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Mapa's concise gazetteer of Israel (in Hebrew). Yuval El'azari (ed.). Tel Aviv: Mapa Publishing. 2005. pp. 414–415. ISBN 965-7184-34-7.
  8. ^ Mati Alon, Holocaust and Redemption, pp. 62-63. Trafford Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781412003582[self-published source]
  9. ^ Silver, Eric (1984). Begin, A Biography. p. 51. ISBN 0-297-78399-8.
  10. ^ Between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) Small Israel travel guide: Modern Places in Israel with Biblical references

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°33′37″N 35°23′27″E / 32.56028°N 35.39083°E / 32.56028; 35.39083