JABNEEL (Heb. יַבְנְאֵל, Yavne'el). (1) Town on the northern border of the tribe of Judah between Mount Baalah and the sea (Josh. 15:11). It is identical with the later *Jabneh-Iamnia, now Yavneh, between Jaffa and Ashdod.
(2) Town on the southern border of the tribe of Naphtali (Josh. 19:33). In the Talmud it is identified with Kefar Yamma (now Khirbat Yamma in the Jordan Valley; TJ, Meg. 1:1, 70a). The biblical town was situated at Tell al-Naʿm, a small but prominent mound 1 mi. (1½ km.) to the northeast near a spring. The remains on the tell include Bronze Age and Iron Age I pottery.
(3) Village (moshavah) in Israel with municipal council status, in the Jabneel Valley of eastern Lower Galilee, 6 mi. (10 km.) east of Kinneret. Jabneel was founded in 1901 by pioneers from Russia, with the aid of the Jewish Colonization Association, on land bought by Baron Edmond de Rothschild for agriculture based on grain farming. Lack of water retarded Jabneel's growth, until rich groundwater reserves were tapped in the 1940s. Farming was then intensified and diversified. After the War of Independence (1948), a ma'barah was set up nearby, many of whose inhabitants (originating mainly from Yemen and North Africa) were later absorbed into Jabneel itself. Three neighboring villages were united with Jabneel in the 1950s: the moshavah Bet Gan (founded in 1904) and the moshavim Mishmar ha-Sheloshah (1937) and Semadar (1953). The moshavah's area extends over 12 sq. mi. (32 sq. km.). In 1968 Jabneel had 1,520 inhabitants. Its farming included field crops and orchards, and it had a number of small enterprises, mainly in the food and farm service branches. In 2002 the population of Jabneel was 2,580. In recent years, Braslav hasidim began settling in the moshavah, reaching around 400 in number.
(1) Mazar, in: IEJ, 10 (1960), 67ff.; Kaplan, in: BIES, 21 (1957), 199ff.; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 352. (2) A. Saarisalo, The Boundary between Issachar and Naphtali (1927), 46ff., 116ff.; Y. Aharoni, Hitnaḥalut Shivtei Yisrael ba-Galil ha-Elyon (1957), 78–79.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.