KEFAR EẒYON


KEFAR EẒYON (Heb. כְּפַר צֶעְיוֹן), kibbutz in the Hebron Hills about 14 mi. (23 km.) S. of Jerusalem, affiliated to *Ha Kibbutz ha-Dati. A first attempt at settlement there was made by religious Jews from Iraq who established Migdal Eder (1926/27; the place is not identical with the biblical site of that name). The site was abandoned in the 1929 Arab riots. In 1935, a Jewish citrus grove owner, S.Z. Holzmann, acquired the land, prepared it for setting up a mountain village and country resort, and named it Kefar Eẓyon, a translation of his own name. His work was brought to a standstill by the 1936–39 Arab rebellion. In 1943, Kevuẓat Avraham of Ha-Kibbutz ha-Dati, whose members hailed from Poland, founded Kefar Eẓyon, the first of the four villages constituting the Eẓyon Bloc (the others were *Massu'ot Yiẓḥak, *Ein Ẓurim, and *Revadim). The kibbutz members worked in afforestation and developed farm branches. From the end of 1947 the kibbutz repelled frequent Arab attacks. It also improved its strategic position and harassed Arab communications sent to reinforce Arab forces on the Jerusalem front. A unit of 35 men (remembered in Hebrew as "Ha-Lamed-He") of *Palmaḥ and *Haganah members from Jerusalem making its way on foot from Hartuv to reinforce the Eẓyon Bloc was intercepted by Arabs and all its members killed (Jan. 16, 1948). A relief convoy suffered severe losses on March 27. On May 12, the Arab Legion and vast numbers of Arab irregulars mounted the final assault on the Bloc, which two days later succumbed against overwhelming odds. Most of the defenders of Kefar Eẓyon, men and women, were massacred by an Arab mob after having capitulated to the Arab Legion. The Arabs totally obliterated all traces of the Jewish villages and an Arab Legion camp was set up on the site. The Bloc area, together with the Hebron Hills, was taken by the Israel Army in the *Six-Day War on June 7, 1967. In September 1967, kibbutz Kefar Eẓyon was renewed by a group of Ha-Kibbutz ha-Dati which included children of the original settlers massacred in 1948. The new kibbutz set up industrial branches along with farming. Its farming was based on poultry, turkeys, and orchards. Industry included the Mofet ballistic armor plant. Kefar Eẓyon operates a guest house and has a nature preserve. In 2002 its population was 408.

[Efraim Orni]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.