KEFAR SAVA (Heb. כְּפַר סָבָא), town in central Israel, in the southern Sharon, near the Arab village Kafr Sābā. Ḥibbat Zion bought the holdings in 1892, but settlement began in 1896 when the land was taken over by Baron Edmond de *Rothschild, who invested considerable sums in an abortive experiment to raise plants for perfume. In 1903 part of the land was bought by *Petaḥ Tikvah farmers for farmsteads for their sons, and almond orchards became the principal farming branch. The Turkish authorities, however, did not issue permits to build houses, so the place remained largely empty until 1912, when permits were finally granted. A eucalyptus grove was planted in the place where about 1,000 inhabitants of Tel Aviv set up camp in 1917 after the Turks expelled them from their homes; the following year, several hundred died there in a typhus epidemic. In September 1918 Kefar Sava, which lay in the front line of battle between the Turko-German and Allied armies, was entirely destroyed. The settlers soon returned and rebuilt their houses, but Kefar Sava was again laid waste in the 1921 Arab riots. In the following years, local abundant ground-water resources were discovered and the developing citrus branch attracted investors and provided a solid foundation for Kefar Sava's economy. From the end of the 1920s, the struggle for Jewish labor on Jewish farms focused on Kefar Sava and became more violent in the 1930s when a number of kibbutzim set up their temporary camps there prior to their permanent settlement in other parts of the country. The number of Kefar Sava's inhabitants grew from 450 in 1927 to 3,500 in 1941. From the end of the 1930s, immigrant housing quarters were built and partly provided with auxiliary farms. During World War II industrial plants were established, primarily for citrus preserves, as fresh fruit could not be exported at the time. In the Israeli *War of Independence (1948) Kefar Sava lay again in the front line facing the "Arab triangle" of Samaria; fighting died down only after the neighboring Arab village Kafr Sābā was taken by Jewish forces and abandoned by its inhabitants. After 1948 Kefar Sava's population rapidly grew, approaching 20,000 when it received city status in 1962. In 1969 Kefar Sava had 23,000 inhabitants. By the mid-1990s the population had risen to approximately 65,800, and in 2002 it was 77,800. The municipal area is 5.8 sq. mi. (15 sq. km.). Kefar Sava serves as an administrative, commercial, and health-service center for the south Sharon region. The large Me'ir Hospital (which, in its initial years, specialized in lung diseases) and Bet Berl, a teachers college, seminary, and study center, are located there. The city also has a large industrial area.

[Efraim Orni /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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