MA'BARAH (Heb. מַעְבָּרָה; plural ma'barot), transitional immigrants' camp or quarter in the early 1950s in Israel. At the end of 1949, 100,000 immigrants were living in camps, receiving accommodation, meals and services free, under demoralizing conditions. As the government and the *Jewish National Fund started large-scale development programs, and the newcomers began to earn their keep, the communal dining halls were closed down, and the inmates were enabled to make their own domestic arrangements. Camps which were not suitable for this system were closed down and new ones – ma'barot – set up, with a wooden, asbestos, or tin shack, or at least a tent, for each family, wherever there was a demand for labor, near the towns.

Although the ma'barot were a great improvement over the early camps, the primitive accommodation gave rise to serious social problems. They were gradually cleared by providing the newcomers with permanent housing and, from 1954, sending immigrants straight from the ship or plane to the villages or towns where they were to settle permanently.


Israel Government Year Book, (1958), 356–7; Zionist Organization Executive, Reports to Zionist Congress, 24 (1956); 25 (1960).

[Misha Louvish]

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