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AFIKIM (Heb. אֲפִיקִים; "stream courses," referring to the Jordan and the Yarmuk Rivers), kibbutz in the central Jordan Valley, in Israel. Afikim, affiliated with Iḥud ha-Kevuzot veha-Kibbutzim, was founded in 1932 by pioneer youth from Soviet Russia, who were among the last organized groups able to leave that country in the 1920s. In 1967 Afikim had 1,290 inhabitants from many countries, making it one of the largest communal settlements in Israel. In 2002 its population was 1,030. In addition to engaging in intensive farming (irrigated field crops, fodder, milch cattle, poultry, carp ponds, bananas, dates, grapefruit), the kibbutz economy was based on a large plywood factory, producing principally for export. It also became a partner in the nearby factory for cellotex and similar materials. The prehistoric site of al-'Ubaydiyya is situated near the kibbutz.

[Efraim Orni]

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