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Be'erot Yizhak, Israel

BE'EROT YIẒḤAK (Heb. בְּאֵרוֹת יִצְחָק), kibbutz in central Israel on the Coastal Plain, east of Lydda. Affiliated with Ha-Kibbutz ha-Dati, it was originally founded on Aug. 9, 1943, southeast of Gaza by a group of religious pioneers from Germany and was the first settlement in the Negev. During the War of Independence in May 1948, it was all but razed by shelling from the Egyptian army. The settlers put up strong resistance and drove the attackers back from buildings they had already occupied. Although never abandoned during the fighting, it was so utterly destroyed that it was decided not to rebuild the place and in August 1948 the settlers reestablished their kibbutz on its present site, the former German Templar village of Wilhelma (whose inhabitants were interned there during World War II and later deported from the country). The economy of the kibbutz was based on highly intensive farming and a factory for coated steel pipes and fittings (Avrot Industries). In subsequent years it also operated a successful Subway-style sandwich service, supplying El Al, army bases, and schools. In the mid-1990s the population was approximately 480, while at the end of 2002 it was 417.

The name, meaning "Isaac's Wells," both refers to the wells sunk by the Patriarch (Gen. 26:18ff.) in the part of the Negev where the group first settled, and also commemorates Yiẓḥak *Nissenbaum .

[Efraim Orni /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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