(1999 - Present)
Mevo’ot Yericho (Hebrew: מְבוֹאוֹת יְרִיחוֹ, lit. Doorway to Jericho) is a Jewish community founded in 1999 in the southern Jordan Valley just north of Jericho in the West Bank. The site is nearly 500 feet below sea level. It falls under the municipal jurisdiction of the Bik’at HaYarden Regional Council.
Founded as a station for agricultural experiments known as Havat HaIklum (lit. “The acclimatization farm”), Mevo’ot Yericho became a farming community in 2000. Crops include lemons, dates, figs, grapes, sweet potatoes and passion fruit.
Over the years more families moved to the area who are not involved in agriculture and moved from temporary housing to permanent structures. The total number of families has grown from a single family to 30 today with more than 80 children.
Numerous archaeological findings in the area attest to the presence of ancient Jewish settlement. Within the settlement, remains of a Hasmonean aqueduct that runs north and south of the community from a nearby spring to the Na’aran synagogue which dates to the sixth century. Archaeologists believe that these are the remains of a thriving Jewish community that existed in this area at that time.
In the mid-2000s, the Ginat Eden project for disadvantaged girls was established at Mevo’ot Yericho. The girls live and work in the community and travel to Jerusalem for studies in the evening.
The construction of what may be the world’s first solar-powered mikveh was completed in 2007.
The outpost was set up without government sanction and residents claim it provides a strategic position that prevents “the creation of a foreign territorial continuity between Jericho and Ramallah.” Put differently, it was created to interfere with the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state.
On September 15, 2019, the Israeli Cabinet gave tentative approval to legalize the settlement. The attorney general said a transitional government could not do this so Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would be formalized by the next government – assuming he won the September 17 election.
Sources: “Mevo’ot Yeriho,” Wikipedia;
Israel Independence Fund;
Noa Landau and Netael Bandel, “Two Days to Election, Netanyahu Government Green Lights Legalizing Jordan Valley Outpost,” Haaretz, (September 15, 2019);
Tovah Lazaroff, “Netanyahu pledges sovereignty as cabinet approves new West Bank settlement,” Jerusalem Post, (September 15, 2019).
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Map credit: Ynhockey licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.