YAD MORDEKHAI (Heb. יַד מָרְדְּכַי), kibbutz in southern Israel, between Ashkelon and Gaza, affiliated with Kibbutz Arẓi, Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir. Yad Mordekhai was founded by a group from Poland in 1943, during the Nazi Holocaust in Europe, in a drive to enlarge Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel toward the south and Negev. In the *War of Independence (1948), the invading Egyptian army, in its advance along the coastal highway, concentrated its tank, artillery, and aircraft forces in an attack on the kibbutz, but was held at bay by the sparse number of settlers for six days. The village was by then reduced to ruins and the survivors, carrying their wounded, succeeded in slipping through the ring of siege and reaching Jewish positions miles away (May 1948). The site was retaken in October 1948. The kibbutz was rebuilt on a far larger scale, but still occupied a border position (close to the Gaza Strip) until the *Six-Day War in 1967. In 2002 the population was 699. The economy was based on farming and the kibbutz also marketed honey and manufactured computerized irrigation systems as well as operating a shopping center. The kibbutz maintains a museum of the *Holocaust and ghetto resistance. A large bronze statue in memory of the ghetto fighters and a reconstruction of the 1948 battle site are located there. The name commemorates Mordecai *Anielewicz.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.