Ein Harod (Hebrew: עֵין חֲרוֹד‎) was a kibbutz in northern Israel near Mount Gilboa. Founded in 1921, it became the center of Mandatory Palestine's kibbutz movement, hosting the headquarters of the largest kibbutz organisation, HaKibbutz HaMeuhad.[1][2][3]

Kibbutz Ein Harod, 1939

In 1923 part of the community split off into Tel Yosef, and in 1952 the rest of the community split into Ein Harod (Ihud) and Ein Harod (Meuhad). It was named after the nearby fountain then known in Arabic as Ain Jalut, Ein Harod in Hebrew, or "Spring of Goliath". It was built on land formerly belonging to the villages of Qumya and Tamra.


Middle AgesEdit

The original kibbutz was located near the 1260 battlefield of Ayn Jalut, a battle in which the Mongols suffered their first defeat at the hands of the Mamluks, which arguably saved the Mamluk sultanate from annihilation.

The kibbutz's first locationEdit

The kibbutz was founded in 1921 by Russian Jewish pioneers of the Third Aliyah.[4]

In 1921, members of the Gdud HaAvoda "Work Battalion", at a time when their road work was decreasing, set up a work camp in the Harod Valley, the eastern extension of the Jezreel Valley, at the foot of Mount Gilboa.[5][6] In 1921, 35 young people from the Gdud pitched tents at the Harod Spring.[7] The group, led by Shlomo Levkovitch (Lavi), began to farm land which the Palestine Land Development Company had purchased from the Arab village of Nuris, in the eastern part of the Jezreel Valley.[8] The Gdud members worked here at draining the swamps, a permanent source of malaria.[5] According to a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Ein Harod had a population of 244 Jews.[9]

The Tel Yosef-Ein Harod group split in July 1923 over differences concerning economic autonomy, with two-thirds of the group settling Tel Yosef and the rest, Ein Harod.[6][10] While it's sometimes considered that Ein Ḥarod was founded in 1921 and Tel Yosef in 1923, together they formed one farming unit.[6]

Leadership of Kibbutz movementEdit

In 1924, the Ein Harod group was joined by members of the Havurat HaEmek group. In 1925, under the leadership of Yitzhak Tabenkin, Ein Harod became the center of countrywide kibbutz movement joined by members of Yagur, Ashdot Yaakov and Ayelet HaShahar, forming the basis of HaKibbutz HaMeuhad.

Ein Harod became the organizational headquarters of the movement.[1] In 1926, during a breakup of the Gdud HaAvoda along ideological faultlines separating the Marxists from the more moderate leftists, Ein Harod and Tel Yosef ceased their close cooperation.[6][11]

Permanent locationEdit

In 1930, when the collective moved to a permanent location at the foot of Kumi Hill, the kibbutz had 239 members.

The village played an important role in the defence of the area during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, known by the Jews of the era as "the disturbances," during which it was the base of Orde Wingate's Special Night Squads.[4] In 1945 the Haganah had a small prison there in which they detained members of the Irgun during the Season.[12] However, on 29 June 1946, as part of Operation Agatha, the British army occupied the kibbutz by force.[4] By 1947 it had a population of 1,120.[4]

25th anniversary celebrations

Ideological splitEdit

In 1952, in the wake of ideological differences between supporters of the two main socialist parties, Mapai and Mapam, the kibbutz split, creating two separate kibbutzim: Ein Harod (Ihud), affiliated with Mapai and belonging to Ihud HaKvutzot veHaKibbutzim; and Ein Harod (Meuhad), affiliated with Mapam and belonging to HaKibbutz HaMeuhad. Today both kibbutzim belong to the United Kibbutz Movement.


Ein Harod Art Museum, inaugurated in 1948

"Mishkan Le'omanut" (Museum of Art Ein Harod) is one of the first art museums in Israel. The museum was founded during the early years of the kibbutz in the belief that culture and art were among the essential components of a society. The artworks were initially displayed in a shack. An imposing museum building, designed by Samuel Bickels, was inaugurated in 1948.[13]

"Beit Shturman" houses a collection of archaeology and artifacts related to local history of the area.[14]

Notable residentsEdit

  • Aharon Zisling
  • Haim Shturman
  • Meir Har-Zion (1934–2014) – military commando
  • Shlomo Levkovitch (Lavi) – founding member; Zionist activist and politician, originator of the larger kibbutz settlement form
  • Avraham Shlonsky (1900–1973) – founding member; Hebrew literary stylist, author, translator and editor
  • Yitzhak Tabenkin (1888–1971) – founding member; Zionist activist and politician, co-founder of the Kibbutz Movement

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Helman, Anat (22 July 2014). Becoming Israeli: National Ideals and Everyday Life in the 1950s. Brandeis University Press. pp. 160–. ISBN 978-1-61168-557-2.
  2. ^ The Founding Contexts of Kibbutz Museums and the Case of the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Galia Bar Or, 2016, "...Ein Harod, the birthplace of the largest kibbutz movement, the Kibbutz Meuhad."
  3. ^ A kibbutz in the diaspora: The pioneer movement in Poland and the Klosova kibbutz, Rona Yona, pages 9-43, 16 Mar 2012, "Hakibbutz Hame'uhad was established only in 1927, and was active at the time under the name Kibbutz Ein Harod, established in 1923 as a national organization of communes in agricultural settlements and communes of hired workers in cities and orchards."
  4. ^ a b c d Jewish National Fund (1949). Jewish Villages in Israel. Jerusalem: Hamadpis Liphshitz Press. pp. 36–37.
  5. ^ a b "Tel Yosef", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2008, The Gale Group, via Jewish Virtual Library
  6. ^ a b c d "Gedud ha-Avodah", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2008, The Gale Group, via Jewish Virtual Library
  7. ^ Ein Harod Meuchad Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine Gems in Israel, February 2004
  8. ^ The Founding Myths of Israel, Zeev Sternhell
  9. ^ "Palestine Census ( 1922)".
  10. ^ Mapa's concise gazetteer of Israel (in Hebrew). Yuval El'azari (ed.). Tel Aviv: Mapa Publishing. 2005. pp. 414–415. ISBN 965-7184-34-7.CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Alon, Mati (2003). Holocaust and Redemption. Trafford Publishing. pp. 168–. ISBN 978-1-4120-0358-2.
  12. ^ Silver, Eric (1984). Begin, A Biography. p. 51. ISBN 0-297-78399-8.
  13. ^ About Ein Harod Museum of Art
  14. ^ Between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) Small Israel travel guide: Modern Places in Israel with Biblical references

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°33′37″N 35°23′27″E / 32.56028°N 35.39083°E / 32.56028; 35.39083