Heftziba (Hebrew: חֶפְצִיבָּהּ) is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located on the boundaries of the Jezreel and Beit She'an Valleys between the cities of Afula and Beit She'an, it falls under the jurisdiction of Gilboa Regional Council. In 2019 it had a population of 733.[1]

Heftziba is located in Jezreel Valley region of Israel
Heftziba is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°31′4.8″N 35°25′31.44″E / 32.518000°N 35.4254000°E / 32.518000; 35.4254000Coordinates: 32°31′4.8″N 35°25′31.44″E / 32.518000°N 35.4254000°E / 32.518000; 35.4254000
Country Israel
AffiliationKibbutz Movement
Founded byCzechoslovak and German Jews
The zodiac mosaic in the 6th century Beit Alfa synagogue


The kibbutz was founded in 1922 by Jewish immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Germany. It was named after the farm adjacent to Hadera, where the original settlers worked before they relocated and founded the community. Originally the name derives[2] from the Bible, where God speaks about his love for Israel: "My delight in her." (Isaiah 62:4)

According to a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Heftziba had a population of 125 inhabitants, consisting of 123 Jews and 2 Muslims.[3]

Heftziba 1937

The nearby Palestinian village of Saffuriya had been almost emptied of its 4000 inhabitants in July 1948. By early January, 1949, about 500 villagers had filtered back, but "neighbouring settlements coveted Saffuriya lands". The "Northern Front" ordered the villagers eviction, which was carried out the 7th of January 1949. The Saffuriya land was then distributed to its neighbouring Jewish settlements.[4]

In February 1949, 1,000 Dunams of Saffuriya land was given to Heftziba.[4]


The Beit Alfa Synagogue National Park is located in the kibbutz, not, as many assume, at the adjacent kibbutz with the same name, Beit Alfa. It contains an ancient Byzantine-era synagogue, with a mosaic floor depicting the lunar Hebrew months as they correspond to the signs of the zodiac.[5][6] The synagogue as well as the nearby kibbutz got their name from the Arab village that once stood here, Khirbet Bait Ilfa.


Makuya students have been sent to kibbutzim in Israel to study Hebrew and the biblical background. Some of them continue their academic studies in universities. The primary kibbutz the Makuya students stay at is Heftziba.[7]

Notable peopleEdit

  • Arthur Koestler, attempted to join the kibbutz, but his application was refused after a vote[8]


  1. ^ a b "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ Carta's Official Guide to Israel and Complete Gazetteer to all Sites in the Holy Land. (3rd edition 1993) Jerusalem, Carta, p. 195, ISBN 965-220-186-3
  3. ^ "Palestine Census ( 1922)".
  4. ^ a b Morris, B. (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. pp. 516, 517. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
  5. ^ "Beit Alfa Synagogue National Park (on Kibbutz Hefzibah)". Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  6. ^ Goldman, Bernard, The Sacred Portal: a primary symbol in ancient Judaic art, Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1966. It has a detailed account and treatment of the mosaic at the Beit Alfa synagogue.
  7. ^ Mukuya presence at Heftziba Dina Israel
  8. ^ Koestler, Arthur Arrow in the Blue pp. 125–32