Beit Guvrin, Israel

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Beit Guvrin
בֵּית גֻּבְרִין
بيت غوفرين
Beit Guvrin.JPG
Beit Guvrin is located in Ashkelon region of Israel
Beit Guvrin
Beit Guvrin
Beit Guvrin is located in Israel
Beit Guvrin
Beit Guvrin
Coordinates: 31°36′47″N 34°53′54″E / 31.61306°N 34.89833°E / 31.61306; 34.89833Coordinates: 31°36′47″N 34°53′54″E / 31.61306°N 34.89833°E / 31.61306; 34.89833
Country Israel
DistrictSouthern
CouncilYoav
AffiliationKibbutz Movement
Founded1949 (New Israeli kibbutz)
Founded byTurkish and Romanian Palmach Members
Population
 (2019)[1]
435

Beit Guvrin (Hebrew: בֵּית גֻּבְרִין, lit. House of Men in Aramaic) is a kibbutz in the Lakhish region, west of the ancient city of Beit Guvrin, for which it is named. Located 14 kilometres east of Kiryat Gat, it falls under the jurisdiction of Yoav Regional Council. In 2019 it had a population of 414.[1]

History[edit]

Kibbutz Beit Guvrin was founded in 1949, on the eve of Shavuot, by former Palmach members after the Palestinian Arab residents of Bayt Jibrin fled the military assault by Jewish forces during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.[2] The first residents were members of the "Yetzivim" youth group, which emigrated from Turkey in 1945, and the "Bnei Horin" youth group, which emigrated from Romania in 1946.

The kibbutz was established on the fields to the north of the Arab village of Bayt Jibrin, which sat atop what was once a Hebrew town known as Beit Guvrin that was later renamed Eleutheropolis, "the city of free men" by the Romans in 200 CE. It was later the site of a Frankish colony, "Bethgibelin", before becoming better known by its Arabic moniker "Bayt Jibrin" following the Muslim conquest.

Economy[edit]

The economy was formerly based on chicken coops, cowsheds and field crops. BG Technologies is located on the kibbutz. Other kibbutz-run businesses are a banquet hall, a clothing and gift store, a jewelry store, a dental clinic and a public swimming pool.[3]

Landmarks[edit]

Map illustrating the locations of kibbutz Beit Guvrin, historical Bayt Jibrin-Eleutheropolis, the ancient caves World Heritage Site, and Tel Maresha (1940s Survey of Palestine map with modern overlay)
View of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin from police station. 1949

The kibbutz is surrounded by antiquities from the 1st century BC – 2nd-century CE town of Beit Guvrin.[4] the Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park is a popular tourist destination which includes Hellenistic-period caves with wall paintings, columbaria, a Roman city and ruins of a Crusader castle.

The area is surrounded by many Islamic shrines (maqam) like Nabi Jibrin, Sheikh Mahmoud, etc., but the holiest of them is Maqam Tamim al-Dari dedicated to a companion of Muhammad who had control over the Hebron district which included the Cave of the Patriarchs. Today all the Muslim shrines are abandoned.

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) was filmed here.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. p. XIX, village #322. ISBN 9780521009676. Gives the cause and date of depopulation, p xxii #166.
  3. ^ Beit Guvrin Archived November 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Yoav Experience
  4. ^ Around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Fodors