Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

Israel: Constitution, Government and Politics

Field Notes: Golan and Galil

31 March through 2 April 1991

Daniel J. Elazar

The primary purpose of this investigation is to look at mitzpim and yishuvim kehillatiim in the Galil and Golan, especially insofar as they represent the fourth frontier stage of rurban settlement based on what in Israel should not be called citybelts but community belts. Working as my assistants were Avi and Nomi Guter. I personally examined traditional kibbutzim and moshavim on the Golan; Katzrin (the city developed by Israel on the Golan); Karkom, a yishuv kehilati at the south end of the etzba haGalil overlooking the Jordan River just above its confluence with Lake Kinneret where it has a spectacular view of both the entire Kinneret on the south and Mount Hermon on the north; Carmiel in the central Galilee at the dividing point between the lower and upper Galil; and several mitzpim southwest of Carmiel including Yuvalim, Shorashim, Rakefet, and Misgav, the seat of the Moetza Azorit and its principal common institutions. The Guters looked at Karkom and the mitzpim as well as other mitzpim in the vicinity, principally Eshav.

Altogether we looked at seven mitzpim of various kinds, two new towns, and several kibbutzim and moshavim as well as the more established kibbutzim of the Upper Galilee, Kiryat Shmona, Metula, Rosh Pina and Hatzor. What we noticed in every case was the development of the Galilee as a rurban frontier based upon relatively small groups of people from 25 to 200 families settling in a natural setting, usually on the top of a hill in a suburban-style settlement, gives them nice housing in the form of private free-standing homes, while they travel to work in nearby industries at cities and enterprises. These mitzpim and yishuvim kehilatiim are blossoming in all sizes and shapes, designed for different strata of people from upper professionals to the children of the moshavim in the area who are not the heirs of their family's moshav holding or who do not work in agriculture but who want to stay in the area.

For example, the first 25 families who have moved into Karkom are mostly from the moshavim in the area including at least one teacher who grew up in the neighboring moshav Elifelet. Karkom is making a major effort to establish itself as a substantial yishuv kehilati. It is the designated site of a group called Hazon HaGalil (the Vision of the Galilee), organized in the Miami, Florida area, consisting of young American Jewish couples plus Israelis who have been in the United States for some years who plan to come back and settle there and build homes on very good terms, whereby they will receive housing plots for free and will be able to build four-level homes from different standard models for NS 100,000 a piece. They intend to build a joint enterprise in the form of a hotel servicing the handicapped and their families on the banks of Lake Kinneret just below the yishuv kehilati. It will be a resort hotel equipped with facilities for various kinds of handicapped to enable them to vacation with their families, provide activities that they and their families can engage in together.

Karkom will form a link in the chain of settlements from Tiberias to Metula running in two parallel strips, one along the Tiberias-Metula highway and the other along the Jordan River about 5-10 km. from the highway. This will be a linear settlement belt anchored on the south end by Tiberias or maybe extending even further southward and on its northern end by Metula, punctuated by Rosh Pina, Hazor, and Kiryat Shmona in the middle. No point will be more than half an hour away from any city in the line. Every variety of community from traditional city, kibbutzim and moshavim, moshavot, yishuvim kehilatiim, and new town is available in this belt.

A similar belt may develop along the edge of the Golan Heights from just above Tel Katzir at the southern end of the Heights to Katzrin, a little beyond the middle. These are more traditional kibbutzim and moshavim plus the city of Katzrin and they are a little far away from the center of things to form a full community belt, but there is already a chain in process.

A very different kind of rurban belt is forming in the western lower Galilee. There, in the traditional Galilee fashion, settlement is circular (Galil means circle or wheel). Settlements on just about every hilltop, with Carmiel as the northeastern anchor and increasing at the center of the region, Ir Haveradim on the northwest, and the Haifa Bay cities (Akko and the Krayot) on the southwest. There, in addition to the suburban or exurban-like mitzpim themselves, major industries are being built in the countryside. Tefen and Rafael (Israel's military industry) are two good examples of major rurally-cited industries which draw employees from the mitzpim around or from Carmiel.

While not nearly as selective as the cooperative and collective settlements, each mitzpe also tends to attract a certain type of people as any neighborhood would. Eshav is mixed -- religious, traditional, and non-religious. Shorashim is committed to the Masorti movement. Different levels of housing at different prices are available in different mitzpim or in the larger yishuvim kehilatiim and the different neighborhoods within them.

One of the early problems of the mitzpim, that is to say, building houses without building infrastructure, seems to be in the process of being remedied. The government now is more likely to build infrastructure, roads, electricity, water, etc. along with the first houses. This has to be investigated more closely.

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