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Mishmar David
Founded 1948
Founded by Romanian immigrants
Council Gezer
Region Shephelah
Coordinates 31°49′21.72″N 34°54′7.92″E / 31.8227°N 34.9022°E / 31.8227; 34.9022Coordinates: 31°49′21.72″N 34°54′7.92″E / 31.8227°N 34.9022°E / 31.8227; 34.9022
Mishmar David is located in Israel
Mishmar David

Mishmar David (Hebrew: מִשְׁמַר דָּוִד‎, lit. David's Guard) is a communal settlement in central Israel. Located in the Shephelah near Mazkeret Batya, it falls under the jurisdiction of Gezer Regional Council and had a population of 197 in 2006. In 2003 it became the first kibbutz to be privatised.[1]

History

The village was founded as a kibbutz in 1948 by Holocaust survivors from Romania and former soldiers,[1] and was named after David Marcus, a United States Army colonel who assisted Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and later became the country's first general. It was established on land belonging to the abandoned Arab village of Khulda. During the 1970s the kibbutz absorbed several immigrants from the United Kingdom. Its economy was based on growing maize, avocados and grapes, as well as a printing press.

The communal lifestyle was diminishing by the 1990s; the kibbutz's dining hall closed in 1994, and in 1999 the system of being paid according to needs was abolished. In 2003, following a vote of 50 in favour and only one against,[2] it was converted to a communal settlement, the first kibbutz to do so. The kibbutz had debts of £18 million,[1] and would sell a chunk of land to build 350 new homes, whilst the rest of the land was returned to the state. Each kibbutz member was given shares in the printing press business.[1]

During an archeological salvage excavation in 2006, prior to the commencement of building, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that they had discovered an ancient Jewish-Christian town covering six dunams in Mishmar David.[3] The discovery included a never-seen-before round building dated to the Byzantine-Islamic period, with a diameter of around 10 metres and a polychrome mosaic floor covered with geometric patterns and a palm tree motif.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Pioneering dream ends as kibbutz goes private The Guardian, 6 May 2001
  2. ^ Socialism's Last Stand Commentary Magazine, March 2002
  3. ^ Ancient Jewish-Christian settlement found in Mishmar David The Jerusalem Post, 3 December 2006
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