Friday, May 4, 2012

SETTLING ON THE CARMEL/BEIT OREN


SETTLING ON THE CARMEL



Hesepa was a Byzantine settlement, which later became Jewish.  Today it is a Druze village named Usefiya.

Kibbutz Beit Oren is situated right next to the Carmel Nature Reserve national park, an area often called "little Switzerland".

The first Jewish settlement on the Carmel in the 20th century was Mishmar Hacarmel, established in 1935 on the site of an Ottoman fort.  It was near Ein Harod.  After a 1938 fatal attack on a bus in the area, it was decided to enlarge the Jewish population.  The Beit Oren group had been training in Magdiel since 1935.  In 1939 they established Kibbutz Beit Oren on the site of Mishmar Hacarmel.  About a year later they moved the kibbutz to the hill opposite, which is where Kibbutz Beit Oren stands today.

In pre-state days the kibbutz was a training ground for the Hagannah.  After the 1945 mass escape of 208 prisoners from the Atlit camp, the illegal immigrants walked to Beit Oren.  They were then transferred to Kibbutz Yagur.

Beit Oren has always suffered from financial difficulties.  In 1995 it was privatized.  This was the first kibbutz in the country to do this.  On 2/12/10 part of the kibbutz was destroyed in the terrible Carmel Forest fire.  Today the kibbutz has 180 members and a total population of approx 500.

Businesses run by the kibbutz include a hotel, a horse riding centre, a lead factory, a glass workshop, a swimming pool, a professional mountain bike store and a pub/function hall.









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