ASHDOT YA'AKOV (Heb. אַשְׁדּוֹת יַעֲקׁב), two kibbutzim in the central Jordan Valley in Israel, near the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers. It was founded on pica (*Palestine Jewish Colonization Association) land in 1933, by a group of Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uḥad members. The abundant water supply and warm climate enabled the kibbutz to develop highly intensive farming and to become one of the largest collective settlements in the country. In 1953, after the split in Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uḥad, Ashdot divided into two communes, one of them joining Iḥud ha-Kevuẓot ve-ha-Kibbutzim. The first settlers in both kibbutzim came mostly from Eastern and Central Europe, or were Israeli-born. In 1968 their economies were based on banana, grapefruit, and other tropical and subtropical plantations, irrigated field crops and fodder, carp ponds, and milch cattle as well as large metal workshops and other industries. They became partners in a large adjacent cellotex factory. The combined population of the two kibbutzim (1968) was 1,200, and in the mid-1990s it was around 1,000. In 2002 the population of Ashdot Ya'akov Iḥud was 564 and the population of Ashdot Ya'akov Me'uḥad was 336. In addition to farming, Ashdot Ya'akov Iḥud produced olive oil and ran a plastic products factory, and both kibbutzim had guest rooms. The name Ashdot ("Waterfalls") refers to the nearby Rutenberg Electricity Works, and Ya'akov to James de *Rothschild.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]