Bet Zera

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BET ZERA (Heb. בֵּית זֶרַע, "House of Seed"), kibbutz in Israel, 1¼ mi. (2 km.) S. of Lake Kinneret, affiliated with Kibbutz Arẓi ha-Shomer ha-Ẓair, founded in 1927 by pioneers from Germany who had previously participated in establishing *Mizra in the Jezreel Valley. It received part of the Umm Jūnī lands (among the first acquired in the country by the Jewish National Fund), ceded by nearby *Deganyah when it intensified its farming methods. The settlers developed a farming economy adapted to the hot climate, based on field crops, bananas, and other tropical fruit. In addition, it raised dairy cattle. In the mid-1970s, industry began to replace farming as the main source of livelihood, with the kibbutz manufacturing a variety of plastic goods. In 1968 Bet Zera had 660 inhabitants, increasing slightly to 715 in 2002. In its initial years, the settlement was named also Kefar Nathan Laski, after the English communal leader. The site is supposed to be that of Kefar Agun of talmudic times, home of R. Tanḥum b. Ḥiyya (Gen. R. 100:7).


[Efraim Orni]