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ḤANITAH (Heb. חֲנִיתָה), kibbutz situated on the Israel-Lebanese frontier in western Upper Galilee, 4½ mi. (7 km.) E. of Rosh ha-Nikrah. Ḥanitah, affiliated with Iḥud ha-Kevuẓot veha-Kibbutzim, was founded in 1938, at the height of the Arab riots, as a stockade and watchtower outpost, with the aim of gaining a foothold in a region until then devoid of Jewish settlement, and of closing the border gap through which armed gangs used to infiltrate from Lebanon. Ḥanitah became the epitome of the defense settlement and its foundation was the subject of the Hebrew opera Dan ha-Shomer by Shin *Shalom and Marc *Lavry (1945). First established by a *Haganah unit at a site known as "lower Ḥanitah," the settlement had to repel incessant attacks, two defenders falling the very night it was founded. A month later, "upper Ḥanitah" was set up on the permanent site at the top of the ridge. In 1939, a group of settlers from Eastern Europe took over. Arduous reclamation work was required to carve cultivable land (mainly for deciduous fruit orchards and vineyards) out of the rocky terrain overgrown with wild brush. Forests were planted and ancient woodlands in the vicinity restored. Ḥanitah established a large rest resort, which went out of business though guest rooms were still rented, a lens-making factory, and a factory for coating, laminating and metallicizing polyester film. Farming included fruit plantations, citrus groves, and field crops. Its population in 1968 was 390, rising to 610 in the mid-1990s and then dropping to 465 by 2002. Its name dates back to the second and third centuries c.e. and is preserved in the form Ḥanita (חניתא; Tosef., Shev. 4:9 and tj, Dem. 2:1, 22b), today Khirbat Ḥānūtā at the site of the kibbutz.



[Efraim Orni]