Ḥaẓer, Ḥaẓerim

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ḤAẒER, ḤAẒERIM (Heb. חָצֵר ,חֲצֵרִים).

(1) a biblical term for seminomadic settlements on the edge of the Negev that were fenced in but not walled. The ḥaẓerim occupy an intermediate position between nomadic encampments and settled towns (Josh. 21:12, where it is translated as "villages"), but in the course of time some of them developed into towns (cf. Hazar-Gaddah, Hazar-Shual, Josh. 15:27–28, etc.). A similar meaning is apparently expressed by the term ḥagar (from the root meaning "to fence in"). Place names combined with ḥagar are frequently mentioned in the Negev in the lists of *Shishak's conquests; in later sources the term refers to the Roman limes. The Avvim, who were absorbed by the invading Caphtorim (Philistines), also lived in ḥaẓerim in the south as far as Gaza (Deut. 2:23). In the Targum Yerushalmi, Ḥaẓerim is considered a locality and is identified with Rafah.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

(2) Ḥazerim (Heb. חֲצֵרִים), kibbutz in the northern Negev, Israel, 4½ mi. (7 km.) W. of Beersheba, affiliated with Iḥud ha-Kevuẓot ve-ha-Kibbutzim, founded by graduates of Ha-Ẓofim, among them "Teheran Children" and Israeli-born youth on the night of Oct. 6, 1946, on which 10 other new settlements were simultaneously set up in the South and Negev. In the first 10 years of its existence, Ḥaẓerim sought ways to treat its desert loess soils and overcame isolation and siege in the *War of Independence (1948). The kibbutz economy was based on field crops (mostly irrigated), fruit orchards, cattle, and an industrial enterprise, Netafim, for drip irrigation equipment, which became its economic mainstay with sales in over 100 countries, 24 subsidiaries and plants (including facilities in Cuba and China), and sales of $230 million in 2002. The population of the kibbutz in 2002 was 791.

[Efraim Orni /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]


(1) Maisler, in: Sefer…, J.N. Epstein (1950), 317ff.; J. Braslavsky, Le-Ḥeker Arẓenu (1954), 255ff.