MAZKERET BATYAH (Heb. מַזְכֶּרֶת בַּתְיָה; "Memory of Batyah"), moshavah with municipal council status, in the Coastal Plain of Israel southeast of Rehovot. Its name commemorates Baron Edmond de *Rothschild's mother. It was the first village founded upon Baron Edmond de Rothschild's initiative (1883), and was known up until the early 1900s mostly by the name of Ekron (see *Kiryat Ekron). The name Ekron was given in the desire to identify the moshavah with the biblical site *Ekron from which the neighboring Arab village ʾAqīr(ﺮﻴﻗا) also took its name. Baron Rothschild worked to give the village a truly rural character, and was aided by the *Ḥibbat Zion movement in bringing some Jewish families who had been farmers in Russia to settle at Mazkeret Batyah. Until the 1940s, when rich groundwater reserves were tapped, the village's progress was slow, not only because little water was available but also because of bad communications. After the change, citrus groves became prominent. New immigrants settled there and more arrived in the first years after 1948. A further phase of expansion began in the mid-1960s and by 1969 the village had 845 inhabitants. By the mid-1990s the population had risen to 3,410, more than doubling to 7,300 in 2002, on an area of 2.7 sq. mi. (7 sq. km.). Residents earn their living in farming, industry, and commerce and also work outside the settlement.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]