METULLAH (Metulah ; Heb. מְטוּלָה, מְטֻלָה), northernmost Israel village (moshavah). It stands on the Israel-Lebanese border, on the hill chain connecting the Naphtali Ridge with the *Hermon Massif and separating the *Ḥuleh Valley from the Iyyon Valley in Lebanon. Metullah was founded in 1896, on Baron Edmond de *Rothschild's initiative, by young settlers specially chosen for their ability to defend the isolated site. The name Metullah is derived from the Arabic.
Metullah progressed slowly until the 1950s, when water and electricity were supplied to the village, and new immigrants settled there. The village's economy was based on deciduous fruit orchards, vineyards, field crops, and cattle, but it also served as a summer resort. From 1977 until the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the moshavah served as a transit point for Christian Lebanese citizens working in northern Israel. The population at the end of 1969 numbered 350, rising to 950 in the mid-1990s and 1,480 in 2002, with a new neighborhood constructed to accommodate newcomers. The settlement has municipal council status and an area of 0.8 sq. mi. (2 sq. km.). Income still derives mainly from the orchards (apples, pears, apricots, cherries, plums, and nectarines) and tourism, featuring a big sports center with an ice-skating rink.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]