Mishmar Ha-Yarden

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MISHMAR HA-YARDEN (Heb. מִשְׁמַר הַיַּרְדֵּן; "Guard of the Jordan"), moshav in northern Israel, near the upper Jordan River course, affiliated with the *Ḥerut Movement. In 1884 a Jew living in the United States acquired the land, to establish a farm, Shoshannat ha-Yarden, but shortly after sold his holding to a Ḥovevei Zion group from Russia which founded the moshavah of Mishmar ha-Yarden (1890). Although it received aid from Baron Edmond de *Rothschild, the village, which was based mainly on extensive grain crops, did not make much headway. It suffered from isolation and the endemic malaria. In 1946 the village, reinforced with the settlement of Irgun Wedgwood, a group of World War ii veterans, intensified its farming. In the Israel *War of Independence, the Syrian army crossed the Jordan River from the *Golan over the nearby *Benot Ya'akov Bridge, and established a bridgehead at Mishmar ha-Yarden, in an attempt to cut off the Ḥuleh Valley and penetrate into Galilee (May 1948). The attempt of Israel forces to encircle the Syrians from the east in "Operation Berosh" (July 1948) was unsuccessful, but the bridgehead was contained and its area reduced. When the Syrians evacuated the area as a result of the armistice terms (1949), hardly any traces remained of the moshavah. At the end of 1949, the moshav and a kibbutz, Gadot, were founded on the site. Until the Six-Day War (June 1967), Mishmar ha-Yarden was the frequent object of sniping and shelling from Syrian positions, just beyond the Jordan River. Most of the moshav's inhabitants originated from Morocco. Its farming was based on irrigated field and garden crops, deciduous fruit orchards, and dairy cattle. In 2002 its population was 364.

[Efraim Orni]