Rosh Pinnah

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ROSH PINNAH (Heb. רֹאשׁ פִּנָּה), moshavah in northern Israel, on the slope of Mt. Canaan south of the Ḥuleh Valley. Rosh Pinnah was first founded in 1878 by pious Jews from *Safed who wanted to live by their own means instead of by *Ḥalukkah. They named their settlement Gel Oni ("Valley of My Strength," an adaptation of the name of the nearby Arab village Jāʿūna). The settlers, lacking both funds and farm experience, and harassed by their Arab neighbors, gave up after just over two years. In 1882, however, the settlement was renewed by First *Aliyah pioneers from Romania. The symbolic name "Corner Stone" is taken from Psalms 118:22.

Although Baron Edmond de *Rothschild extended aid to the isolated moshavah, it did not make much headway. The farmers tried to grow tobacco, mulberry trees for silkworms, and other specialties in addition to grain crops. After short periods of apparent prosperity these branches had to be abandoned for lack of markets. The British Mandate authorities maintained a police station and customs office near Rosh Pinnah. In the 1936–39 Arab riots, the moshavah suffered from repeated attacks. During the late 1930s the *Betar movement established a collective group in Rosh Pinnah which maintained itself by working on the local farms. In 1938 three of its members who attacked an Arab bus in retaliation for Arab terrorist acts were caught and tried by a British court. One of them, Shelomo *Ben-Yosef, was hanged in Acre Prison and buried in Rosh Pinnah. A memorial stone was erected at the site near the highway where the episode occurred. After 1948, immigrants were absorbed in the village and in a nearby *ma'barah (immigrant transit camp) so that Rosh Pinnah's population rose to 1,480 by 1953. Some of the newcomers, however, were later transferred to the nearby development town of *Hazor or elsewhere, with the result that the 1961 population droppped to 702 and in 1970 was just 805. In 1949 Rosh Pinnah received municipal council status. Grain crops and deciduous fruit orchards were its characteristic farm branches. In the mid-1990s, the population was approximately 1,820, increasing to 2,210 in 2002 on an area of 7 sq. mi. (18 sq. km.). Many of Rosh Pinnah's residents earned their livelihoods in the tourist industry, mainly in the area's guest houses. Some still worked in agriculture.

[Efraim Orni /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]