SHOVAL (Heb. שׁוֹבָל), kibbutz in southern Israel, in the northern Negev, 16 mi. (25 km.) N.W. of Beersheba, affiliated with Kibbutz Arzi ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir. Shoval was founded on Oct. 6, 1946, as one of the 11 outpost settlements established in the same night in the South and Negev. The founders were pioneers from South Africa and Israel-born youth. They were later joined by immigrants from Romania, English-speaking countries, and other countries. In 1970 the kibbutz had 440 inhabitants. In 2002 the population was 505. Shoval pioneered in contour-plowing methods on its loess soils to prevent sheet erosion. It formed friendly ties with the al-Huzayyil Bedouin tribe camping in the vicinity. Near Shoval one of the first experimental, flash-flood reservoirs in the country was installed. With water for irrigation from the National Water Carrier, Shoval raised grain and field crops. It also maintained a large dairy herd and poultry and had three industries: chip processing, silk printing, and metal. Shoval is supposed to be the name of a biblical place in this area, preserved on the *Madaba Map in the form of Sobila (Σωβιλα) and in Arabic, as Bīr Zaballa. The name Shobal (Shoval) appears as a private name in i Chronicles 1:38, 40 and is connected with Bīr Zaballa preserved by the Arabs.
[Efram Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]