ṬūL Karm

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ṬŪL KARM , Arab town in Ereẓ Israel 9 mi. (15 km.) E. of Netanyah. According to archaeological evidence, the place was inhabited in the Roman period. The Arabic name is derived from the Aramaic Tur Karma (טוּר כַּרְמָא) so-called by its *Samaritan inhabitants who constituted the majority of its population in the Middle Ages. Over the last few centuries, Ṭūl Karm was a small place, but expanded in the 20th century when through traffic increased, particularly with the building of a highway along the eastern rim of the Sharon and the construction of the Haifa-Lydda railway line. The planting of citrus groves and progress in other local farm branches also favorably affected its growth. Ṭūl Karm's development slackened somewhat in the 1930s when a main highway was completed further west, between Petaḥ Tikvah and Ḥaderah. In the armistice agreement with Jordan (1949), Ṭūl Karm was in Jordanian territory and the border was so drawn that it was separated from the railway and from certain landholdings. Nevertheless, the town resumed its growth as farming and administrative services provided new employment opportunities. A farm school was established in the 1920s through a contribution by Sir Elly *Kadoorie. Ṭūl Karm was taken by Israeli forces in the *Six-Day War (June 7, 1967). According to the census of the fall of 1967, the town had 10,157 inhabitants, all of whom were Muslim Arabs, except for 103 Christians. Of the total, 5,020 lived in a refugee camp. The town's economy continued to be based mainly on intensive farming. In the wake of the Oslo ii Agreement of September 1995, Ṭūl Karm was transferred to the jurisdiction of the *Palestinian Authority. In 1997 its population was 33,921, of whom 31.4% were refugees.

[Efraim Orni]