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Zikhron Ya'akov


ZIKHRON YA'AKOV (Heb. זִכְרוֹן יַעֲקֹב), village with municipal council status in N. Israel, on the southern spur of Mount Carmel. Founded in 1882 by Jews from Romania, it was one of the earliest settlements of the Ḥovevei Zion movement. Zikhron Ya'akov was initially called by the Arabic name of the site, Zammrin, which was erroneously supposed to be derived from "Shomron." The following year, Baron Edmond de *Rothschild took a personal and financial interest in the village and named it Zikhron Ya'akov ("Memory of Jacob") after his father, James de Rothschild. On his initiative wine grapes were introduced as a principal agricultural branch, and one of the two large wine cellars established in the country (the other is at *Rishon le-Zion) was built. After a short time, however, the vineyards were seriously hit by the Phylloxera pest, and the vines had to be replaced by strains introduced from America. In 1903 a convention of the Jewish settlers of Ereẓ Israel was held at Zikhron Ya'akov to create a kind of Jewish umbrella organization. M.M. *Ussishkin addressed the meeting, at which the *Teachers Association (Histadrut ha-Morim) was founded. The physician Hillel *Joffe, known for his fight against malaria, lived in Zikhron Ya'akov, as did the botanist and agronomist Aaron *Aaronsohn and his sister *Sarah, who founded the secret *Nili intelligence group in World War i; their home was later turned into a museum. Zikhron Ya'akov started becoming a holiday resort in the late 1930s and 1940s. One of the first and important centers was the artists' rest home, Bet Dani'el (on the Bentwich-Lange-Friedlaender estate), which was named after the young pianist Daniel Friedlaender. In the first years of Israel's statehood the village expanded considerably when it absorbed many new immigrants. In 1950 Zikhron Ya'akov received council municipal status. In the 1960s, however, its population remained static, with 4,470 inhabitants in 1968. Farming, in which vineyards and other fruit orchards continue to be prominent, was important along with industry (the wine cellar, a hosiery plant producing for export, and smaller enterprises), tourism, and recreation. In 1963 a group of Christians from Germany established a closed community in the northern part of the town, run like a kibbutz and operating factories for air purification systems, blankets, and processed foods. In the mid-1990s the population of Zikhron Ya'akov expanded to approximately 8,090, rising further to 14,300 in 2002 with new neighborhoods coming into existence. The municipality developed the original first street of the moshavah into a tourist attraction.

In 1954 Baron de Rothschild's remains were transferred to a mausoleum, surrounded by beautiful gardens, at Zikhron Ya'akov. Also buried in the village is the labor leader David *Remez, who spent many years there as a pioneer and labor organizer, and in whose honor a large rest house of Kuppat Ḥolim, Bet Remez, is named.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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