Akhzivland

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Flag
Status Current
Government
 -  President Eli Avivi
Establishment
 -  Declared 1971[1] 
Population
 -  estimate 2 (2013)
Time zone Israel Standard Time (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) Israel Summer Time (UTC+3)

Akhzivland is a micronation between Nahariya and the Lebanese border on the Israeli west coast.[2] The state was founded by Eli Avivi in 1970. The micronation is promoted by the Israel Ministry of Tourism even though its legal status remains ambiguous.[3][4]

The micronation is located near the ruins of Achziv, an ancient settlement on the Mediterranean coast in the Western Galilee, about 5 kilometers north of Nahariya. A national park, field school, and the ruins of the Arab village of Az-Zeeb, which was captured by the Carmeli Brigade during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, are located nearby.

History[edit]

At the current site of Akhzivland, there was once an ancient port city. Based on archeological findings and the numerous burial sites located in the region, it is thought that Achziv was already an important commercial center during the Iron Age. In the Book of Joshua, Achziv is mentioned as one of the nine cities of Judah. A thriving city was also located on the site during the time of the Mishnah. During the Crusader period, the city was given as a gift to a knight. During the Mamluk period, it was conquered by the Mamluk general Baibars, who established a fishing village at the site called Az-Zeeb. The village’s residents fled Az-Zeeb during Operation Ben-Ami in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

In 1961, the Israeli government granted the French resort company Club Med a fifty-year lease over part of the area's coastline.

In 1952, Iranian-born sailor and Palmach veteran[5] moved into buildings in the villages. According to former residents of Az Zeeb, Avivi was hired by a family of fishermen, and later moved into the family's house in 1955.[1]

In 1970, the Israeli government sent bulldozers to demolish the home in which Avivi had been living.[1] In protest, Eli founded Akhzivland in 1971, setting up a hostel and a museum inside the former home of the mukhtar of Az-Zeeb.[1] The micronation became a tourist site, attracting artists, writers, countercultural figures.

The micronation elected a President (Avivi), established a flag and national anthem, and even issued passports. For a certain time, visitors’ passports received a special stamp. Following the founding of Akhzivland, Avivi was arrested and detained, but was released 10 days later after a judge ruled that the charge of "Creation of a Country Without Permission" did not exist.[6] After Avivi sued the Israeli government, a court ruled to lease the area to Avivi for 99 years, but did not rule on the legal status of the state. [7]

Akhzivland now contains a guest house, beachfront campground, and a museum of eccentricities, and is open to the public.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lagerquist, Peter (Autumn 2006). "Vacation from History: Ethnic Cleansing as the Club Med Experience". Journal of Palestine Studies (University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine Studies) 36 (1): 43–53. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  2. ^ The Despot Concierge - Sydney Morning Herald 13 September 2009
  3. ^ A World of His Own: Former Seafarer Eli Avivi Rules His Own Kingdom - Go World Travel
  4. ^ Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations (Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd 2006)
  5. ^ Amelia Thomas (5 November 2009). "Finding Akhzivland". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Amelia Thomas (5 November 2009). "Finding Akhzivland". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Akhzivland: the most peaceful "country" in the Middle East". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 19 December 2014.