Bror Hayil

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Bror Hayil
בְּרוֹר חַיִל
Synagogue of Bror Hayil
Synagogue of Bror Hayil
Bror Hayil is located in Israel
Bror Hayil
Bror Hayil
Coordinates: 31°33′27.72″N 34°38′49.19″E / 31.5577000°N 34.6469972°E / 31.5577000; 34.6469972Coordinates: 31°33′27.72″N 34°38′49.19″E / 31.5577000°N 34.6469972°E / 31.5577000; 34.6469972
District Southern
Council Sha'ar HaNegev
Region Northern Negev
Affiliation Kibbutz Movement
Founded 10 April 1948
Founded by Egyptian Jews
Population (2007) 462

Bror Hayil (Hebrew: בְּרוֹר חַיִל) is a kibbutz in southern Israel. Located near Sderot, it falls under the jurisdiction of Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council. In 2007, it had a population of 462.


The name Bror Hayil means "selection of soldiers." It may be associated with the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the first half of the 2nd century CE.[1]


Kibbutz Bror Hayil

A Jewish village by this name existed during the Talmudic era. It was the site of yeshiva headed by rabbi Johanan ben Zakai.[2] According to the Talmud, candlelight at night in Bror Hayil was a sign that a male child had been born.[3]

Bror Hayil was the only Jewish village founded between the UN Partition Plan on 29 November, 1947 and the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May, 1948.[4]

The creation of the settlement required a number of stages, the dates of which look a bit controversial.

On April 10, 1948, a group of Jewish immigrants from Egypt set up a camp in the area on land purchased by the Jewish National Fund.[5]

A few days later, the New York Times reported:

The Jews yesterday [April 19] founded a new settlement called Brur Hayal at the edge of the Negeb desert, in that part of southern Palestine where Egyptian volunteers are reported to be preparing a “second front’’. The colonists are veterans who served with the British Army during World II. They drove a convoy of twenty-four armored trucks to a hilltop situated less than a mile from Arab village of Bureir during the night. When the Arabs awoke they found the Jews setting up prefabricated houses and building a defensive wall and watchtower. The Arabs promptly opened fire, but by noon the houses and the wall were in place.[6]

The procedure resembles the "Tower and stockade" settlement operation from the time of the 1936–39 Arab revolt.

According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, the founding date of the kibbutz was May 18,[7] whereas the kibbutz itself cites May 5.[8]

Once the Palestinian village of Burayr was depopulated during the war, the kibbutz expanded onto its land.[9][10]

After many of the Egyptian founders left, it became the target kibbutz of the Brazilian branch of the Zionist youth movement Dror, and later Dror Habonim.[11] Today, many residents are immigrants from Brazil.[5]

In 2012, Brazil's foreign minister Antonio Patriota visited Bror Hayil. During his visit, he received a letter from a Bror Hayil resident whose daughter was killed by a Qassam rocket in 2005 in which he urges Brazil take a more active role in brokering a peace agreement.[12]


In addition to its agricultural pursuits, the kibbutz runs a pizza factory in partnership with the Soglowek group.[13] Many residents work outside the kibbutz, at various factories and plants in Sderot, the Shaar Hanegev Educational Campus, Sapir College and Amdocs.[14]

The Ben Shushan winery, established by agronomist Yuval Ben-Shoshan, released its first wine from the vintage of 1998. It uses grapes raised in the desert for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as grapes from Kerem Ben Zimra in the Galilee. The winery produces 10,000 bottles annually in three series, Kfar Shamai, Har’el and Avdat.[15]

Cultural institutions[edit]

The kibbutz operates a museum of Brazilian heritage and music. One of the exhibits is the gavel used by the president of the UN General Assembly in 1948, Osvaldo Aranha of Brazil, who supported the creation of the State of Israel.[16]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ The Days and the Seasons: Memoirs, Evyatar Friesel
  2. ^ A History of the Jewish People, Abraham Malamat, Haim H. Ben-Sasson, Harvard University Press, page 332
  3. ^ The Days and the Seasons: Memoirs, Evyatar Friesel
  4. ^ HaReuveni, Immanuel (1999). Lexicon of the Land of Israel (in Hebrew). Miskal - Yedioth Ahronoth Books and Chemed Books. pp. 159–160. ISBN 965-448-413-7. 
  5. ^ a b Vilnai, Ze'ev (1976). "Bror Hayil". Ariel Encyclopedia (in Hebrew). Volume 1. Tel Aviv, Israel: Am Oved. pp. 1024–25. 
  6. ^ Dana Adams Schmidt (April 21, 1948). "Big convoy fights way to Jerusalem". New York Times. p. 18. 
  7. ^ Morris, Benny (April 2008). 1948 - A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. p. 307. 
  8. ^ Bror Hayil website
  9. ^ Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.  Morris, 2004, p. xx, settlement #6.
  10. ^ Khalidi, Walid (1992), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, p. 92, ISBN 0-88728-224-5 
  11. ^ Bror Hail, Negev Information Center
  12. ^ Brazil's FM visits 'Brazilian kibbutz'
  13. ^ Soglowek to invest NIS 30m in expanding Beror Hayil pizza factory
  14. ^ Bror Hayil, Negev Information Centre
  15. ^ Israeli Wineries: Meishar, Ben Shoshan, Red Poetry
  16. ^ Brazil's FM visits 'Brazilian kibbutz'