|Founded by||Hashomer Hatzair|
Hatzor (Hebrew: חָצוֹר), officially Hatzor Ashdod to distinguish it from Hatzor HaGlilit, is a kibbutz in southern Israel. Located near Ashdod, it falls under the jurisdiction of Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. As of September 2011, it had a permanent population of 619, of which 326 were members.
The kibbutz community was established in 1936 by a group of Hashomer Hatzair members from Eretz Israel. The group resided in Mishmar HaEmek for a year, before moving to Rishon LeZion. They eventually remained there for nine years, as suitable land for settlement was sparse under the restrictions on Jewish settlements outlined in the White Paper of 1939 by the Mandate Government. During this time, Bulgarian and North American Hashomer Hatzair youth groups joined the founding group.
In 1943, a small group of kibbutz members founded Gvulot, which along with 2 similar settlements, Revivim and Beit Eshel, were known as the three lookouts and were the first Jewish settlements in the Negev. Gvulot's remote location, however, was considered unsuitable for permanent settlement by a large kibbutz with over 100 members and several dozen children. In 1946 the kibbutz finally settled in its present location, at the time a barren hill with an abandoned quarry on one side, surrounded by four Arab villages and a Royal Air Force base (now Israeli Air Force Hatzor Airbase). It was named after a location in ancient tribe of Judah (Joshua 15,23), while Hatzor HaGlilit is named after a town in ancient tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36).
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, from the end of May till October 1948, the kibbutz was near the front lines of the Egyptian Army, which had advanced as far as Ad Halom, and was repeatedly shelled by artillery fire. The children, as well as livestock, were evacuated to safer places until the Egyptians withdrew, while the remaining members lived in trenches. The kibbutz publication, Al HaTel (lit. On the hill), was renamed to Under the hill during the period. Several weeks before Israel declared its independence on May 14, the surrounding Arab villages were abandoned and their residents became refugees in Gaza Strip. Their land was confiscated by the state of Israel and part of it was leased to the kibbutz.
In the 1950s, another group of Hashomer Hatzair members, mainly from France, also joined the kibbutz. By the 1970s, the number of kibbutz members had reached around 300, and the total population around 600. The population decreased from the 1980s to early 2000s, but has increased rapidly in recent years to reach a record of 330 members in 2011.
Since the 1990s the Kibbutz has undergone changes towards privatization and abandoned many of its original collective habits. The latest step was the switch to "Safety Net" model in 2006, which in principle means every member is responsible to earn his own living, with a method of slightly reducing the difference between the "richer" and "poorer". As a result of that, more than 100 new members were admitted within 7 years. A new neighborhood of 44 families, populated by those new members, has been completed in spring 2014.
- Carta's Official Guide to Israel and Complete Gazetteer to all Sites in the Holy Land. (3rd edition 1993) Jerusalem, Carta, p.193, ISBN 965-220-186-3 (English)
- Official website (Hebrew)