|Founded by||Eastern European and North African immigrants|
Tze'elim (Hebrew: צֶאֱלִים) is a kibbutz in the Negev desert in southern Israel. It falls under the jurisdiction of Eshkol Regional Council and has a population of 418 in 2006. A military training base of the ground forces of the IDF (often named "Tze'elim Base" after the Kibbutz) is located near the Kibbutz.
The kibbutz was founded in January 1947 by gar'in from youth movements in Eastern Europe and North Africa, and was named for the abundant acacia trees in the area, which were mistakenly identified as the biblical Tze'elim trees. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the kibbutz was used as a military base.
Today the kibbutz markets itself as a tourist destination, with a natural hot springs spa and accommodation. Other economic activities are agriculture and farming.
Tze'elim is linked to Tel Aviv by Egged Ta'avura bus route 376, and to Beersheba by Egged Ta'avura bus routes 30 (Regular) & 130 (Direct). Tze'elim is situated off highway 222, in the north-western Negev.
Urban Warfare Training Center
In 2005, the Israeli Defense Force, with assistance from the United States, built the Urban Warfare Training Center at the Tze'elim Army Base, at a cost of $45 million. Nicknamed "Baladia" (Arabic for "city"), it is a 7.4 square mile training center used to train soldiers techniques used for urban warfare, and consists of a imitation Middle Eastern style city with multiple multistory buildings. It has been used to train various military organizations, including the US Army and UN peacekeepers. The project was initialized following the need for greater urban warfare training amongst the IDF, following the conflict during the Second Intifada.
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