Hefer Valley Regional Council
|• Type||Regional council (from 1940)|
|• Head of Municipality||Rani Idan|
|• Total||127,940 dunams (127.94 km2 or 49.40 sq mi)|
The council covers an area adjacent to Hadera in the north, to Netanya in the south, to the Mediterranean in the west and to Tulkarm and the Green Line in the east. It has a population of about 35,000 residents.
In the early 1900s, a local midwife, Olga Hankin, reported information about the economic state of the families in the region to her husband, Yehoshua Hankin, who was in charge of land purchase for the Jewish National Fund. In 1927 Yehoshua Hankin resolved the complex legal issues involved in purchasing the land, and signed an agreement for the purchase of the Hefer Valley. The only difficulty was that the Jewish National Fund did not have sufficient funds to pay the sum needed for buying the land.
The chairman of the JNF, Menachem Ushishkin, set out on a fundraising trip to Canada, returning with $300,000 and undertakings to bring it up to a million, the sum required to purchase the Hefer Valley over a period of seven years. At the Zionist Congress held in Zurich in 1929, Ushishkin announced that Emek Hefer was now in Jewish hands.
A group of 20 young members of the "Vitkin" and "Haemek" movements settled in the newly purchased valley. They moved into an abandoned building and began draining the swamps and preparing the land for agriculture.
In April 1933, they built their first houses on Kfar Vitkin, in the heart of the valley. In 1931, a group from the Hashomer Hatzair movement in Hadera established the settlement of Ein HaHoresh, planting the first citrus grove.
A company called "Yachin" prepared plantations for settlers from abroad. Another group from the Kibbutz HaMeuhad movement, founded Givat Haim in 1932, while the organization of demobilized soldiers from the Jewish Brigade set up the settlement of Avihayil.