Eshhar

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Eshhar
אֶשְׁחָר
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • unofficial = Eshchar
Eshharsnow1.JPG
Eshhar is located in Israel
Eshhar
Eshhar
Coordinates: 32°53′5.52″N 35°18′4.85″E / 32.8848667°N 35.3013472°E / 32.8848667; 35.3013472Coordinates: 32°53′5.52″N 35°18′4.85″E / 32.8848667°N 35.3013472°E / 32.8848667; 35.3013472
District Northern
Council Misgav
Affiliation HaMerkaz HaHakla'i
Founded 1986
Founded by American Jews
Population (2015)[1] 790
Name meaning Rhamnus palaestinus

Eshhar (Hebrew: אֶשְׁחָר‎) is a community settlement in northern Israel. Located in the Galilee to the south of Karmiel and north of Sakhnin, it falls under the jurisdiction of Misgav Regional Council. In 2015 it had a population of 790.[1] It is adjacent to the Bedouin village of Arab al-Na'im, with which it shares an access road.

History[edit]

In 1979, a group of Jews in Chicago came up with a plan to establish a joint secular-religious community in Israel. Eshhar was established in 1986 by a gar'in comprising this group and other English-speaking and Israeli families.[2][3]

The community was named for the Rhamnus palaestinus (buckthorn), "eshhar" in Hebrew. Residents avoid driving within the village on Shabbat and public events are kosher. Beyond this, residents define their own lifestyles, without coercion.

The local Tzofim scout group is open to both religious and secular youth.[4]

Plans for a pluralistic Meguvan-affiliated elementary school failed due to legal issues and opposition from the Ministry of Education and the Regional Council. An attempt to establish such a school in Moreshet failed for similar reasons.[5] Children attend local religious or secular schools instead.

Relations with the adjacent hillside Bedouin village of Arab al-Na'im are generally good, based on a firm footing established in initial meetings between the councils of the two villages in the 1990s, when it was agreed that "good neighborly relations" would be a pragmatic and helpful arrangement. Eshhar as a community, along with other Jewish organizations, have been involved in supporting Arab al-Na'im's leaders in obtaining state recognition and, subsequently, connection to municipal services and the institution of a master plan for the village, enabling the first permanent masonry-built houses to be constructed there in 2014.[6]

Facilities[edit]

Facilities in the village include a new synagogue and community hall opened in 2014, a mikveh, a small petting zoo, a library, outdoor sports facilities (including a baseball field) and playgrounds, a community pub, a community orchard and several walking trails. There is a nursery for children from the age of three months to three years, and three kindergartens.

A new neighborhood (shlav gimel 3) started construction in 2015 with more than half of the houses completed by the end of 2016. There are plans for further expansion (shlav dalet) with 32 families already accepted into the first stage.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]