Mishmar HaEmek

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Mishmar HaEmek
השומריה - עמק יזרעאל והגלבוע (3).JPG
Mishmar HaEmek is located in Israel
Mishmar HaEmek
Mishmar HaEmek
Coordinates: 32°36′34.91″N 35°8′30.48″E / 32.6096972°N 35.1418000°E / 32.6096972; 35.1418000Coordinates: 32°36′34.91″N 35°8′30.48″E / 32.6096972°N 35.1418000°E / 32.6096972; 35.1418000
Council Megiddo
Region Jezreel Valley
Affiliation Kibbutz Movement
Founded 1926
Founded by Polish immigrants
Population (2014)[1] 1,207
Website http://mh.kibbutz.org.il/

Mishmar HaEmek (Hebrew: מִשְׁמַר הָעֵמֶק, lit. Guardian of the Valley)[2] is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located in the western Jezreel Valley, it falls under the jurisdiction of Megiddo Regional Council. In 2014 it had a population of 1,207. Mishmar HaEmek is unique among other kibbutzim because it is one of the last that haven't undergone a liberalization process and still work by the traditional socialist model of the kibbutzim.[3]



Archeological excevation in 2010 found flagstone-paved compound that was probably cultic and a burial compound from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period; remains of the Yarmukian culture dating to the beginning of the Pottery Neolithic period; accumulations from the beginning of the Early and Intermediate Bronze Age.[4]

Middle Ages[edit]

Archeological excevation in 2010 found a courtyard surrounded by several rooms, which is part of a large courtyard building dating back to the 9th century AD was discovered with the foundations and fragments of roof tiles, which most likely, covered the rooms and were found on the surface. The source of the roof tiles is the port of Marseilles and most were stamped with the heart-shaped emblem of the Roux Frères roof-tile factory. Several other roof tiles were stamped with a swan symbol; these were probably imported in a later phase of the building’s existence, at the beginning of the 20t century, for the purpose of repair. According to Micah Linn of Mishmar HaEmek, the building was no longer standing at the time when the kibbuz was founded in 1926 and therefore, it is estimated to have been in use for only several decades.[4]

Before the establishment of the kibbutz (1921-1926)[edit]

Mishmar HaEmek, 1933

The gar'in of Mishmar Haemek was founded in Neve Sha'anan, Haifa by Polish Jews, members of the Hashomer Hatzair from Galicia who arrived during the Third Aliyah.[5] On 19 January 1922 the first baby of the Gar'in was born in Hadassah Medical Center and the news arrived to the members on 21 January, which was then decided to be the birthday of the kibbutz. In the summer of 1922 the members moved to Nahalal where they help with swamp drying and road paving, where some members suffered from diseases and lack of livelihood but continued to give birth to children and to expand the Gar'in. In 1925 the Gar'in, which consisted of 60 men and women, and six children, moved to Afula which was a place for workers who seeked jobs and for gar'in members waiting to get a plot of land for settlement, which the members received in November 1926 and 15 men and women left Afula and settled in an old building at the Arab village of Abu Shusha, where they worked the land. In the next year two mules were bought and 120 dunams of fields of wheat and barley were sowed until the kibbutz moved to its current location.[6]

Early years (1926–1949)[edit]

It was the first Jewish settlement in the southern part of the Jezreel Valley.[6] After disagreements the members of the kibbutz accepted the proposal by Menachem Ussishkin to name the kibbutz "Mishmar HaEmek" in November 1928.[7]

Music lessons on the kibbutz, 1956

On 26 August, during the 1929 Palestine riots the kibbutz was attacked by an Arab mob equiped with firearms. The villagers and Arab policemen managed to fend away the rioters. British policemen told the villagers to leave and promised to take care for their property and the villagers left the following day. On 28 August, Arab rioters burned the kibbutz's barn, uprooted trees, stole corn from the fields and vandalized two gravestones in the kibbutz's cemetery. The villagers finally returned on 7 September and started fortifying the kibbutz, despite concerns of the Jewish Agency about the resettlement in the region. It was the only time in the history of the kibbutz it was abandoned and in during the riots 16 other Jewish communities were evacuated.[8]

In early 1930 the rest of the Gar'in which consisted of 85 adults and and 16 children, left Afula and joined the members in Mishmar HaEmek. In the next years the members planted 50,000 trees, built a cowshed, planted a vineyard and various fruit trees, dug wells and built the first two permenent buildings: A double story children house made of concrete and a water tower.[7] The children house was the educational institution of the Kibbutz and was planned in 1931 but only built in 1937 after the needed funds were raised and was constructed by the members of the Kibbutz in order to reduce the costs, in a small hill near the Kibbutz. At the time the building was completed, it was one of the largest structres in the Jezreel Valley and the serrounding area and was nicknamed "the Big House".[9]

During the early days of the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine the kibbutz was subjected to almost daily attacks, usually shootings and burning of trees. British High Commissioner Arthur Grenfell Wauchope visited the kibbutz and appointed 15 members as guards and gave them firearms but in August 1936 the situation worsened and the British government sent 60 soldiers to guard the kibbutz and in October the attacks on the kibbutz ended.[8] During the attacks, dozens of thousands of trees were burnet.[7] Israeli poet and later member of the Knesset, Uri Zvi Greenberg, critisized the residents of Mishmar HaEmek for not taking the law into their hands after the attacks on their fields and in a song he wrote on the events he changed the name of the kibbutz "Mishmar HaEmek" (Guardian of the Valley) to "Hefker HaEmek" (Abandonment of the Valley).[10] The Palmach used the trees as cover for their main training camp and its fighters worked in the kibbutz.[7]

In the fall of 1942, when there were fears of a German victory in the Middle East, Mishmar HaEmek was used as a training camp by the British army. 160 Jewish volunteers, who would later become members of the Palmach branch of the Haganah, were trained by Royal Engineers in sabotage and wireless operation. Several tons of explosives were hidden in caches in case the area came under German occupation. This program was terminated immediately upon the training of the volunteers, and orders issued for the collection of all equipment and explosives to be returned to the British.[11]

In 1947, Mishmar HaEmek had a population of 550.[2] The Jewish National Fund and Worton Hall Studios made a 1947 movie called The Great Promise (Dim'at Ha'Nehamah Ha'Gedolah), and a number of the scenes were filmed here.[2]

Civil War and Arab-Israeli war (1948-1949)[edit]

During the 1947–48 Civil War, on 4 April 1948, the kibbutz came under full scale attack by the Arab Liberation Army (ALA).[12] The leader of the ALA Fawzi al-Qawuqji planned to sieze Mishmar HaEmek and from there to move toward Haifa.[13] The attack began with an artillery barrage from seven artillery pieces supplied by the Syrian Army.[14] For five days the Arabs shelled the kibbutz from a distance of 800 yards.[15] During the shelling of the Kibbutz, the notable white school building was heavily damaged and a concrete shelter was built later.[9] In the following counter-attack the Haganah destroyed eight neighbouring Arab villages.


Mishmar HaEmek is considered one of the richest of the Kibbutzim in Israel[16] and its economy is based on intesive farming, including field crops, orchards, dairy cattle and poultry. It also operates a plastic factory for electrical appliances and household goods in partnership with Kibbutz Galed[17] which holds 25% of the income.[16]


The educational institution of the kibbutz was established in 1930[9] and was the first regional educational institution of the Kibbutz Artzi movement (later merged with other movements to the Kibbutz Movement).[17] The institution was infused with a Socialist ideology of Hashomer Hatzair movement. The system of the education was "an independent children's society", responsible for all its own needs. The institution operated as a multi-age boarding school and the children were able to see their parents only during vacations or in a small number of visits during the course of the year. The children had a daily schedule, where the mornings were devoted for ecutation, the afternoons for work in the Kibbutz and the evenings for cultural activities. At first, the institution was housed in a number of rickety cabins but shortly after its establishment the Kibbutz Haartzi movement decided to construct a building on a hill above the Kibbutz in a building designed by architect Joseph Neufeld, which was built in 1937. The location was symbolic, as the location on a hill higher than the rest of the Kibbutz was to signify the importance of education. Apart from Mishmar HaEmek, the institution was intended to provide education to four other communities that were established in the Jezreel Valley: Beit Alfa, Sarid, Mizra and Merhavia (which were later joined by children from Gan Shmuel and young people from Youth Aliyah). After the establishment of the State of Israel, simmilar educational institutions started in other Kibbutzim and the uniqueness of school in Mishmar HaEmek faded. The building was still used for dormitories and classes until it was completely adandoned in the 1980s.[9]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ 2014 populations Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
  2. ^ a b c Jewish National Fund (1949). Jewish Villages in Israel. Jerusalem: Hamadpis Liphshitz Press. p. 122. 
  3. ^ Dagan, David (25 May 2008). "Kibbutz Diary: Socialism for the 21st century". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Getzov, Nimrod; Barzilai, Omry (12 November 2011). "Mishmar Ha-‘Emeq (el-Ghaba et-Tahta)". Israel Antiquities Authority. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "משמר העמק [Mishmar HaEmek]". Megido Regional Council website. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "משמר העמק - אירועים מרכזיים בהיסטוריית משמר העמק [Mishmar HaEmek - Key events in the history of Mishmar HaEmek]". Mishmar HaEmek website (in Hebrew). Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "משמר העמק - היסטוריה [Mishmar HaEmek - History]". Mishmar HaEmek website (in Hebrew). Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "אירועים ביטחוניים בתולדות משמר העמק [Security events in the history of Mishmar HaEmek]". Mishmar HaEmek website (in Hebrew). Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d Dvir, Noam (28 March 2008). "The Acropolis of Mishmar Ha'emek". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Karper, Dalia (9 July 2016). "ממציא הפשיזם הישראלי [Inventor of Israeli Fascism]". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Naomi Shepherd, "Ploughing the sand - British rule in Palestine 1917-1948".ISBN 0 7195 5707 0. Pages 215-220.
  12. ^ Benny Morris, "The Birth of the Palestinain Refugee Problem". ISBN 0-521-33028-9. page 115.
  13. ^ Gelber, Yoav (2004). Independence Versus Nakba. Kinneret–Zmora-Bitan–Dvir. p. 114. ISBN 965-517-190-6. 
  14. ^ Larry Collins/Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem. History Book Club, London, (1972) (hb). p.281. They count seven 75 millimeter and three 105 millimeter guns.
  15. ^ Kimche, (1950) p.215
  16. ^ a b Am-Ad, Karni (24 August 2011). "קיבוץ משמר העמק חילק בונוס גדול לחברים [Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek distributed a big bonus to the members]". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Orni, Efraim (2008). "MISHMAR HA-EMEK". Jewish Virtual Library. 


  • Kimche, J. (1950). Seven fallen pillars. The Middle East: 1915-1950, by Jon Kimche. London: Secker and Warburg.