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Otniel is located in the Southern West Bank
Coordinates: 31°26′23″N 35°01′44″E / 31.43972°N 35.02889°E / 31.43972; 35.02889Coordinates: 31°26′23″N 35°01′44″E / 31.43972°N 35.02889°E / 31.43972; 35.02889
DistrictJudea and Samaria Area
CouncilHar Hebron
RegionWest Bank

Otniel (Hebrew: עָתְנִיאֵל‬) is a Jewish Orthodox Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the southern Judaean Mountains, south of Hebron, it falls under the jurisdiction of Har Hebron Regional Council. In 2017, it had a population of 1,003.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[2]


Otniel is named after Judge Otniel Ben Knaz.[3]


The settlement was established in 1983 south of Beit Hagai and north of Shim'a and the Palestinian village of as-Samu, Yatta, Hebron and ad-Dhahiriya. It is the location of the Yeshivat Otniel, a hesder yeshiva.


According to Or report[4] and the settlement website,[5] the settlement has :

  • pool
  • infirmary and a A family health center (Tipat Halev), in case of prolong treatment residents will receive treatment in Be'er Sheva[6]
  • Yad Sarah branch
  • Gan Trom Hova (nursery school up to age 3) Gan Hove (compulsory nursery school from age 3)
  • Regional school, elementary school and a Middle school
  • Tzarchania (small shop)
  • Synagogue
  • Library
  • Women and Man Mikveh

Status under international law[edit]

The international community considers Israeli settlements to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power's civilian population into occupied territory.[7] Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross.[8]

Arab-Israeli conflict[edit]

In December 2002, four students were killed and ten were wounded by Palestinian gunmen in a terrorist attack on the yeshiva. [9] [10] [11]

In November 2011, an Otniel resident, Rabbi Dan Mertzbach, was killed, and two women were wounded, when an Israel Defense Forces patrol, on alert for suspected militants, fired on their car as they drove to the Cave of the Patriarchs to pray in the early hours of the morning. [12]

In January 2016, a Palestinian entered the home of a woman and stabbed her to death in front of her three children. [13]

In July 2016, Michael Marc, a resident of Otniel, was killed and members of his family wounded in a drive-by shooting at Adorayim junction near Otniel and Hevron.[14] The shooter, Muhammad Faqih (aged 29) from Dura, was eventually taken down by the IDF and Shin Bet security forces in the early morning hours of 27 July 2016.[15]

Notable residents[edit]

  • Yehuda Glick (b. 1965), American-born Israeli rabbi and activist
  • Yakov Nagen (b. 1967), American-born Israeli rabbi and activist

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Otniel, a religious settlement in the central Har Hebron region". 29 August 2004. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ "עתניאל".
  5. ^ "הבית שלנו - ישוב עתניאל". otniel.org.il.
  6. ^ עתניאל. "מרפאה - ישוב עתניאל". otniel.org.il.
  7. ^ The settlers' struggle BBC News. 19 December 2003
  8. ^ Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Archived 2010-07-06 at the Wayback Machine International Court of Justice, 9 July 2004. pp. 44-45
  9. ^ Harel, Amos (17 September 2003). "IDF Kills Hebron-area Jihad Leader" – via Haaretz.
  10. ^ "Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs".
  11. ^ "JPost - "Four slain, 10 wounded in attack on Otniel yeshiva"".
  12. ^ "Soldier who mistakenly killed rabbi: I'm sorry".
  13. ^ "Woman killed in stabbing attack in her home in Otniel, terrorist at large".
  14. ^ "Father murdered in front of his children in Har Hevron shooting". Israel National News.
  15. ^ Yehoshua, Yossi (28 July 2016). "The Account was Settled" (in Hebrew). Yedioth Ahronoth. pp. 2–3.

External links[edit]

Media related to Otniel at Wikimedia Commons