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Tzova is located in Jerusalem
Coordinates: 31°47′3″N 35°7′11″E / 31.78417°N 35.11972°E / 31.78417; 35.11972Coordinates: 31°47′3″N 35°7′11″E / 31.78417°N 35.11972°E / 31.78417; 35.11972
CouncilMateh Yehuda
AffiliationKibbutz Movement
Founded1000 BCE (Tel Tzova)
1170 (Crusader fortress)
1187 (Suba, Jerusalem)
1948 (Israeli kibbutz)
Founded byFormer Palmach soldiers
The kibbutz - view from Suba
The kibbutz dining hall

Tzova (Hebrew: צוֹבָה), also Palmach Tzova (Hebrew: פלמ"ח צובה) or Tzuba is a kibbutz in central Israel. Located in the Judean Hills, on the western outskirts of Jerusalem, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council. In 2019 it had a population of 625.[1]

In the Bible[edit]

The nearby Tel Tzova was the site of an ancient town in the days of David[2] and perhaps of Saul.[3] The Septuagint at Joshua 15:59 gives a list of eleven towns in Judaea, which is missing in the Masoretic text.[4] One of them is given as Σωρης ("Sōrēs") in most manuscripts but as Εωβης ("Eobes") in the Codex Vaticanus.[5] This has led to the suggestion that the original was Σωβης ("Sōbēs"), and that Tsova can thus be dated back to the time of Joshua Bin-Nun, based on this verse in the Septuagint.[6]

The kibbutz's name is also similar to, and is related to that of the nearby and depopulated Palestinian village of Suba.


Crusader period[edit]

In 1170, a Crusader fortress, Belmont, was built on Tel Tzova to guard the route to Jerusalem. Belmont was conquered by Saladin in 1191.

1947–49 war[edit]

The Palestinian village of Suba, built on the ruins of Belmont Castle, was the scene of fierce fighting during the 1947–1949 Palestine war due to its strategic location overlooking the road to Jerusalem. In late 1947 and early 1948, irregular forces and militiamen stationed in Suba attacked Jewish traffic on the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.[7] The village was conquered by the Palmach during the night of July 12–13 as part of Operation Danny. Most of the inhabitants fled before the fighting, with the brigades involved in Operation Danny ordered to prevent their return.[8] Most moved to Kalandia or Amman, Jordan, although some moved only 1 km away to the nearby village of Ein Rafa – where they and their descendants live to this day as Israeli citizens.[9]

A Harel Brigade lookout post at Tzova in 1948

In October 1948 a group of Palmach veterans established Kibbutz Misgav Palmach 1 km south of Suba, which was later renamed Palmach Tzova.[10]


The kibbutz's main income comes from its glass factory: Oran Safety Glass (OSG), which produces laminated, tempered and bulletproof security glass.[11] It was reported that OSG has begun "manufacturing a bullet-resistant windshield with a touch screen embedded in it" and that the "screen is connected to the vehicle’s multimedia system, so it may be used to display maps, live feeds from the day or night vision cameras mounted on the vehicle, and other video options".[12]

There is also a hotel overlooking the Jerusalem Hills, a children's amusement park ("Kiftzuba"), orchards, vineyards, a winery and a chocolate workshop. The kibbutz also hosts a residential Hebrew language ulpan.[13] Other sources of income – located away from the kibbutz – are the dairy farm (located in kibbutz Tzora) and cotton fields. As the kibbutz is based on socialist principles, the salaries of kibbutz members who work independently in the city are automatically paid into the communal purse.[citation needed]

Kibbutz Tzova is the current location of URJ Heller High, the Union for Reform Judaism's study abroad high school in Israel.[citation needed]


The "Cave of Saint John the Baptist"[edit]

In 1999, a cave believed to have been the cave of John the Baptist was discovered by Reuven Kalifon during archaeological excavations in the area of the kibbutz orchards, not far from Ein Karem, St. John's traditional birthplace.[14]

In the 4th and 5th century CE, the cave was sanctified and used by Byzantine monks as a Christian holy place. On its walls are some of the earliest drawings known in local Christian art.[14]

Structures outside the cave date to the Hellenistic period (2nd century BCE) and indicate that the cave was used as both a water reservoir and a place for bathing. Water was collected from the valley and channeled into the cave via a water-filtering basin. A sluice allowed some of the water to be channeled from the filtering basin into the fields.[14]

Archaeologists discovered a flight of 7 steps leading to an underground, man-made rectangular pool of water. Thousands of pottery shards, possibly the remnants of small water jugs used in the baptismal ritual, were found at the site. [14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ 2 Samuel 23:36
  3. ^ 1 Samuel 14:47, according to some authors. See R.P. Harper and D. Pringle (1988). "Belmont Castle: A Historical Notice and Preliminary Report of Excavations in 1986". Levant. doi:10.1179/lev.1988.20.1.101.
  4. ^ Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia footnote at this verse. See Joshua 15:59, which gives the Septuagint as well as other translations. The Septuagint has an extra list of 11 towns.
  5. ^ Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia footnote, showing that the Vaticanus has Ε instead of the similar-looking Σ, and has β instead of ρ.
  6. ^ R.P. Harper and D. Pringle (1988). "Belmont Castle: A Historical Notice and Preliminary Report of Excavations in 1986". Levant. doi:10.1179/lev.1988.20.1.101.
  7. ^ Morris, B. (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
  8. ^ Morris, p 436
  9. ^ M.S.M. Rumman (2000) Suba - Remembering a Village in the Jerusalem Area
  10. ^ Khalidi, W. (1992), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, ISBN 0887282245
  11. ^ Search for the Sacred; in Israel, Archeology Fuels Believers' Passions and Provokes Skeptics in a Sharp Debate without End Newsweek, 30 August 2004
  12. ^ "The Future is Here: A Touch-Screen Bullet-Resistant Windshield". 7 July 2015.
  13. ^ Ulpan List Kibbutz Ulpan
  14. ^ a b c d Cave called John the Baptist BICOG

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tzova at Wikimedia Commons