YeḤI'AM

YEḤI'AM (Heb. יְחִיעָם), kibbutz in northern Israel, 7 mi. (12 km.) E. of Nahariyyah, affiliated with Kibbutz Arẓi, ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir. Yeḥi'am was founded by pioneers from Hungary and Israel-born youth in 1946, at a time of maximum tension between the yishuv and Mandatory authorities. Its establishment in the brush-covered mountain terrain near the crusader castle ruin Jūdīn was valued as a step of political importance. In the war of independence , the isolated kibbutz held out against overwhelming odds using the castle as a fort. A convoy of 47 men to reinforce Yeḥi'am was ambushed and wiped out near kabri (March 28, 1948). The siege was lifted in May 1948. The front lines finally receded from Yeḥi'am with Operation Ḥiram (October) which cleared all of Galilee. In 1970 Yeḥi'am had 415 inhabitants, dropping to 362 in 2002. Its economy was based on citrus groves, plantations, and poultry. The kibbutz also produced meat products and operated guest rooms. The name commemorates Yeḥi'am Weitz, who fell with 13 comrades on June 17, 1946, in an action to blast the Achzib bridge (gesher ha-ziv ). (Efraim Orni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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