YOTVATAH

YOTVATAH (Heb. יָטְבְתָה), kibbutz in southern Israel, in the Arabah Valley 26 mi. (40 km.) N. of Eilat, affiliated with Iḥud ha-Kevuẓot ve-ha-Kibbutzim. Yotvatah was founded in 1951 as a Naḥal\>\> outpost by Israel-born graduates of youth movements and later joined by pioneers from various countries. Nearby is the Yotvatah playa and one of the largest springs of the southern Arabah, from which the principal water supply was first drawn to Eilat. Situated at an isolated spot near the Jordanian frontier, Yotvatah suffered from frequent enemy attacks. In 2002 its population was 576. It developed methods for progressive oasis farming, producing mainly out-of-season vegetables and flowers, dates and other tropical fruit, etc. Yotvatah ran a dairy for pasteurized milk products, but also sold other products, such as fruit juices. In 1998 part of the dairy was sold to the Straus company, a large family-owned food enterprise. The kibbutz experimented with hydroponics and was active in regional nature research. It set up a small wildlife reserve. The name Yotvatah is biblical (Jotbath; Num. 33:33; Deut. 10:7). See also: Jotbath, Jothbatah\>\> . (Efraim Orni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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