ADULAM REGION

ADULLAM REGION (Heb. חֶבֶל עֲדֻלָּם), settlement region in southern Israel, N.W. and W. of the Hebron Hills, comprising over 100,000 dunams (25,000 acres). Geographically, it belongs partly to the Judean Hills and partly to the Shephelah. The name was chosen because the assumed site of ancient adullam lies in the center of this region. After the principle of comprehensive regional planning had been adopted by the relevant authorities in the mid-1950s, the area was first included in the lachish region (which eventually became the prototype of all such planning). After 1957, however, the Adullam Region was treated as a separate area, as conditions there were much more difficult and land reclamation had to precede all settlement activity. The Jewish National Fund, therefore, assumed responsibility for the first stage of the urgent development of this border region. In the project, three clusters of villages were arranged around the "rural centers" of Ẓur Hadassah in the northeast, Neveh Mikha'el in the center, and Li-On (later renamed Sarigim) in the southwest. New villages were founded in the framework of the regional plan (e.g., Avi'ezer, Roglit (later united with Neveh Mikha'el), Adderet, Givat Yeshayahu, Ẓafririm), and earlier settlements in adjoining areas (e.g., Netiv ha-Lamed He, Bet Guvrin, Mevo Beitar, Matta, Bar Giora, and Neḥushah) were included in the project. Farming land was reclaimed by terracing and stone clearing, and by drainage of soil in small valleys. The water supply was greatly improved by drilling of deep wells in and near the region. The actual development of villages and their farming branches was carried out by the Jewish Agency's Agricultural Settlement Department. In the higher northeastern part of the region with its limestone rocks, terra rossa soils, and its cool and relatively wet climate, deciduous fruit and grapevines became important factors in the local economy, and poultry breeding constituted a main source of income. In the lower southwest parts with their broader valleys and deeper rendzina or alluvial soils, the economy was based on field crops (wheat, cotton, sunflowers, sorghum, etc.) as well as tobacco, vegetables, sheep, and cattle. In 1968 a road was built connecting Neveh Mikha'el with the reestablished Gush Eẓyon bloc. At the beginning of the 21st century the region included 16 moshavim, a kibbutz, and two rural communities, reaching a population of approximately 8,000. The economy of the region developed to include wine and olive oil production, citrus groves, fruit orchards, cotton, and flowers. In addition to farming, many of the settlers earned their livelihoods in the tourist industry. (Efraim Orni / Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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