THE VILLAGES (HATZERIM) THAT KEDAR DOTH INHABIT (Isaaih 42:11)
HATZERIM in the Bible: Permanent dwellings.
Inhabited villags, enclosed by stone walls,
Providing protection for man and animal.
HATZERIM in ancient Ugaitic: Coral.
HATZERIM in Arabic: Permanent Settlement.
At the beginning of the Jewish year of 5757, in September 1996, on the evening followung Yom Kippur, Kibbutz Hatzerim celebrated the 50h anniersary of the settling of small group (hed. Gar`in) of graduates of Israel Scout Movement in the northern Negev, on a piece of land then known in Arabic as Kelta.
Hatzerim is located about 6 km west of Beer Sheva, in a relatively arid area with an average annual rainfall of about 180 mm. There are many years of drought, when rainfall doesn`t even reach 100 mm.
The young group of Girl and Bog Scouts (Tzofim Gimel, asthey were called in Hebrew.) Stayed at that time at two Kibbutzim located at the Jordan valley, Degania Aleph and Afikim. There they joined with a peer group of young immigrant refugees who had come to Israel by way of Iram and hus known as `The Children of Teheran`, in order to serve together in the prestigious Palmach unit of the Anti-British Hagana underground forces. They all received agricltural as well as military training.
As was the custom in those pre-state days, our united group inteended to work in one of the small towns (hed Moshavot) and await our turn to receive land on which to settle. The events of those day , the publication of the British `White Paper` restricting Jewish acquisition and settlement of land and the struggle of the Yishuv, (the Jewish community of per state Palestine) being then at its peak changed our plans; just as we were making our final plans to leave the Jordan Valley, we were told that we would be of eleven groups targeted to settle immediately at one of the strategic points in the Negev.
Five young women and 25 young men comprised the original gar`in. The enthusiasm was high and didn`t drop even when we discovered at day break that our new home was simply a barren hill in the heart of an expansive dasert area with only a single acacia tree to be seen against the horizon.
During the first year we worked at various jobs outside of our settlement, the most important of which was the laying of a weter line (a 6 inch pipe) from the area of Gvar`am nir am, two Kibbutzim about sixty km. North of us, along public roads and drip paths to Hatzerim. Within a year of our arrival we received our first water supply and immediately began to prepare the land for irrigation. The water in the pipes brought us joy, but our future in agriculture was still uncertain as all we had were 600 dunams (150 acres) of cultivatable land.
Our first attempts to use the water for agriculture were cruhed when the U.N. Resolution (November 29th 1947) calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in part of Paletine brought about a wave of Arab rioting and terror, one of the first events being the cutting off of the pipeline carrying water to the Negev settlements. We remained without water until the end of the war of Independence. We nevertheless realized that our settlement served an important political purpose, for it brought about the recommendation of the United Nation to include the northern Negev, i.e. the entire area south and west of Hahzerim within the future Jewish Satate, close to Arab Beer-Sheva.
During the War of Independence, we were an outpost settlement defending ourselves and serving as a springboard for the conquset of Beer-Sheva and later for the liberaation of the entire southern Negev.