Beit Oren

Beit Oren

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Beit Oren is a kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 in northern Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. It falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council
Hof HaCarmel Regional Council
Hof HaCarmel Regional Council is a regional council located in the northern Israeli coastal plain. The council serves a large area, from Tirat HaCarmel in the north to Caesarea in the south. Its offices are located in Ein HaCarmel to the south of Haifa. The Chairman of the council is Carmel Sela...

.

Geography


Kibbutz Beit Oren is located in the heart of Carmel mountain range, right next to the Carmel Nature Reserve national park, an area often called "little Switzerland".

History


In 1934 a single Arab house stood on the site of what is today Beit Oren. It was purchased with the surrounding lands, settled by a group of 15 Jewish workers, and served as a watch tower and camp. The workers intended to build a city and name it Yaarot HaCarmel, but a number were killed when the site was attacked during the 1936 Arab Revolt.

Kibbutz Beit Oren was founded in 1939 by immigrants from Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, part of the Hebrew Socialist Youth movement. Over time these were joined by other groups from Dror and Aliyat HaNoar, as well as by a group from Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael
Ma'agan Michael
Ma'agan Michael is a kibbutz in Israel. It is currently the largest kibbutz in the country, with a population of over 1,400 residents , and falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.-Geography:...

.

Prior to Israel's independence, the kibbutz served the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 as a Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

 base for underground activities against the British. On 9 October 1945, a Palmach unit set out from Beit Oren to free 208 illegal immigrants detained at the Atlit detainee camp
Atlit detainee camp
The Atlit detainee camp was a detention camp established by the British at the end of the 1930s on what is now Israel's northern coast south of Haifa. The camp was established to prevent Jewish refugees, mainly Holocaust survivors, from entering then-Palestine...

. After overcoming the guards, the freed immigrants were led past Beit Oren to Kibbutz Yagur
Yagur
Yagur is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located on the slopes of Mount Carmel about 9 km southeast of Haifa, it is one of the two largest kibbutzim in the country, with a population of 1,124 in 2008. It falls under the jurisdiction of Zevulun Regional Council....

, where they were hidden from the British. The attack was the first anti-British action undertaken by the Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

.

During the 1980s Beit Oren went practically bankrupt, leaving the senior members without any income or means of subsistence, in a great deal of debt and with commitments for which they had no way to cover. The kibbutz movement stopped financial support to the kibbutz, then in severe economic and social crisis, and suggested that veteran members leave. The United Kibbutz Movement allowed a group of young individuals to change the kibbutz fundamentally. In 1999, eight members of Beit Oren, applied to the High Court of Justice, to order the registrar of cooperative societies, to abolish the classification of Beit Oren as a kibbutz and classify it as a different kind of cooperative society. It later underwent privatization, shifting from a kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 to a community village.

2010 forest fire



By 2010, Beit Oren had about 200 members. On December 2, 2010, it suffered extensive damage in the 2010 Israel forest fire. Parts of the kibbutz were destroyed by the fire, though the inhabitants had been evacuated to safety.

Economics


The community operated a hotel and a horse riding centre. Other sources of revenue in the community included a lead factory with an on-site glass work shop. The kibbutz also featured an extensive, privately owned events venue that formerly served as its community dining hall. Beit Oren's large outdoor membership-based swimming pool also manages to attract large amounts of people from Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

and surrounding communities. In addition, the kibbutz also features a locally owned pub with live bands and a professional mountain-bike store offering new bike models, bike repairs and modification as well as guided trips within the Carmel mountain range.

Attractions


Khirbet Oren (Shalale) is an ancient city in the center of Mount Carmel, on a steep hill overlooking Oren valley. There are few remains at the site indicating that the city flourished during Hellenistic and Roman times. Canaanite findings (25th-10th centuries BC) have also been found in the area.