Ma'abarot

Ma'abarot

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The Ma'abarot were refugee absorption camps
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

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

 in the 1950s. The Ma'abarot were meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Olim
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

(Jewish immigrants) arriving to the newly independent State of Israel, replacing the less habitable immigrant camps
Immigrant camps (Israel)
The Immigrant camps in Israel were temporary refugee absorption camps, meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Olim arriving to Mandatory Palestine and later the independent State of Israel, since early 1947...

 or tent cities. The ma'abarot began to decline by mid 1950s and were largely transformed into Development Town
Development town
Development town is a term used to refer to the new settlements that were built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing to a large influx of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and new immigrants , who arrived to the newly established State...

s. The last Ma'abara was closed in 1963.

Term origin


The Hebrew word Ma'abara (singular) derives from the word ma'avar . Ma'abarot (plural) were meant to be temporary communities for the new arrivals. Immigrants housed in these communities were Jewish refugees
Jewish refugees
In the course of history, Jewish populations have been expelled or ostracised by various local authorities and have sought asylum from antisemitism numerous times...

 mainly from Middle East and North Africa, as well as Holocaust survivors from Europe.

Immigrant camps


The sudden arrival of over 130,000 Iraqi Jews in Israel in the early 1950s meant that almost a third of immigrant camp
Immigrant camps (Israel)
The Immigrant camps in Israel were temporary refugee absorption camps, meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Olim arriving to Mandatory Palestine and later the independent State of Israel, since early 1947...

 dwellers were of Iraqi Jewish origin. At the end of 1949 there had been 90,000 Jews housed in immigration camps; by the end of 1951 this population rose to over 220,000 people, in about 125 separate communities.

Convertion of tent camps into transition camps



More habitable housing had been provided to replace the tents of the immigrant camps, and the camps were renamed into "transition camps", or "ma'abarot". Most of ma'abarot residents were housed in temporary tin dwellings. Over 80% of the residents were Jewish refugees from across Arab and Muslim countries in Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

.

Dissolution of the camps



Over time, the Ma'abarot metamorphosed into Israeli towns, or were absorbed as neighbourhoods of the towns they were attached to, and residents were provided with permanent housing. The number of people housed in Ma'abarot began to decline since 1952, and the last Ma'abarot were closed sometime around 1963. Most of the camps tranformed into Development Town
Development town
Development town is a term used to refer to the new settlements that were built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing to a large influx of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and new immigrants , who arrived to the newly established State...

s - "Ayarat Pitu'ach". Ma'abarot which became towns include Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona is a city located in the North District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley on the Lebanese border. The city was named for the eight people, including Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 defending Tel Hai....

, Sderot
Sderot
Sderot is a western Negev city in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 20,700. The city has been an ongoing target of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip...

, Beit She'an, Yokneam, Or Yehuda
Or Yehuda
Or Yehuda is a city in the Tel Aviv District in Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , the city had a population of 32,200 at the end of 2007.-History:Or Yehuda is located where the biblical city of Kefar Ono used to stand....

 and Migdal HaEmek.

Conditions


Most of ma'abarot residents were housed in temporary tin dwellings. Conditions in the Ma'abarot were very harsh, with many people sharing sanitation facilities. In one community it was reported that there were 350 people to each shower and in another 56 to each toilet.

Unlike the situation in immigrant camps, where the Jewish Agency provided for the immigrants, the residents of the transition camps were required to provide for themselves.

Films about Ma'abarot camps


Israeli satirist, Ephraim Kishon
Ephraim Kishon
' was an Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and film director. He is one of the most widely-read contemporary satirists in the world.- Early life and World War II :...

 produced a satirical film about the Ma'abarot called Sallah Shabbati. The film was nominated for an academy award and is regarded as an Israeli classic.