11 communities were established virtually overnight with funding from Keren Hayesod
October 2016 marks 70 years since a daring and ambitious plan was carried out just after Yom Kippur in 1946 with the financial support of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, establish a string of new Jewish kibbutz and moshav collective communities in the northern Negev desert.
The plan literally shaped the map of the future State of Israel, which came into existence less than two years later.
Known as the Eleven Points plan, it was the Jewish Agency’s response to an international proposal known as Morrison-Grady, that had recommended that the Negev be excluded from the territory of a self-governing Jewish province that was being proposed. Instead, the area was to remain under British rule.
In response, at the least likely time imaginable - at the end of the Yom Kippur fast - on the night of October 5 to 6, eleven communities were established virtually overnight with funding from Keren Hayesod, establishing a Jewish presence in the northern Negev points and further north towards Tel Aviv on land that had been purchased. Homes were built, water lines laid and people moved in.
When the United Nations voted the following year in favor of the creation of a Jewish state, the western Negev was included in the territory of the Jewish state, helping shape the map of the country to this day. The eleven communities are as follows: Nirim, Be’eri, Gal On, Hatzerim, Kfar Darom, Kibbutz Urim, Nevatim, Kedma, Mishmar Hanegev, Tekuma and Shoval.
Special thanks to the Central Zionist Archives and to the Government Press Office.