The Golan Heights, Israel
Now there are many Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights. These
settlements were all built up between the end of the Six Day War of 1967 and
There were also Jewish settlements in the Golan at the end of the nineteenth
century and the beginning of the twentieth century.
In about 1886-1890 Jews from Safed,
accompanied by Jews from Tiberius, decided to build a settlement on the Golan. In
1886 the B'nei Yehuda Society
of Safed purchased a plot of land on the Golan
Heights. There were notices about this purchase in Hebrew newspapers at the
time: HaModea, HaTefira and HaMelitz.
The land was acquired through the charity of Jewish communities from all
over the world (particularly from Eastern Europe) together with that of Baron Rothchild. The
Jews of Cherkassy also contributed to this charity. These contributions
were made according to the means of the giver.
A Jewish community, by the name of Ramtaniya, was founded on the
Golan. This Zionist settlement was about
kilometers north of the present-day religious moshav
of Keshet (33° 1' 10'' N latitude, 35° 48' 26'' E longitude).
Unfortunately, the settlement of Ramtaniya lasted only a year.
In 1887, the land of the Bedouin village of Bir Ashkum was purchased. This land is located
between the present-day settlements of Bnei Yehuda and Ein Gev. The Bnei Yehuda members held on to the land with determination,
until the last two settlers were murdered in the Arab riots of 1920, bringing
an end to the settlement. In 1891, Baron Rothschild purchased some 18,000 acres
in eastern Golan (approximately fifteen kilometers east of present-day Ramat Magshimim).
At the start of the twentieth century, First Aliyah
immigrants settled in the Horan lands (just east of the Golan), and established
five settlements; they were evicted by the Turks in 1898. Following the
eviction, the land was managed as farms by the Palestine Colonization
Association (PCA) and the Israel Colonization Association
(ICA) until it was seized by the Syrian government. Most of the Golan Heights was included within Mandatory
Palestine when the Mandate was formally granted in 1922, but Britain
ceded the area to France in the Franco-British Agreement of 7 March 1923. The
Heights became part of Syria upon the termination of the French mandate in
In light of the Golan's Jewish history, Zionist organizations
demanded that the Golan be included within the borders of the Jewish National
Home. This did not happen until the Golan Heights was liberated on 10 June
1967, the last day of the Six Day War.
Our eldest daughter, Idit, named after my Cherkassy-born Grandmother, lives
which is in this area.
The Yearning (Desire) for
Jewish Settlement on the Eastern Bank of the Jordon 1871-1947 by Zvi Ilan deals with this