|Bethlehem of Galilee|
|Hebrew||בֵּית לֶחֶם הַגְּלִילִית|
|Founded|| 1906 (as a Templer colony)|
1948 (as a moshav)
Bethlehem of Galilee (Hebrew: בֵּית לֶחֶם הַגְּלִילִית, Beit Lehem HaGlilit; literally "the Galilean Bethlehem") is a semi-cooperative moshav in northern Israel. Located in the Galilee near Kiryat Tivon, around 10 kilometres north-west of Nazareth and 30 kilometres east of Haifa, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 651.
The hometown of the judge Ibzan, Bethlehem of Galilee was inhabited by Jews until some time after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. In the Jerusalem Talmud it is referred to as Beth Lehem Zoria, as it was part of the kingdom of Tyre at the time. During the Crusades, it was a small Christian town of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, later abandoned.
Due to its proximity to Nazareth, some historians believe that this is the Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Aviram Oshri, a senior archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, supports this claim. Until the late 19th century, ruins of a church and a synagogue could be seen there, and archeological findings show it was a prosperous city. Some scholars regard Bethlehem of Galilee as one of the birthplaces of Rabbinical Judaism.
In 1906 Templers from the German Colony in Haifa established a colony in the Galilee, naming it for the ancient city. Most Templers bore German citizenship. In 1932 the Nazi party won its first two members in Palestine, Karl Ruff and Walter Aberle from the Templer colony in Haifa. In the course of the 1930s Bethlehemites also joined the Nazi party, indicating the fading affinity to the Templers' original ideals. By August 1939, 17% of all Gentile Germans in Palestine were enrolled as member of the Nazi party. After the Nazi takeover in Germany the new Reich's government streamlined foreign policy according to Nazi ideals, using financial pressure especially. The Nazi emphasis was on creating the image, that Germany and Germanness are equal to Nazism, thus all non-Nazi aspectss of German culture and identity were discriminated against as un-German. All international schools of German language subsidised or fully financed by government funds were obliged to redraw their educational programmes and to solely employ teachers aligned to the Nazi party. The teachers in Bethlehem were financed by the Reich's government, so Nazi teachers took over there also. In 1933 Templer functionaries and other Gentile Germans living in Palestine appealed to Paul von Hindenburg and the Foreign Office not to use swastika symbols for German institutions, without success. Some German Gentiles from Palestine pleaded the Reich's government to drop its plan to boycott shops of Jewish Germans on April 1, 1933. Later the opposing Gentile Germans in Palestine acquiesed. A Palestinian branch of the Hitler youth was built up with the help of government subsidies. By 1935 the Nazis had succeeded in streamlining the municipal bodies of the settlements of Gentile Germans in Palestine. On August 20, 1939 the German government called on the Gentile German men of Palestine for recruitment in the Wehrmacht. 350 followed the call.
After the start of the Second World War, all Germans in Palestine turned into enemy aliens. The British authorities decided to intern most of the enemy aliens. For this purpose four settlements Sarona, Bethlehem (Galilee), Waldheim (today's Allonei Abba) and Wilhelma were converted into internment camps. Most enemy aliens living elsewhere in Palestine - comprising Gentile Germans, Hungarians and Italians - were interned in one of the settlements, while the inhabitants of the settlements simply stayed where they were. In summer 1941, 665 German internees, almost all young families with children, were released to Australia, where they could settle again. Many of the remaining Germans were either too old or too sick, to leave for Australia, while a second group did not want to go there. With the help of the interned Italians and Hungarians, the internees could maintain agricultural production, to feed themselves and supply surplus to general markets in return for supplies not available within the camps. In December 1941 and in the course of 1942 another 400 German internees, mostly wives and children of men who had followed the calls for recruitment, were released - via Turkey - to Germany for the purpose of family reunification.
In 1945 the Italian and Hungarian internees were released from Bethlehem and the other camps. But the Britons refused to repatriate the remaining German internees to the British zone in Germany, because the British zone was flooded with millions of war refugees and millions more post-war expellees from Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries. Also most of the internees did not want to go to Germany, because there was no chance to gain untilled land in Germany to settle again as farmers. In 1947 the British and Australian authorities agreed to allow the remaining German internees to emigrate to Australia. The end of the Mandate forced the hurrying of the resettlement, thus all the internees were first transferred to Cyprus, to a camp of simple tents near Famagusta. The internees of Bethlehem could leave the place safely. On April 17, 1948 armed Jewish Palestinians conquered the neighboured internment camp of Waldheim, killing two colonists and severely wounding a woman. By May 14, 1948, when Israel became independent, only about fify Gentile Germans, mostly elderly and sick persons, were living in the new state. They voluntarily left the country or were successively expelled by the government.
On 17 April 1948, the Haganah captured the village and it was resettled by Jewish farmers. Much of the original Templer architecture survives, and is similar in style to the homes built by the Templers in other parts of the country, such as Sarona in Tel Aviv, Wilhelma (today Bnei Atarot) and the German colonies of Haifa and Jerusalem.
In recent years, tourism has replaced agriculture as the main economic branch. A dairy, a herb farm, restaurants and country-style accommodation are among the tourist-oriented businesses in the village today.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Yet to be discovered: The Jezreel Valley Haaretz
- ↑ Ralf Balke, Hakenkreuz im Heiligen Land: Die NSDAP-Landesgruppe Palästina, Erfurt: Sutton, 2001, p. 41. ISBN 3-89702-304-0
- ↑ Paul Sauer,Vom Land um den Asperg im Namen Gottes nach Palästina und Australien: Die wechselvolle Geschichte der Tempelgesellschaft, lecture held on 20 October 1995 in Burgstetten on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Kirschenhardthof, printed as Schriftenreihe TG, No. 1 (1996), p. 17
- ↑ Ralf Balke, Hakenkreuz im Heiligen Land: Die NSDAP-Landesgruppe Palästina, Erfurt: Sutton, 2001, p. 81. ISBN 3-89702-304-0
- ↑ Jewish Germans living in Palestine had mostly given up their German citizenship or were successively denaturalised by the Nazi government. Anyway, even if they were still German citizens, the Britons did of course not regard them as potential supporters of Nazi Germany. All Jewish Germans living outside the extended Greater German Reich, still holding the German citizenship, were automatically denaturalised by an ordinance (Elfte Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz), decreed on 25 November 1941.
- ↑ Paul Sauer,Vom Land um den Asperg im Namen Gottes nach Palästina und Australien: Die wechselvolle Geschichte der Tempelgesellschaft, lecture held on 20 October 1995 in Burgstetten on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Kirschenhardthof, printed as Schriftenreihe TG, No. 1 (1996), pp. 18seqq.
- ↑ Paul Sauer,Vom Land um den Asperg im Namen Gottes nach Palästina und Australien: Die wechselvolle Geschichte der Tempelgesellschaft, lecture held on 20 October 1995 in Burgstetten on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Kirschenhardthof, printed as Schriftenreihe TG, No. 1 (1996), p. 19.
- ↑ Paul Sauer,Vom Land um den Asperg im Namen Gottes nach Palästina und Australien: Die wechselvolle Geschichte der Tempelgesellschaft, lecture held on 20 October 1995 in Burgstetten on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Kirschenhardthof, printed as Schriftenreihe TG, No. 1 (1996), p. 20.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Bethlehem of Galilee. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|