For other places of the same name, see Kalia.
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Founded 1930s (original)
1968 (current)
Founded by Dead Sea Works employees
Region Dead Sea
Affiliation Kibbutz Movement
Coordinates 31°44′55.11″N 35°27′58.42″E / 31.7486417°N 35.4662278°E / 31.7486417; 35.4662278Coordinates: 31°44′55.11″N 35°27′58.42″E / 31.7486417°N 35.4662278°E / 31.7486417; 35.4662278

Kalya (Hebrew: קַלְיָה‎) is a kibbutz established in 1929 on the northern shore of the Dead Sea, 360 meters below sea level.[1]It was occupied and destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948 and rebuilt in 1968, after the Six-Day War. Today it is located in the West Bank and considered an Israeli settlement.


The name Kalya is derived from kalium, the Latin name for potassium, a chemical found in abundance in the region. Kalya is also a Hebrew acronym for "קם לתחייה ים המוות" (Kam Litkhiya Yam HaMavet), literally, the Dead Sea has returned to life.[1]


The kibbutz was first established during the Mandate era. Moshe Novomeysky, a Jewish engineer from Siberia, won the British government tender for potash mining on the Dead Sea's northern shore, the marshland surrounding the plant was drained and housing was built to accommodate employees of the Palestine Potash Company. The company, chartered in 1929, set up its first plant on the north shore of the Dead Sea at Kalia and produced potash, or potassium chloride, by solar evaporation of the brine. It employed both Arabs and Jews. [2]

Kalya was spared violence in the 1936-1939 Arab rioting due to good relations with the Arabs; the plant employed many Arab laborers from Jericho. Despite negotiations between the kibbutz leadership and Jordan's Arab Legion to preserve the kibbutz under Jordanian control at the time of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the imprisonment of Jews in the Jordanian-held Naharayim complex and the Kfar Etzion massacre led David Ben-Gurion to call for the residents' evacuation and their consolidation in the southern Dead Sea. Residents ultimately fled by boat on 20 May 1948, and the two kibbutzim were destroyed by the Jordanians. The area remained unpopulated save a Jordanian military camp.

Following Israel's capture of the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, Kalya was re-established as a paramilitary Nahal settlement in 1968, the first in the area. Civilians temporarily settled in the deserted Jordanian army camp in 1972 while planting the first date trees and building their permanent settlement houses. They moved to their permanent houses in 1974.


Kalya has a population of 300 and depends mainly on agriculture. In addition to its date palm plantations, dairy, watermelons and cherry tomatoes. The kibbutz runs the Nature and Parks Authority visitor's centre of the nearby Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. At one time, the kibbutz operated a water park.

The kibbutz serves as a rest stop between Jerusalem and Ein Gedi due to its proximity to the Beit HaArava Junction between Highway 90 and Highway 1.


External links


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