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The town's main restored street
|Name meaning||Jacob's Memorial|
|Also spelled|| Zikhron Ya'aqov (officially)
Zichron Yaakov (unofficially)
|Area||32129 dunams (32.129 km2; 12.405 sq mi)|
|Head of municipality||Eli Abutbul|
Zikhron Ya'akov (Hebrew: זִכְרוֹן יַעֲקֹב, lit. "Jacob's Memorial"; often shortened to just Zikhron) is a town in Israel, 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Haifa, and part of the Haifa District. It is located at the southern end of the Carmel mountain range overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, near the coastal highway (Highway 2). It was one of the first Jewish settlements of Halutzim in the country, founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild and named in honor of his father.
Zikhron Ya'akov was founded in December 1882 when 100 Jewish pioneers from Romania, members of the Hovevei Zion movement, purchased land in Zammarin. The difficulty of working the rocky soil and an outbreak of malaria led many of the settlers to leave before the year was up.
In 1883, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild became the patron of the settlement and drew up plans for its residential layout and agricultural economy. Zikhron was one of the first Jewish agricultural colonies to come under the wing of the Baron (along with Rishon LeZion and Rosh Pina), who renamed it in memory of his father, James (Ya'akov) Mayer de Rothschild.
To accomplish his first objective, Baron de Rothschild brought in planners who designed and allotted housing lots along the main road for the use of settlement farmers. Each lot included a house facing the street, a long interior courtyard and a rear building for storing agricultural implements. The French-inspired architecture included tiled roofs and painted wooden windows. Each farmer was given a salary and placed under the direction of Elijah Shaid, the Baron's clerk. The Baron also commissioned the construction of the magnificent Ohel Ya'akov Synagogue, named after his father, to serve the town. Sparing no expense to build the edifice, the synagogue features a majestic ark made of white marble. The synagogue opened in 1886 and has conducted daily prayer services continuously to this day.
Following a number of economic failures, in 1885 Rothschild helped to establish the first winery in Israel, Carmel Winery, together with a bottling factory, in Zikhron Ya'akov. This was more successful economically although it was initially short-lived as in 1892 the grapevines succumbed to phylloxera, a type of parasite. After a brief set-back, American seedlings which were resistant to phylloxera were grown and the winery began to flourish. Today, the winery remains in action, as do the huge wine cellars that were carved into the mountain over a century ago.
Nili spy ring
Zikhron Ya'akov came to fame during World War I for the establishment of the Nili spy ring by Sarah Aaronsohn, together with her brothers, Aaron (a noted botanist) and Alex, and their friend Avshalom Feinberg. The group volunteered to spy on Ottoman positions and report them to British agents offshore. In September 1917, the Ottomans caught one of Sarah's carrier pigeons and cracked the Nili code. In October, they surrounded Zikhron Ya'akov and arrested Sarah and several others. After four days of torture,they planned on transporting Sara elsewhere, she requested to be taken home to change her clothes and shot herself with a pistol hidden in her bathroom and died after several days. The Aaronsohn House–Nili Museum recreates the history of this period.
In the late 1930s and 1940s, Zikhron Ya'akov became a holiday resort. The population increased dramatically in the early 1950s, after the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1954, the remains of Baron Edmond de Rothschild were reinterred in Zikhron Ya'akov. Between the 1960s and 1990s, the population remained constant with about 5,000 inhabitants.
Zikhron Ya'akov today
In 2008, the population of Zikhron Ya'akov was 18,100. Many residents continue to engage in agriculture, although upscale private homes have been built by families attracted to the scenic landscape. There is a sizable religious Jewish community in the town, including ultra-orthodox members of the Ohr Yaakov Yeshiva of Jerusalem and members of a Chabad-Lubavitch community. A recent addition is Kehillat Sulam Ya'akov (Jacob’s Ladder), a Reform Jewish congregation “without walls” (i.e. without its own building so far) that emphasizes “Experiential Judaism” by providing an insight into Judaism through artistic activity and nature.
Zichron Ya'akov also has one of the highest percentages of English speaking olim in Israel, at 15% of the towns population.
The original Carmel-Mizrahi Winery continues to make wine in Zikhron Yaakov. The town draws many tourists attracted to its picturesque setting and historic city center whose restored main street of landmark buildings, called Derekh HaYayin ("Path of the Wine"), houses coffeehouses and boutique shops selling locally-made crafts, jewellery, and antiques. It was announced in early 2008 that a 150-acre wine park would be created on the slopes between Zikhron and neighboring town, Binyamina.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Zichron Yaakov". http://ohr.edu/tw/weinbach/loveland/lland092.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Gems in Israel-Zichron Ya'acov". Gems in Israel. http://www.gemsinisrael.com/e_article000004384.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- ↑ "Kehillat Sulam Ya'akov: A Progressive Congregation". KBY (Congregations Together). 2009-12-12. http://kbyonline.org/sulamyaakov/. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
- ↑ "Israel seeks to become wine tourism destination". Globes. 2008-01-17. http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/DocView.asp?did=1000299213&fid=1725. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Zichron Yaacov|
- History of Zikhron Ya'aqov
- Places To Visit in Zikhron Ya'akov (English)
- Photos of Restoration of Historic Zikhron Ya'aqov Project
- Photo gallery by Benny Rochwerger