Ariel (city) - History


At the beginning of 1978, a group of Israelis formed in order find a location in the hills of the northern part of the West Bank to create a new residential area. The group made a formal request to the government to be given land to build a new community and were given three options by the army; the area near the 'lone tree' which would later become Barkan, the area which would later become Kfar Tapuach, and a hill near Kifl Hares that was known to the local Arabs as ' Jabel Mawat', the hill of death, because of inhospitable terrain.

The leader of this group, Ron Nachman, chose the spot because of its strategic location on a possible Jordanian invasion route towards Israel's main population centre of Tel Aviv. In the spring of 1978, some of the group's men erected tents on the chosen hilltop, and in August 1978, a total of forty families came to live.

The original members of the group had gone through a screening process in order to put together a proper quality mix of skilled adults as well as young families that would be prepared psychologically to withstand starting a new settlement from scratch with little infrastructure and modern comforts. There were no paved roads or paths. Water was supplied periodically by a tanker truck. Electricity was provided by a generator since no electrical network existed in that area. Tents were replaced by prefabricated concrete blocks which served as living quarters, schools, and an infirmary. On September 1, 1978 the school year was officially opened.

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