- For other places of the same name, see Kalia.
Kalia (קלי"ה) is a kibbutz and Israeli settlement located on the Judean Desert's edge, along the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank, within the Jordan Rift Valley. The community is administered by the Megilot Dead Sea Regional Council.
Etymology of the Name
The name Kalia
derives from the Latin
for the chemical element
, a name by which the area was long known due to the soil's high Potassium content, and which was used by the company originally founded to develop the area. Upon the Kibbutz's establishment, a backronym
of the phrase "Rise Up to Life, Sea of Death," (Hebrew: קם לתחייה ים המוות, Kam Litkhiya Yam HaMet
), referring to the Dead Sea, was coined.
The kibbutz was first established during the Mandate era
. Following Moshe Novomeysky
winning the British government tender
mining on the Dead Sea's north shore, the marshland surrounding the plant was drained and named Kalia
. Along with the adjacent Beit HaArava
, the kibbutz was established despite the restrictions on Jewish
settlement in the British 1939 White Paper
because it housed staff for the Novomeysky's Palestine Potash Company
Kalia was spared violence in the 1936-1939 Arab rioting due to good relations with nearby Arabs; the plant employed many Arab labourers 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
, Kalia 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 dates trees and building their permanent settlement houses. They moved to their permanent houses in 1974.
The kibbutz has 300 residents and its main income is from agriculture
, especially the renowned Kalia date Palm
, watermelons and cherry tomatoes
, as well as tourism
for the nearby Essene Qumran
Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls
were found. The kibbutz also functions as a rest stop
and Ein Gedi
due to its proximity to the Beit HaArava Junction
between Highway 90
and Highway 1