Gvulot (גְּבוּלוֹת) means “Borders”. This is a kibbutz in the north-western Negev desert. In 2019 it had a population of 358. Gvulot is located about 120 m above sea level. Mitzpe Gvulot had the first Mekorot water pipe that brought from the Galilee to the Negev, and the first reservoir on the Negev. There is a reconstruction of a unique water collecting system of Mekorot’s first water pipe which was built to supply water for agriculture and for the settlers’ daily needs.
The site is ideal for guided tours and offers a wide range of activities including mud construction, bread baking, plowing, and more. You can also visit a diamond processing plant on the kibbutz that operated here in the 50’s.
Among the various exhibits is a bakery which was built during the War of Independence which served as a regional bakery during the siege. Yeast supplies were dropped onto the outpost grounds by a light plane each day.
Another thing to see is the room in which residents hosted local Bedouin. This room served also as a clinic, where the local physician, Dr. Diamant, who lived among the settlers, would treat the local Bedouin. They would seek his services and even summon him to their tents to treat urgent cases. To this day there is a peg where a skirt would hang, so the women living at Mitzpe Gvulot, who normally wore shorts, could greet the Bedouin in more modest clothing.
The village was established on land owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) on 12 May 1943 by immigrants from Romania and Turkey, who were members of the “Kibbutz Eretz Israel Gimel” group of Hashomer Hatzair, with financial assistance from Keren Hayesod.
A scroll buried in the ground beneath the cornerstone of Gvulot’s first building read: “Negev, open wide the arms of your steppes, your vast expanses, to the land-thirsty, because today we come to you, to enter with you into a covenant of life and deed.”
Mitzpe Gvulot, the first lookout point in the Negev, is built entirely of mud bricks (adobe).
Initially named Mitzpe Gvulot (מִצְפֶּה גְּבוּלוֹת – Borders Lookout), it was the first of the three lookouts, the others being Beit Eshel and Revivim. Despite World War II, settlement efforts continue and KKL-JNF establishes three outposts in the Negev – Gvulot, Beit Eshel and Revivim. Mitzpe Gvulot is the first among three sites which were established in 1943 and symbolizes the beginning of settlement in the Negev.
It was the second modern Jewish settlement in the Negev and the first in the Gaza area. Its purpose was to guard JNF land, as well as to research the soil and climate of the region and assess their suitability for agriculture. It was recognised as a kibbutz in 1946.
Before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence the kibbutz was divided into two—a small cluster of families in its post-war location, and the rest in the nearby military base. During the war, the army base served the 8th Brigade. After the war, in 1949, all the residents moved to Gvulot’s present location, about 1.5 km south of the base.