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Mitzpe Revivim

Three Lookouts

The Three Lookouts (Shloshet HaMitzpim) – Revivim, Gvulot, and Beit Eshel  – were three Jewish settlements built in the Negev desert in 1943 ostensibly to conduct geological and hydrological surveys, but actually to gain a foothold on the land in outposts. The Negev desert was one of the areas where Jewish settlement and land purchase were prohibited by The British White Paper of 1939 and the 1940 Land Transfer Regulations.

Panorama at Mitzpe Revivim

Kibbutz Revivim was established on 7 July 1943 as one of the three lookouts, and was initially named Tel HaTzofim, later renamed Revivim (rain showers). They were given about 7000 acres, purchased in 1935 by the Keren Kayemet (JNF). For the seven years, Revivim was the southernmost Jewish settlement in Israel.

During the Israeli War of Independence, Revivim fell behind Egyptian lines for several months. Members of the kibbutz lived in underground bunkers. Food was supplied by air and land convoys.

The old dwellings of the first settlers in Revivim were reconstructed. Today Mitzpe Revivim stands near the kibbutz as a museum depicting the history of the “Lookout” observer points, Jewish settlement in the Negev, search for water in the Negev, and the events of the 1948 war in the northern Negev.

 

The Water Project at Mitzpe Revivim

Revivim discovered water at a depth of over 100 m and a tractor was modified to pump it out. A dam, the largest in the three lookouts at 1.2 m in height, was eventually built in Revivim and three large reservoirs were also built in Revivim. A single-minded engineer named Dov Kublanov tried to harness Nachal Mashabim. He created a fantastic water system. You can visit the little hut on the hill where he lived). The project included canals, dams, and a cistern lined with tar to the northwest. Time and the return of flooding waters destroyed the walls and the river channel and eventually the system was abandoned. The reservoirs drained away into the ground. It was clear that further settlement in the Negev would require alternative sources of water.

 

 

Model of Revivim Water Project
Model of Revivim Water Project

Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8 am-4:00 pm, Friday and eve of holidays 8 am-12 pm, and other times by appointment.

Directions: 1/2 hour south of Beer-Sheva on Route 40. Turn right at Mashabim Junction onto Route 222, then left to Retamim.

View the WWII Dakota C-47 and Piper Cub planes.

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