Yehiam (Hebrew: יְחִיעָם) founded on November 26, 1946, is a Kibbutz located in the western Upper Galilee region of Israel - about 10
miles due east of the coastal town of Nahariya and five miles south of the border with Lebanon. Yehiam is located some 400 meteres
above sea level, and is under the jurisdiction of the Matte Asher Regional Council.
It features the ruins of a castle, atop a prominent hill, that is said to date from the time of the Crusades at the 12th century. The
fortress has been under comprehensive overhaul during the 18th century, made by Dhaher al-Omar, and was occupied later on by Bedouin
tribes when it was called Khirbat Jiddin, and then by the defenders of the new Kibbutz.
Yehiam was founded by members of the Zionist-socialist Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, and was named after Yehiam Weitz, son of
zionist leader Yosef Weitz. Yehiam was a Palmach member who was killed at the "Night of the Bridges", Palmach operation of June 16 and
June 17, 1946. The local British authorities assisted in the kibbutz establishment, despite it being against British policy. The
1947 UN Partition Plan put Yehiam within the limits of the Arab state rather than the Jewish one. However, the siege of the Galilee saw
Yehiam taken by Jewish forces during Operation Hiram in 1948. On March 27, 1948, a Haganah convoy was sent to reinforce the kibbutz
which had been holding out against constant Arab attacks. The Yehiam convoy was ambushed near Kabri and 47 soldiers were killed.
Yehiam was initially called Kibbutz HaSela (lit. The Rock). The origin of the name was the first Israeli Nahal group's name who had set
sail at the fortress in 1946. Those pioneers were joined that year with Holocaust survivors - Hashomer Hatzair members from Hungary, as
well as survivors from other parts of Europe. The Kibbutz life in the first years were handled in and around the fortress. The members
lived inside the ancient structure using tents. The small kitchen provided meals as long as the supplies from the outside has managed
to reach the isolated high fortress overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Daylight provided plenty of visibility for Arab troops settled
on the hills surrounding the fortress, and a massive fire hit the fortress walls and outposts, killing several Kibbutz members during
the heavy fire exchange.
The members however, managed to keep on a decent routine, a hard one, but also necessary for their future. Communication with the
outside world was made using bonfire and flashlight signals during the nights, as well as pigeon post. Those were directed towards
Nahariya, but mainly towards Kiryat Haim, where Yehiam initially was founded at the very beginning. It was also the place where the
women and the first born children stayed in those days to keep safe during the times of war. in times of (relative) calmness, Yehiam
members worked the land, growing a variety of crops, such as vegetables, vineyard, and peachs.
As the 1948 Arab-Israeli War came to an end, the siege of the Galilee ended and the conditions improved greatly. At the beginning of
the new decade, the first new houses emerged, including the first children house which was occupied by the Kibbutz's first new born
generation. An additional human resource was added as new Hashomer Hatzair groups has joined from different parts of Israel, as well as
Aliya of that same movement from Cuba, France, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. The kibbutz was now establishing its new sources of
income. A sweets factory was the first industry in Yehiam, alongside with agriculture which included bananas, citrus, avocado, dairy
farming, wheat, cotton and corn, and a large tobacco crop.
In a constant pursuit of a new, profitable industry during the 1960s, Yehiam has finally set its targets in 1969, and has formed Deli-
Yehiam: A kosher meat factory specializing in producing a variety of beef and chicken delicacy. Deli-Yehiam today dominates 20 percent
of the local Israeli sausage and pastrami market, and exports unique meat products to the United States and Europe.
In the early 90's, Yehiam used its natural resources and modified 60 rooms into a crusader style guest house at the foot of the castle,
naming it Teva Be-Yehiam (lit. Nature in Yehiam).