Glimpses of Israel - Kfar Vitkin

by Joseph Hunting

Although I had passed through Kfar Vitkin several times during my first visit to Israel in 1960 it was not until 1968 when I stayed with friends on the outskirts of the Moshav that I learned something of its history.

Kfar Vitkin is located mid-way on the coastal highway that links Tel Aviv with Jaifa. In ancient times this was the Via Maris and along this route have marched the armies of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the Arabs and Moors, Crusaders, Turks, British, Australians and New Zealanders. Indeed, the pleasant river that meanders through the Sharon plain to the coast at Kfar Vitkin is named after the great Greek general, Alexander.

Just a kilometre north of the Moshav is the Tel, or mound, covering a city long since forgotten. Just 20 years after the rebirth of Israel in 1948 I walked over this Tel, its mound still scarred with the remains of slit-trenches hastily dug to provide protection for the defenders of Kfar Vitkin from Arab attacks. I pondered the parade of nations and armies that had passed this unknown town buried beneath the debris and dust of centuries. Truly, Kfar Vitkin straddles the most famous land route that still links the northern and southern hemispheres.

On June 18th 1948 Kfar Vitkin saw the opening stages of a drama that rocked the newly-born state. The Irgun arms ship "Altalena" anchored off the coast in an endeavour to unload its cargo of 5,000 rifles and other weapons at Kfar Vitkin. During the night the "Altalena" slipped down the coast to Tel Aviv where it was shelled and beached when the order to surrender its cargo was defied.

Kfar Vitkin was founded by pioneer farmers in 1930. By sheer hard work, planning and enterprise the Moshav today is prosperous, the raising of prime turkeys being one of its successful ventures, along with dairy cattle, beef cattle, grains and citrus fruits.