MY family originates from a village called Jimzu. Jimzu was occupied in 1948, and my family fled all over the place. Mashallah my family is huge, and we are all over the world. But one place we all wish to return is back to Jimzu. The land of our fathers and grandfathers. The land where our grandfathers all went to school together, and our grandmothers would walk around the farms picking olives and singing traditional songs. Jimzu had two wells, that they shared with neighboring villages; and it was truly magnificent. But now for my family, Jimzu is only a memory and a dream; but for the zionist who occupied it in 1948, its a now, and the future. I googled modern Gimzo, and this is what came up…
is an agrarian society (אגודה חקלאית) which was founded by the Poalei Agudat Yisrael political party on the 11- Th. of the month of Adar, (28.2.1950), by the settler’s group “Etz Chaim” (the tree of life). The nucleus of the Moshav is based on 71 agricultural tracts. In recent years the Moshav has doubled its size and absorbed new families and has built a new neighborhood with housing for Gimzo’s sons and daughters. Today our Moshav encompasses 140 families with over 700 residents.
Moshav Gimzo lieson the outskirts of the Ben-Shemen forest, on the major crossroad of route 1 and route 443 (the two major arteries leading to Jerusalem). It is in the municipal jurisdiction of the Modi’in Area Council.
The residents of Moshav Gimzo lead a religious- zionist lifestyle, with a pluralistic demographic population including both Charedi and Orthodox residents of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi backgrounds. The Moshav boasts several synagogues, a Mikva (a ritual bath), a medical clinic, a community center, an office, a general store, sports field and a playground. Our children enjoy day care from the age of 3 months until the end of kindergarten on the Moshav. Our older children bus to school to the “Shalhevet” grammar school on the kibbutz of Shaalavim.
The “Ezra” youth group has an active branch on the Moshav, providing educational and social activities for our youth. After completing grammar school our children usually disperse to Yeshivot and Ulpanot (religious high schools) throughout the country. Upon high school graduation most of Gimzo’s daughters volunteer to serve two years in National Service. Most of our sons choose to spend a year or more in Yeshivot Hesder or preparatory “Mechinot” before their mandatory military service, where their motivation is very high and a good proportion of our Moshavnik sons volunteer for combat duty in special units.
The residentsof Gimzo work in a variety of professions; including the world of academia, education, business, high-tech, the security forces, as well, of course, as in agriculture. The major branches of agriculture in Gimzo are deciduous trees such as peaches, citrus trees, apples, plums, etc., as well as olive trees and vineyards for table grapes and for wine.
The community life in Gimzo is very developed with a vast array of activities, lectures, religious study and classes. The Moshav celebrates cultural events throughout the year as well as memorial days, independence day, the 9-th of Av, T’u Beshvat, Purim, and other holidays. Our children and the adult community all partake together of these events and activities.
An Historical Look at Gimzo
Moshav Gimzo is situated 6 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) south-east of the city of Lod, in the western plains at the foot of the Judean Mountains. The Moshav was founded by the settlers from Hungary from the Poalei Agudat Yisrael political party on the 11- Th. of the month of Adar, 5710 (28.2.1950), by the settler’s group called “Etz Chaim” (the tree of life) based on the verse in the book of Proverbs (3:18) “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast.”
Gimzo is first mentioned in the Bible in the approximate period of 740 B.C.E., when the Plishtim conquered the area from the hands of King Ahaz, the king of Israel, in their attempt to enlarge their borders. Gimzo is the most northern region and the most elevated region at which they arrived. In the word of the verse (Chronicles II :28:18) The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the lowland and of the Negev of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, and Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages, and they settled there.
It is thought thatthe name of Gimzois derived from the fruit of the Sycamore tree known as “Gomez” which was abundant in this area. This is based on the biblical verse (chronicles II :1:15) “The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the lowland. ” In the period of the second Temple, the great sage Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel says: “A sign of mountains is “milin”, a sign of valleys is palm trees, a sign of rivers is cane, and a sign of the plains is Sycamore trees, and whereas there is no proof of this, we remember the words: And he made cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the lowland” )Tosephta Shviit:87:6). Moshav Gimzo was the home of the sage (the Ta’ana) Nachum (Rabbi Akiva’s teacher), who was wont to say “It is all for the best” which translates to “Gam-zo le-tova”, a word play on the name of his home at “Gam-zo”.
The destruction of the south of Israel during theBar Kochva rebellion (in the years 132-135 ) evidently did not pass over our settlement, and caused the destruction of the Jewish settlement in this area until the return to Zion.
In the year 364 AD a great earthquake was felt in Israel. This earthquake, along with the difficult economic and security situation caused many Jews to leave the country and live in exile. The Roman Empire slowly lost its hold on the area, and 408 AD saw the end of 500 years of Roman- Byzantine rule. It is difficult to determine when the Arab village of Jamzo was founded, but it is believed that it grew up during the period of the Ottoman Empire. The location of the village was on the Tel-Gimzo, which is east of the present Moshav.
In 1917 the Britishcaptured the land of Israel under the command of General Edmund Allenby. The name of Jamzo is mentioned as a meeting place for the British 52-nd division which advanced to Jerusalem through the Beit Horon Pass. During the War of Independence, a famous operation known as “Operation Dani” was planned to free Lod, Ramla, Latrun, and Ramallah, and to release the pressure around Jerusalem. This operation mentions our settlement. On the 10-th of July 1948, the Yiftah Brigade conquered the settlements of Anabe, Jamzo, Daniel and Dahariya. It was later determined that these settlements were abandoned (except for a few aged or sick villagers). That same night, the commander of the Palmach, Yigal Alon, arrived in Jamzo and thanked the soldiers, and described to them the importance of Jamzo as a strategic crossroad and gateway to the Judean Hills. The soldiers of the Arab Legion tried unsuccessfully to retake Jamzo. Israel’s successful capture of Jamzo was at the hands of the religious company of the Palmach, who lost two of their men during the battle with the Arab Legion on the 5-th of Adar 5708 (12.7.48). Their names are Avraham Tzvi Baum and Mordechai Hess, may they rest in peace. As mentioned above, the Arab village was abandoned during the war of independence.
On the 13-th of Tamuz 5708 three commanders of the Hagana were on patrol in their jeep of the outposts between Latrun and Beit Neballah. Near Gimzo their jeep struck a mine and two of the commanders were killed immediately: Shura Oshrovitz and Yehezkail Ben David. The third died later of his wounds (Israel Shchori). To this day in Gimzo there stands a memorial in their memory at the place of the explosion, with three white chalk stones and the symbol of the Hagana.
After the war of independencethere was a massive movement of rural settlement along the border towns. On the 11- th of the month of Adar, 5710 (28.2.1950), Moshav Gimzo was founded by a group of Satmar Chassidim (the “Etz Chaim” group mentioned above). In 1951, the government settled a group of immigrants from Morroco in the Moshav to enlarge the population. In the early years the Moshav suffered from robberies and stolen livestock from over the border. There was no infrastructure of roads, water or electricity and many of the settlers left the moshav. In the month of Adar, 1977, a new group of 12 families of young settlers arrived in Gimzo. This group changed the face of the Moshav in many aspects: religious, social, and economic.
Today the Moshav encompasses 140 families, with a new neighborhood for Gimzo’s sons and daughters.