Kibbutz Beit Guvrin is located to the northeast of Qiryat Gat, on highway 35.
The name comes from the Aramaic, Beit Govraya, which means “The House of Men". It is not known why this name was given to the place. The Midrash attributes it to the giants that supposedly previously lived there in large caves and, therefore, the site was also called Beit Giborayah – “The House of Giants”.
Beit Guvrin is mentioned for the first time in the scriptures of Yossef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius) in The War of the Jews. Hazal (our Sages) literature cites Beit Guvrin a number of times. The community first became known during the era of the Mishna and the Talmud, during the time of the Roman rule. There was a Jewish population in the town of Beit Guvrin, and the remains of a synagogue were found there.
Beit Guvrin has a rich archeological and historical past, which can be seen at the Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park.
In 1948 the Arab village of Beit Jubrin was home to 2,000-3,000 people. In the War of Independence, Beit Jubrin served as base for Arab fighters fighting the Jews. After the Egyptian invasion they occupied it and took up position in the nearby police station. Beit Jubrin was seized by IDF forces during the "Yo'av Operation", on October 23 1948. During the battles all the inhabitants of Beit Jubrin fled, the village and their homes were reduced to heap of ruins.
Around eight months after Beit Jubrin was taken, on Shavuot eve 1949, the Jewish settlement of Beit Guvrin was established on a hill near the village of Beit Jubrin. A group of former Palmah soldiers was designated to settle in the area. The group comprised two youth companies which made aliyah in an organized manner: the" Yetzivim" youth company which came from Turkey in 1945, and the "Bnei Horin" youth company which came from Romania in 1946 – a total of 65 youngsters.
Over the years Beit Guvrin was a border settlemet and endured a high percentage of inhabitants leaving the kibbutz, who were substituted by Working and Studying Youth groups, Nahal groups, and even families from various kibbutzim who went there for short periods. But many fell in love with the place and became members.
In recent years the kibbutz has undergone a process of fundamental change. It has been privatized and now functions as a “renewing kibbutz” based on a "safety net" model. The kibbutz maintains the basic values, such as: mutual guarantee and help, and partnership in community responsibility, while providing members with individual budgets based on their monthly income from their work. This enables members who do not make the minimum salary to achieve it through support from the kibbutz. The kibbutz decided to take in new members, in order to achieve demographic growth. The new members will be given the status of “member with economic independence”.
Beit Guvrin has a population of about 340.
Most of the members work outside the kibbutz.
Agriculture: chicken house, cowshed, field crops.
Industry : BG Technologies.
Services and small businesses: The Cave garden, Schnitz clothes and gift store, a jewelry gallery, dental clinic, department store, swimming pool (during May-September) etc.
The area of Beit Guvrin attracts large numbers of tourists, due to:
The Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park, Land of A Thousand Caves.
The wonderful flowers in the winter and spring, and the breathtaking landscape.
Archeological finds are exhibited in two areas on the kibbutz, which display daily life there in ancient times. The finds were generously lent by the Antiquities Authority.