Hanita (Template:Lang-he) is a kibbutz in northern in Israel. Located in the western Galilee approximately 15 kilometres northeast of Nahariya, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Asher Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 447.
Hanita was an ancient Jewish settlement, situated in the land belonging to the tribe of Asher. The name is mentioned in the Talmud, in the 2nd - 3rd century, in the description of the Jewish settlements on the northern border. The source of the name is "Hanaya", an encampment, a place of rest for travellers going between the plains of Lebanon and the ports of Achziv and Acre.
In those days, The purpose of the settlements was to guard the passes from the mountains to the fertile valley below.
In 1938, when the kibbutz was established, archaeologists discovered artifacts from the chalcolithic period (4,000 years BCE), caves from the middle-Canaanite period, Phoenician writings, objects from the Persian and Hellenistic periods, remains of an early church from the Christian period (much of the church and its mosaics have since been reconstructed) and burial caves, with paintings, as well as the remains of buildings, coins,wells.
In the 1930s, with the increase in settlements, the Arabs demanded that the British stop Jewish settlement. When they perceived that their demands were not being met, they turned to violence. The Jewish Agency set up a series of 'overnight towns' relying on an un-revoked Ottoman Law allowing any building to remain intact once a roof has been placed on it. The settlers prefabricated the walls and roof of the new kibbutz's dining hall. Its double wooden walls were filled with gravel for protection against Arab snipers, and a prefabricated wooden watchtower was likewise at hand.
Against protests from his cabinet, David Ben-Gurion decided to purchase 5,000 dunam of hilly non-arable land. A group was chosen to settle the land, to ascend to a point one kilometer from the road and to erect a base camp, and to prepare food, water, ammunition, clothing and tools ahead of time, in case of need. On the morning of 21 March 1938, fifty trucks carrying 500 people arrived to break a trail, and to carry all the provisions made ready to lower Hanita. With 100 men remaining at the camp, an Arab gang attacked, killing two men. The following day help arrived and work continued. On the fifth day, the road was completed to lower Hanita. After six months, there was a change of personnel. The 'Shimron' group took over responsibility of establishing the agricultural community on the mountain. They were joined some time later by the 'Segev' group. It was one of the first tower and stockade settlements built in the country.
In November 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine gave the Western Galilee, with its seven Jewish settlements, to the Arab state. When war was declared, Hanita was isolated from the Jewish section, and several battles were waged in the area, so the kibbutz members evacuated the children from Hanita to Haifa. On the day of Israel's declaration of independence, the Jewish army broke through, and the Western Galilee became part of the new state. The kibbutz came to demarcate Israel's border with Lebanon in the Western Galilee.
The early economy of Hanita was based on orchards and vegetables. Because of the shortage of water, and division of land into small plots separated from each other, these agricultural efforts failed. They also raised goats, cows and chickens.
Today there are approximately 500 people in Hanita, and the economy is stilled based on some agriculture and on industry. The kibbutz cultivates avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, olives and field crops. The kibbutz established factories which now provide the main source of income: "Kotlab" (which produces metallized films for use in packaging, insulation against heat and cold, and as safety devices) and "Hanita Lenses" (which produces contact lenses and lenses for implants).
The kibbutz has also ventured into the real estate market, developing a housing project on their land.
The stockade and tower museum is situated in the remains of an old Byzantine church. Although the museum is dedicated to the history of Hanita and the tower and stockade settlements, it also contains artefacts from the Stone Age & Canaanite periods