Eileen and I left Maqam Al Nabi Musa and headed south on Highway 1 towards our destination Ein Bokek and the Dead Sea. Driving along the highway we unexpectedly came upon the remains/ruins of the Palestine Potash Company an early settlement in the northern Dead Sea. This intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 90 is known as the Beit HaArava Junction.
The Potash Company…
A company that extracted potash from the Dead Sea, the Palestine Potash Company was founded in 1929. In 1930, a plant was established at Kalia, at the northern end of the Dead Sea.
A year later the first Jewish settlement near Ein-Jaher, to the west of the factory was established. It included four buildings of three-story apartment units.
Close by the settlement was the Kaliya Hotel which was built as a recreation site for settlement officials and occasional tourists. It was the first of the many hotels built along the Dead Sea which centered on the therapeutic properties of the sea.
The village, located just south of the Potash Company, was originally established in 1939 by European members of Zionist youth movement groups who had fled Nazi Germany Palestine.
On 20 May 1948, after a failure to reach an agreement with then Transjordan’s King Abdullah, Beit HaArava was abandoned due to its isolation during the fighting of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
As we left Beit HaArava and headed south we came upon this abandoned building and wondered if Tony Sweet was getting ready to set up an Israeli branch.