Kiryat Shmona

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Kiryat Shmona

  • קִרְיַת שְׁמוֹנָה
  • كريات شمونه
Hebrew transcription(s)
   ISO 259 Kiryat Šmona
  Also spelledKiryat Shemona (official)
View of Kiryat Shmona from Manara cliffs
Coat of arms of Kiryat Shmona.png
Coat of arms of Kiryat Shmona
Israel location map with stripes.svg
Red pog.svg
Kiryat Shmona
Coordinates: 33°12′27″N35°34′11″E / 33.20750°N 35.56972°E / 33.20750; 35.56972 Coordinates: 33°12′27″N35°34′11″E / 33.20750°N 35.56972°E / 33.20750; 35.56972
FoundedMay 1949
  Type City (from 1975)
  MayorAvihay Shtern
  Total9,960  dunams (9.96 km2 or 3.85 sq mi)
(2017) [1]
  Density2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)
Postal code
Name meaningTown of Eight

Kiryat Shmona (Hebrew : קִרְיַת שְׁמוֹנָה, lit. Town of the Eight) is a city located in the Northern District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley near the Lebanese border. The city was named after the eight people, including Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 defending Tel Hai.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Northern District (Israel) District of Israel

The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638 km² when both land and water are included. The district capital and largest city in the North District is Nazareth.

Israel country in the Middle East

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.


In 2017 it had a population of 22,844, [1] the majority of whom are Jews, particularly of Moroccan extraction. Located near the Israel-Lebanon border, Kiryat Shmona is Israel's northernmost city.

Blue Line (Lebanon) border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations

The Blue Line is a border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations on 7 June 2000 for the purposes of determining whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.


Foundation (1949)

Kiryat Shmona from Tel Hai KiryatShmonaFromTelHai.JPG
Kiryat Shmona from Tel Hai

The town of Kiryat Shmona was established in 1949 [2] on the site of the former Arab village al-Khalisa, whose inhabitants had fled after Safed was taken by the Haganah during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and an attempt by the village to come to an agreement with the Jewish authorities was rejected. [3] Literally Town of the Eight, Kiryat Shmona was named after eight Jewish militiamen, commanded by Joseph Trumpeldor, who had fallen in the 1920 Battle of Tel Hai during the Franco-Syrian War adjacent to the new town. It had originally been named Kiryat Yosef for Trumpeldor before the name was changed to Kiryat Shmona in June 1950. [4]

Al-Khalisa Village in Safad, Mandatory Palestine

Al-Khalisa was a Palestinian Arab village situated on a low hill on the northwestern edge of the Hula Valley of over 1,800 located 28 kilometers (17 mi) north of Safad. It was depopulated in the 1948 Palestine war.

Safed Place in Israel

Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters.

Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in the British Mandate of Palestine (1921–48), which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Initially the empty houses of Khalisa were used as a transit camp for Jewish immigrants and refugees who worked mainly in farming. It was called Kiryat Yosef after Yosef Trumpeldor. The first residents were fourteen Yemenite Jews who arrived on July 18, 1949 and were followed by more Yemenite Jews a month later. By July 1951, the population had grown to nearly 4,000. [4] Relationships with nearby kibbutzim were often strained. [4]

Maabarot Israeli refugee absorption camps housing Olim.

Ma'abarot were refugee absorption camps in Israel in the 1950s. The Ma'abarot were meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Jewish immigrants (olim) arriving to the newly independent State of Israel, replacing the less habitable immigrant camps or tent cities. The ma'abarot began to decline by mid-1950s and were largely transformed into Development Towns. The last Ma'abara was closed in 1963.

Yemenite Jews ethnic group

Yemenite Jews or Yemeni Jews or Teimanim are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. The term may also refer to the descendants of the Yemenite Jewish community. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. After several waves of persecution throughout Yemen, most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, while smaller communities live in the United States and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen. The few remaining Jews experience intense, and at times violent, anti-Semitism on a daily basis.

Kibbutz collective settlement in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories

A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik.

In 1953, Kiryat Shmona become a development town. [5] In the first few years, the town's growth was driven by the arrival of immigrants from Yemen and Romania, but later on, waves of immigrants from North Africa, in particular from Morocco, arrived. The city was built without a master plan, but rather neighborhood by neighborhood as waves of immigrants arrived.

Development town

Development town is a term used to refer to the new settlements that were built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing to a large influx of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and other new immigrants (Olim), who arrived to the newly established State of Israel. The towns were designated to expand the population of the country's peripheral areas and to ease development pressure on the country's crowded centre. The towns are the results of the Sharon plan – the master plan of Israel. The majority of such towns were built in the Galilee in the north of Israel, and in the northern Negev desert in the south. In addition to the new towns, Jerusalem was also given development town status in the 1960s.

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

Later years (1950–present)

Kiryat Shmona in 1964 Kiryat Shmona 1964.jpg
Kiryat Shmona in 1964

Kiryat Shmona's location close to the Lebanon makes it a rich target for rocket fire cross-border attacks.

On April 11, 1974, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, sent three members across the border from Lebanon to Kiryat Shmona. They killed eighteen residents of an apartment building, including many children, before being killed in an exchange of fire at the complex, which became known as the Kiryat Shmona massacre. [6]

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command political party

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command or PFLP-GC is a Palestinian nationalist militant organisation based in Syria. It was founded in 1968 by Ahmed Jibril after splitting from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) based on claims that it was producing impotent intellectuals, and not making any meaningful progress in terms of armed struggle to liberate Palestine. In the 1970s and 1980s it was involved in the Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon and launched a number of attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians; including the Avivim school bus massacre (1970), the bombing of Swissair Flight 330 (1970), the Kiryat Shmona massacre (1974) and the Night of the Gliders (1987). Since the late 1980s it has been largely inactive, but during the Syrian Civil War it has been fighting on the side of the Syrian government.

Kiryat Shmona massacre

The Kiryat Shmona massacre was an attack by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command on civilians in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on 11 April 1974. Eighteen people were killed, nearly half of them children, and 16 were wounded.

The city continued to be the target of attacks after this, including Katyusha rocket attacks by the PLO in July 1981, [7] a Katyusha rocket attack by the PLO in March 1986 (killing a teacher and injuring four students and one adult), [8] [9] [10] and further Katyusha rocket attacks by Hezbollah during 1996's Operation Grapes of Wrath. [11] The citizens of the town had suffered almost daily attack from the mid-1970s until 2000, when the IDF left Lebanon.

In spite of attacks from Lebanon, the town steadily grew. It had a population of 11,800 in 1972, which grew to 15,100 in 1983.

In the years 2000–06, the locals enjoyed relative peace but suffered from loud explosions every few weeks because of Hezbollah anti-aircraft cannons fired at IAF planes flying across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

During the 2006 Lebanon War, the city was again the target of Hezbollah Katyusha rocket attacks. Most of the city's residents left the area during the war, and the 5,000 who remained stayed in bomb shelters, turning the city into a ghost town. [12] During the war, a total of 1,012 Katyusha rockets hit Kiryat Shmona.


Kiryat Shmona is located in the Finger of the Galilee next to the Hula Valley, about 5 kilometres (3 miles) south and 2 km (1 mile) east of the Israel–Lebanon border. Its elevation is about 150 metres (492 feet) above sea level. [2]


The city is located above the Dead Sea Transform fault, and as a result, is one of the cities in Israel most at risk to earthquakes (along with Safed, Beit She'an, Tiberias, and Eilat). [13]


According to CBS, in 2001 the ethnic makeup of the city was 97.9% Jewish and other non-Arabs, without a significant Arab population. In 2001 there were 121 immigrants. The Jewish population of the town is largely of Sephardi and Mizrahi heritage, and many are industrial workers employed in local small industry and in neighboring kibbutzim.

According to CBS, in 2001 there were 10,800 males and 10,700 females. The population of the city was spread out with 33.5% 19 years of age or younger, 19.8% between 20 and 29, 19.3% between 30 and 44, 15.3% from 45 to 59, 3.5% from 60 to 64, and 8.5% 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 1.8%.



According to CBS, as of 2000, in the city there were 8,303 salaried workers and 467 are self-employed. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried worker in the city is 4,306 shekels, a real change of 4.6% over the course of 2000. Salaried males have a mean monthly wage of 5,443 shekels (a real change of 7.1%) versus 3,065 shekels for females (a real change of −2.2%). The mean income for the self-employed is 6,769. There are 564 people who receive unemployment benefits and 1,655 people who receive an income guarantee.


Lab of Meytav, Israel's largest technology incubator, based in Kiryat Shmona (2007). Norman Sandberg and Meytav lab by David Shankbone.jpg
Lab of Meytav, Israel's largest technology incubator, based in Kiryat Shmona (2007).

Kiryat Shmona has diverse economic activities among its inhabitants. The town's economy is based on both light industry, involving consumer-oriented products such as communications, information technology, and electronics as well as agriculture on the surrounding lands and tourism.


The town has a cable car link with Manara above in the Naftali mountain range and also is home to an activity center and toboggan run located in the south of the town.

Kiryat Shmona Historical Museum, formerly the al-Khalsa Mosque hmsgd bqryyt SHmvnh, mbt mdrvm 02.jpg
Kiryat Shmona Historical Museum, formerly the al-Khalsa Mosque

In the residential area there is an urban natural space called Park HaZahav. Zahav means "gold" in Hebrew; the park is named after the stream running through it – Ein Zahav Stream – the source of which is Ein Zahav ("golden spring"). Park HaZahav covers 11 hectares in the middle of the city. It comprises many diverse natural resources. In addition to intensive activity areas designated for leisure and play, and open to all, the park contains a diverse, protected, natural area comprising Ein Zahav Stream and HaTachanot Stream (Tachanot refers to two water mills [tachana=mill] which were active along this stream in the past), which flow through the middle of the park. These streams have created different aquatic habitats, including shallow sections, rapids, deep sections and pools that support diverse riparian vegetation that has developed with time into a riparian forest. This isn't common in Israel. The park has a trail that goes through the forest and along the stream. Included in the park are different gardening initiatives by local volunteers, a picnic area, and a playground. The park is used for educational purposes by the community.


According to CBS, there are 12 schools and 4,339 students in the city. They are spread out as 9 elementary schools and 2,355 elementary school students, and 6 high schools and 1,984 high school students. 49.3% of 12th grade students were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001.

The Tel-Hai Academic College is a college located near Kibbutz Kfar Giladi and north of Kiryat Shmona. The college offers academic and continuing education programs for approximately 4,500 students, 70 percent of whom come from outside the Galilee. Minorities comprise about 10 percent of the student body. The college offers degrees in life sciences, social sciences, computer science and the humanities.


Kiryat Shmona Municipal Stadium Kiryat Shmona Municipal Stadium3.jpg
Kiryat Shmona Municipal Stadium

Kiryat Shmona is the smallest city in Israel with a top flight football club, Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Formed by a merger of Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Kiryat Shmona in 2000, the club won promotion to the top division for the first time at the end of the 2006–07 season, and won the Israeli Premier League Championship in 2011–2012.

Tennis is also part of the Kiryat Shmona sport scene. The town is home to one of the 14 Israel Tennis Centers (ITC). These Centers throughout Israel teach children life skills through tennis. The Centers are primarily funded through donations. The Israel Children's Centers in the United States, and the Canada Israel Children's Centres are largely responsible for the funding of the Tennis Centers, which strive to never turn a child away due to financial need.

Panorama of central Kiryat Shmona KiryatShmonaPano.jpg
Panorama of central Kiryat Shmona

Notable residents

Dudi Sela Dudi Sela Israel tennis championship 2008 2.jpg
Dudi Sela

Twin towns

Kiryat Shmona is twinned with:

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  13. Experts Warn: Major Earthquake Could Hit Israel Any Time By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel. Date: Oct 22, 2013