|• ISO 259||Ramla|
|• Also spelled||Ramleh (unofficial)|
|• Mayor||Michael Vidal|
|• Total||9,993 dunams (9.993 km2 or 3.858 sq mi)|
|• Density||7,600/km2 (20,000/sq mi)|
Ramla (Hebrew : רַמְלָה, Ramla; Arabic : الرملة, ar-Ramlah), also Ramle, Ramlah, Remle and sometimes Rama, is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 CE by the Umayyad governor and future caliph Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. Ramla lies along the route of the Via Maris , connecting old Cairo (Umayyad-period Fustat) with Damascus, at its intersection with the road connecting the port of Jaffa with Jerusalem.
It was conquered many times in the course of its history, by the Abbasids, the Ikhshidids, the Fatimids, the Seljuqs, the Crusaders, the Mameluks, the Ottoman Turks, the British, and the Israelis. After an outbreak of the Black Death in 1347, which greatly reduced the population, an order of Franciscan monks established a presence in the city. Under Arab and Ottoman rule the city became an important trade center. Napoleon's French Army occupied it in 1799 on its way to Acre.
The town had an Arab majority before most of its Arab inhabitants were expelled or fled during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.The town was subsequently repopulated by Jewish immigrants. In 2001, 80% of the population were Jewish and 20% Arab (16% Arab Muslims and 4% Arab Christians).
In recent decades, attempts have been made to develop and beautify the city, which has been plagued by neglect, financial problems and a negative public image. New shopping malls and public parks have been built, and a municipal museum opened in 2001.
A 2013 Israeli police report documented that the Central District ranks fourth among Israel's seven districts in terms of drug-related arrests.Today, five prisons are located in Ramla, including the maximum-security Ayalon Prison and Israel's only women's prison called Neve Tirza.
According to the 9th-century Arab geographer Ya'qubi, ar-Ramleh (Ramla) was founded in 716 by the governor of the Umayyad District of Palestine ( Jund Filastin ), Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, brother and successor of Caliph Walid I. Its name was derived from the Arabic word raml (رمل), meaning "sand" or "sandy".The name of La Rambla, a major street of Barcelona, is ultimately derived from the same linguistic origin. The early residents came from nearby Ludd (Lydda, Lod). Ramla flourished as the capital of Jund Filastin, which was one of the five districts of the Syrian province of the Umayyad and Abbasid empires.
Ramla was the principal city and district capital almost until the arrival of the Crusaders in the 11th century.In the 8th century, the Umayyads built the White Mosque, which was hailed as the finest in the land, outside of Jerusalem. The remains of this mosque, dominated by a minaret added at a later date, can still be seen today. In the courtyard are underground water cisterns from this period.
Ramla was sometimes referred to as Filastin, in keeping with the common practice of referring to districts by the name of their main city[ dubious ].
The 10th-century geographer al-Muqaddasi ("the Jerusalemite") describes Ramla at the peak of its prosperity:
Ramla's economic importance, shared with the neighbouring city of Lydda, was based on its strategic location. Ramla was at the intersection of two major roads, one linking Egypt with Syria (the so-called "Via Maris") and the other linking Jerusalem with the coast.
In 1068 a ground-rupturing earthquake centered in Wadi Arabah left Ramla totally destroyed, killing some 15,000-25,000 inhabitants. The city lay abandoned for four years and never fully recovered it previous status.
The armies of the First Crusade took the hastily evacuated town without a fight. In the early years of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem though, control over this strategic location led to three consecutive battles between the Crusaders and Egyptian armies from Ascalon. As Crusader rule stabilized, Ramla became the seat of a seigneury in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Lordship of Ramla within the County of Jaffa and Ascalon. It was a city of some economic significance and an important way station for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. The Crusaders identified it with the biblical Ramathaim and called it Arimathea .
Around 1163, rabbi and traveller Benjamin of Tudela, who also mistook it for a more ancient city, visited "Rama, or Ramleh, where there are remains of the walls from the days of our ancestors, for thus it was found written upon the stones. About 300 Jews dwell there. It was formerly a very great city; at a distance of two miles (3 km) there is a large Jewish cemetery."
In the early days of the Ottoman period, in 1548, a census was taken recording 528 Muslim families and 82 Christian families living in Ramla.
On March 2, 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Ramla during his unsuccessful bid to conquer Palestine, using the Franciscan hospice as his headquarters.The village appeared as 'Ramleh' on the map of Pierre Jacotin compiled during this campaign.
In 1838 Edward Robinson found Ramleh to be a town of about 3000 inhabitants, surrounded by olive-groves and vegetables. It had few streets, and the houses were made of stone and were well-built. There were several mosques in the town.
In 1863 Victor Guérin noted that the Latin (Catholic) population was reduced to two priests and 50 parishioners.In 1869, the population was given as 3,460; 3000 Muslims, 400 Greek Orthodox and 60 Catholics.
In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine noted that there was a bazaar in the town, "but its prosperity has much decayed, and many of the houses are falling into ruins, including the Serai."Expansion began only at the end of the 19th century.
In 1889, 31 Jewish worker families settled in the town, which had no Jewish population at the time.
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, 'Ramleh' had a population of 7,312 inhabitants; 5,837 Muslims, 1,440 Christians and 35 Jews.The Christians were further noted by denomination: 1,226 Orthodox, 2 Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites), 150 Roman Catholics, 8 Melchites, 4 Maronite, 15 Armenian, 2 Abyssinian Church and 36 Anglicans.
Less than a decade later, the population had increased nearly 25%; the 1931 census recorded 10,347 people, of whom there were 8,157 Muslims, 5 Jews, 2,194 Christians and 2 Druze, in a total of 2,339 houses.
Ramla was connected to wired electricity (supplied by the Zionist-owned Palestine Electric Company) towards the end of the 1920s. Economist Basim Faris noted this fact as proof of Ramla's higher standard of living than neighbouring Lydda. In Ramla, he wrote, "economic demands triumph over nationalism" while Lydda, "which is ten minutes' walk from Ramleh, is still averse to such a convenience as electric current, and so is not as yet served; perhaps the low standard of living of the poor population prevents the use of the service at the present rates, which cannot compete with petroleum for lighting".
Sheikh Mustafa Khairi was mayor of Ramla from 1920 to 1947.
The 1945/46 survey gives 'Ramle' a population of 15,160, of whom 11,900 were Muslim and 3,260 Christian.
Ramla was part of the territory allotted to a proposed Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan.However, Ramla's geographic location and its strategic position on the main supply route to Jerusalem made it a point of contention during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. A bomb by the Jewish militia group Irgun went off in the Ramla market on February 18, killing 7 residents and injuring 45. After a number of unsuccessful raids on Ramla, the Israeli army launched Operation Dani. Ramla was captured on 12 July 1948, a few days after the capture of Lydda. The Arab resistance surrendered on July 12, and most of the remaining inhabitants were driven out on the orders of David Ben-Gurion. A disputed claim, advanced by scholars including Ilan Pappé, characterizes this as ethnic cleansing. After the Israeli capture, some 1,000 Arabs remained in Ramla; more were transferred to the town by the IDF from outlying Arab settlements which the military wanted emptied. As of 2000, the total population of Arab refugees and their descendants with origins in Ramla was estimated by Benny Morris and other historians at 635,000.
Ramla became a mixed Jewish-Arab town within the state of Israel. Arab homes of those who left in Ramla were given by the Israeli government to Jewish immigrants arriving at this time.[ citation needed ] In February 1949, the Jewish population was over 6,000. Ramla remained economically depressed over the next two decades, although the population steadily mounted, reaching 34,000 by 1972.
In 2015, Ramla had one of Israel's highest crime rates.
The city suffered severe damage from earthquakes in 1033, 1068, 1070, 1546, and 1927.
The Tower of Ramla, also known as the White Tower, was built in the 13th century. It served as the minaret of the White Mosque(al-Masjid al-Abyad) erected by Caliph Suleiman in the 8th century, of which only remnants remain today.The tower is six stories high, with a spiral staircase of 119 steps.
The Pool of Arches, also known as St. Helen's Pool and Bīr al-Anezīya, is an underground water cistern built during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Haroun al-Rashid in 789 CE (in the Early Muslim period) to provide Ramla with a steady supply of water.Use of the cistern was apparently discontinued at the beginning of the tenth century (the beginning of the Fatimid period), possibly due to the fact that the main aqueduct to the city went out of use at that time.
The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea on Ramla's main boulevard, Herzl Street, is easily recognized by its clock-faced, square tower. It belongs to the Franciscan church. Napoleon used the hospice as his headquarters during his Palestine campaign in 1799.
The Ramla Museum is housed in the former municipal headquarters of the British Mandatory authorities. The building, from 1922, incorporates elements of Arab architecture such as arched windows and patterned tiled floors. After 1948, it was the central district office of the Israeli Ministry of Finance. In 2001, the building became a museum documenting the history of Ramla.
The Commonwealth War Cemetery is the largest of its kind in Israel, holding graves of soldiers fallen during both World Wars and the British Mandate period.
The Giv'on immigration detention centre is also located in Ramla.
A tradition reported by Ishtori Haparchi (1280–1355) and other early Jewish writers is that Ramla was the biblical Gath of the Philistines.Initial archaeological claims seemed to indicate that Ramla was not built on the site of an ancient city, although in recent years the ruins of an old city were uncovered on the southern outskirts of Ramla. Earlier, Benjamin Mazar had proposed that ancient Gath lay at the site of Ras Abu Hamid east of Ramla. Avi-Yonah, however, considered that to be a different Gath, usually now called Gath-Gittaim. This view is also supported by other scholars, those holding that there was, both, a Gath (believed to be Tell es-Safi ) and Gath-rimmon or Gittaim (in or near Ramla).
Archaeological excavations in Ramla conducted in 1992–1995 unearthed the remains of a dyeing industry (Dar al-Sabbaghin, House of the Dyers) near the White Mosque; hydraulic installations such as pools, subterranean reservoirs and cisterns; and abundant ceramic finds that include glass, coins and jar handles stamped with Arabic inscriptions.Excavations in Ramla continued as late as 2010, led by Eli Haddad, Orit Segal, Vered Eshed, and Ron Toueg, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
In May 2006, a naturally sealed-off underground space now known as Ayyalon Cave was discovered near Ramla, outside Moshav Yad Rambam. The cave sustains an unusual type of ecosystem, based on bacteria that create all the energy they need chemically, from the sulfur compounds they find in the water, with no light or organic food coming in from the surface. A bulldozer working in the Nesher cement quarry on the outskirts of Ramla accidentally broke into the cavern. The finds have been attributed to the cave's isolation, which led to the evolution of a whole food chain of specially developed organisms, including several previously unknown species of invertebrates. With several large halls on different levels, it measures 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) long, making it the third-largest limestone cave in Israel.
One of the finds was an eyeless scorpion, given the name Akrav israchanani honouring the researchers who identified it, Israel Naaman and Hanan Dimentman. All ten specimen of the blind scorpion found in the cave had been dead for several years, possibly because recent overpumping of the groundwater has led the underground lake to shrink, and with it the food supply to dwindle. Seven more species of troglobite crustaceans and springtails were discovered in "Noah's Ark Cave", as the cave has been dubbed by journalists, several of them unknown to science.
According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), a total of 63,462 people were living in Ramla at the end of 2004. In 2001, the ethnic makeup of the city was 80% Jewish, 20% Arab (16% Muslim Arabs and 4% Christian Arabs).Ramla is the center of Karaite Judaism in Israel.
Most Jews from Karachi, Pakistan, have immigranted to Israel and have resettled in Ramle, where they have built a synagogue named Magen Shalome, after the Magain Shalome Synagogue from Karachi.
According to CBS data, there were 21,000 salaried workers and 1,700 self-employed persons in Ramla in 2000. The mean monthly wage for a salaried worker was NIS 4,300, with a real increase of 4.4% over the course of 2000. Salaried males had a mean monthly wage of NIS 5,200, with a real increase of 3.3%, compared to NIS 3,300 for women, with a real increase of 6.3%. The average income for self-employed persons was NIS 4,900. A total of 1,100 persons received unemployment benefits, and 5,600 received income supplements.
Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises, Israel's sole producer of cement, maintains its flagship factory in Ramla.
Ramla Railway Station provides an hourly service on the Israel Railways Tel Aviv–Jerusalem line. The station is located in north east side of the city and originally opened in April 1891, making it the oldest active railway station in Israel.It was most recently reopened on April 12, 2003 after having been rebuilt in a new location closer to the town's center.
According to CBS, there are 31 schools and 12,000 students in the city. These include 22 elementary schools with a student population of 7,700 and nine high schools with a population of 3,800. In 2001, 47% of Ramla's 12th grade students graduated with a bagrut matriculation certificate. Many of the Jewish schools are run by Jewish orthodox organisations.
The Arabs, both Muslims and Christian, increasingly depend on their own private schools and not Israeli governmental schools. There are currently two Christian schools, such as Terra Santa School, the Greek Orthodox School, and there is one Islamic school in preparations.
The Owpen House in Ramla is a preschool and daycare center for Arab and Jewish children. In the afternoons, Open House runs extracurricular coexistence programs for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children.
Alphabetical list by surname where extant. Traditional, pre-modern Arab names by ism (given name).
Ramla is twinned with:
Lod is a city 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv in the Central District of Israel. In 2018 it had a population of 75,726.
Bayt Nabala or Beit Nabala was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict in Palestine that was destroyed during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The village was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Its population in 1945, before the war, was 2,310.
Bayt Dajan, also known as Dajūn, was a Palestinian Arab village situated approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) southeast of Jaffa. It is thought to have been the site of the biblical town of Beth Dagon, mentioned in the Book of Joshua and in ancient Assyrian and Ancient Egyptian texts.
Kafr 'Ana' was a Palestinian town located 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) east of Jaffa, built on the ancient site of Ono. In 1945, the town had an estimated population of 2,800 Arabs and 220 Jews. Captured by the pre-state Jewish forces of the Alexandroni Brigade prior to the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, it was depopulated. Today, the old village site lies within the confines of the modern Israeli city of Or Yehuda.
Jimzu, also known as Gimzo, was a Palestinian village, located three miles southeast of Lydda. Under the 1947 UN Partition Plan of Mandatory Palestine, Jimzu was to form part of the proposed Arab state. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the village was depopulated in a two-day assault by Israeli forces.
Abu al-Fadl was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict, about 4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of Ramla in, what was until 1948, Mandatory Palestine. The village was also known as al-Satariyya. In 1945/44, the village had a population of 510.
Salbit was a Palestinian Arab village located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) southeast of al-Ramla. Salbit was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War after a military assault by Israeli forces. The Israeli locality of Shaalvim was established on the former village's lands in 1951.
The 1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle, also known as the Lydda Death March, was the expulsion of 50,000–70,000 Palestinian Arabs when Israeli troops captured the towns in July that year. The military action occurred within the context of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The two Arab towns, lying outside the area designated for a Jewish state in the UN Partition Plan of 1947, and inside the area set aside for an Arab state in Palestine, subsequently were transformed into predominantly Jewish areas in the new State of Israel, known as Lod and Ramla.
Al-Safiriyya was a Palestinian Arab village in the Jaffa Subdistrict. It was depopulated during Operation Hametz in the 1948 Palestine War on May 20, 1948. It was located 11 km east of Jaffa, 1.5 km west of Ben Gurion Airport.
Barfiliya was a Palestinian village located 10.5 kilometres (6.5 mi) east of Ramla that was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Located on a tell, excavations conducted there by Israeli archaeologists beginning in 1995 found artifacts dating back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period.
Al-Barriyya was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on July 10, 1948, as part of Operation Dani. It was located 5.5 km southeast of Ramla, on the eastern bank of Wadi al-Barriyya.
Bayt Susin was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine, located 17 kilometers (11 mi) southeast of Ramla. In 1945, it had 210 inhabitants. The village was depopulated during the 1948 war by the Israeli 7th Brigade.
Bir Ma'in was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War on July 15, 1948 during the second phase of Operation Danny by the First and Second Battalions of the Yiftach Brigade. It was located 14 km east of Ramla. The village was defended by the Jordanian Army.
Daniyal was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on July 10, 1948, by the Yiftach Brigade under the first phase of Operation Dani. It was located 5 km east of Ramla and southeast of Lydda.
Dayr Muhaysin was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine, located 12 km southeast of Ramla and 4 km west of Latrun. It was depopulated during the 1948 Palestine war.
Innaba was a Palestinian village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on July 10, 1948 by the Yiftach and Eighth Brigades of Operation Dani. It was located 7 km east of Ramla.
Khulda, also Khuldeh, was a Palestinian Arab village located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) south of Ramla in the Mandatory Palestine. Known as Huldre to the Crusaders, it is also mentioned in documents dating to the periods of Mamluk, Ottoman, and Mandatory rule over Palestine. During the 1948 war, the village was depopulated as part of Operation Nachshon and was subsequently destroyed. The Israeli kibbutz of Mishmar David was established that same year on land belonging to the village.
Sarafand al-Kharab was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict, located 50 meters (160 ft) above sea level, 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) west of Ramla, in the area that is today northeast of Ness Ziona.
Wadi Hunayn was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict, located 9 km west of Ramla. According to a local tradition, it was named after the Yemeni home of the Qada'a tribe who settled here in the early Islamic period.
Bayt Nuba was a Palestinian Arab village, located halfway between Jerusalem and al-Ramla. Historically identified with the biblical city of Nob mentioned in the Book of Samuel, that association has been eschewed in modern times. The village is mentioned in extrabiblical sources including the writings of 5th-century Roman geographers, 12th-century Crusaders and a Jewish traveller, a 13th-century Syrian geographer, a 15th-century Arab historian, and Western travellers in the 19th century. Depopulated by Israeli forces during the 1967 war, it was subsequently leveled by military engineers using controlled explosions, and the Israeli settlement of Mevo Horon was established on its lands in 1970.
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