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Ramla
Ramla
(Hebrew: רַמְלָה‬, Ramla; Arabic: الرملة‎, ar-Ramlah) (also Ramlah,[2] Ramle, Remle and sometimes Rama) is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish
Jewish
with a significant Arab
Arab
minority. Ramla
Ramla
was founded circa 705–715 CE by the Umayyad governor and future caliph Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. Ramla
Ramla
lies along the route of the Via Maris, connecting old Cairo
Cairo
(Fustat) with Damascus, at its intersection with the road connecting the port of Jaffa
Jaffa
with Jerusalem.[3] 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 Turks, the British, and the Israelis. After an outbreak of the Black Death
Black Death
in 1347, which greatly reduced the population, an order of Franciscan
Franciscan
monks established a presence in the city. Under Arab
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
Arab
majority before most of its Arab
Arab
inhabitants were expelled or fled during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.[4] The town was subsequently repopulated by Jewish
Jewish
immigrants. In 2001, 80% of the population were Jewish
Jewish
and 20% Arab
Arab
(16% Arab
Arab
Muslims and 4% Arab Christians). In recent years, 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.[5] A 2013 Israeli police report documented that the Central District ranks fourth among Israel's seven districts in terms of drug-related arrests.[6] Today, five prisons are located in Ramla, including the maximum-security Ayalon Prison.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Early Muslim
Muslim
Period 1.2 Crusader Period 1.3 Ottoman era 1.4 British Mandate era

1.4.1 1947/8 civil war

1.5 State of Israel

2 Earthquakes 3 Landmarks and notable buildings 4 Archaeology 5 Cave
Cave
with rare ecosystem 6 Demographics 7 Economy 8 Transportation 9 Education 10 Notable people 11 Twin towns—Sister cities 12 See also 13 References 14 Bibliography 15 External links

History Early Muslim
Muslim
Period According to the 9th-century Arab
Arab
geographer Ya'qubi, ar-Ramleh (Ramla) was founded in 716 by the governor of the Ummayad
Ummayad
District of Palestine (Jund Filastin), Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, brother and successor of Caliph
Caliph
Walid I. Its name was derived from the Arabic word raml (رمل), meaning sand.[7] 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 Ummayad
Ummayad
and Abbasid empires.[8] Ramla
Ramla
was the principal city and district capital almost until the arrival of the Crusaders
Crusaders
in the 11th century.[9] In the 8th century, the Ummayads built the White Mosque, which was hailed as the finest in the land, outside of Jerusalem. The remains of this mosque, flanked by a minaret added at a later date, can still be seen today. In the courtyard are underground water cisterns from this period.[10] Ramla
Ramla
was sometimes referred to as Filastin, in keeping with the common practice of referring to districts by the name of their main city.[11][12] The 10th-century geographer al-Muqaddasi ("the Jerusalemite") describes Ramla
Ramla
at the peak of its prosperity:

"It is a fine city, and well built; its water is good and plentiful; it fruits are abundant. It combines manifold advantages, situated as it is in the midst of beautiful villages and lordly towns, near to holy places and pleasant hamlets. Commerce here is prosperous, and the markets excellent...The bread is of the best and the whitest. The lands are well favoured above all others, and the fruits are the most luscious. This capital stands among fruitful fields, walled towns and serviceable hospices...".[13]

Ramla's economic importance, shared with the neighboring city of Lydda, was based on its strategic location. Ramla
Ramla
was at the intersection of two major roads, one linking Egypt
Egypt
with Syria (the so-called "Via Maris") and the other linking Jerusalem
Jerusalem
with the coast.[14] In 1068 a ground-rupturing earthquake centered in Wadi Arabah
Arabah
left Ramla
Ramla
totally destroyed, killing some 15,000-25,000 inhabitants. The city lay abandoned for four years and never fully recovered it previous status.[15] Crusader Period The armies of the First Crusade
First Crusade
took the hastily evacuated town without a fight. In the early years of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
though, control over this strategic location led to three consecutive battles between the Crusaders
Crusaders
and Egyptian armies from Ascalon. As Crusader rule stabilized, Ramla
Ramla
became the seat of a seigneury in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
(the Lordship of Ramla within the County of Jaffa
Jaffa
and Ascalon). It was a city of some economic significance and an important way station for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. The Crusaders
Crusaders
identified it with the biblical Ramathaim and called it Arimathea.[16][17]

Ramla, 1487, by Conrad Grünenberg

Around 1163, rabbi 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."[18] Ottoman era

1698 scene by Cornelis de Bruijn

Ramleh, by Félix Bonfils, pre-1885

In the early days of the Ottoman period, in 1548, 528 Muslim
Muslim
families and 82 Christian families were living in Ramla.[19][20] On March 2, 1799, Napoleon
Napoleon
Bonaparte occupied Ramla
Ramla
during his unsuccessful bid to conquer Palestine, using the Franciscan
Franciscan
hospice as his headquarters.[21] The village appeared as Ramleh on the map of Pierre Jacotin
Pierre Jacotin
compiled during this campaign.[22] 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.[23] In 1863 Victor Guérin
Victor Guérin
noted that the Latin (Catholic) population was reduced to two priests and 50 parishioners.[24] In 1869, the population was given as 3,460; 3000 Muslims, 400 Greek Orthodox and 60 Catholics.[25] 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."[26] Expansion began only at the end of the 19th century.[27] In 1889, 31 Jewish
Jewish
worker families settled in the town, which had no Jewish
Jewish
population at the time.[28] British Mandate era In the 1922 census of Palestine
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.[29] The Christian were 1,226 Orthodox, 2 Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites), 150 Roman Catholics, 8 Melchites, 4 Maronite, 15 Armenian, 2 Abyssinian Church and 36 Anglicans.[30] It had creased in the 1931 census to 10,347; 8,157 Muslims, 5 Jews, 2,194 Christians and 2 Druze, in a total of 2339 houses.[31] Ramla
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 neighboring 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”.[32] Sheikh Mustafa Khairi was mayor of Ramla
Ramla
from 1920 to 1947.[33] The 1945/46 survey gives 'Ramle' a population of 15,160; of whom 11,900 were Muslim
Muslim
and 3,260 Christian.[34]

View of Ramla

1947/8 civil war Main article: 1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle ;

Ramleh from air, 1948

Ramleh mosque 1948 from Palmach archive

A second mosque in Ramleh, 1948, from the Palmach archive

Ramla
Ramla
was part of the territory allotted to a proposed Arab
Arab
state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan.[35] However, Ramla's geographical location and its strategic position on the main supply route to Jerusalem
Jerusalem
made it a point of contention during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A bomb by the Jewish
Jewish
militia group Irgun
Irgun
went off in the Ramla market on February 18, killing 7 residents and injuring 45.[36][37] After a number of unsuccessful raids on Ramla, the Israeli army launched Operation Dani. Ramla
Ramla
was captured on 12–12 July 1948, a few days after the capture of Lydda. The Arab
Arab
resistance surrendered on July 12,[38] and most of the remaining inhabitants were driven out on the orders of David Ben-Gurion.[39] A disputed claim, advanced by scholars including Ilan Pappé, characterizes this as ethnic cleansing.[40] After the Israeli capture, some 1,000 Arabs remained in Ramla, and more were transferred to the town by the IDF from outlying Arab
Arab
settlements which the military wanted emptied. As of 2000, the total population of Arab
Arab
refugees and their descendents with origins in Ramla
Ramla
was estimated by Benny Morris
Benny Morris
and other historians at 635,000. State of Israel Ramla
Ramla
became a mixed Jewish- Arab
Arab
town within the state of Israel. Arab homes of those who left in Ramla
Ramla
were given by the Israeli government to Jewish
Jewish
immigrants arriving at this time.[citation needed] In February 1949, the Jewish
Jewish
population was over 6,000. Ramla
Ramla
remained economically depressed over the next two decades, although the population steadily mounted, reaching 34,000 by 1972.[41] In 2015, Ramla
Ramla
had one of Israel's highest crime rates.[42] Earthquakes The city suffered severe damage from earthquakes in 1033, 1068, 1070, 1546, and 1927.[43] Landmarks and notable buildings

Tower of Ramla, built in the 13th century

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
Caliph
Suleiman in the 8th century, of which only remnants remain today.[44] The tower is six stories high, with a spiral staircase of 119 steps.[45] The Hospice of St. Nicodemus
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
Franciscan
church. Napoleon
Napoleon
used the hospice as his headquarters during his Palestine campaign in 1799. The Ramla
Ramla
Museum is housed in the former municipal headquarters of the British Mandatory authorities. The building, from 1922, incorporates elements of Arab
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 Pool of Arches, an underground water cistern, is currently under restoration. Also known as St. Helen’s Pool and Bīr al-Anezīya, it was built during the reign of the caliph Haroun al-Rashid in 789 AD (the early Islamic period) to provide Ramla
Ramla
with a steady supply of water.[46] Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery
Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery
is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in Israel. The Giv'on immigration detention centre is located in Ramla. Archaeology A tradition reported by Ishtori Haparchi
Ishtori Haparchi
(1280–1355) and other early Jewish
Jewish
writers is that Ramla
Ramla
was the biblical Gath of the Philistines.[47][48] Initial archaeological claims seemed to indicate that Ramla
Ramla
was not built on the site of an ancient city,[49] although in recent years the ruins of an old city site were uncovered on the southern outskirts of Ramla.[50] Earlier, Mazar had proposed that ancient Gath lay at a site Ras Abu Hamid east of Ramla.[51] Avi-Yonah, however, considered that to be a different Gath, usually now called Gath-Gittaim.[52] This view is also supported by other scholars, those holding that there was, both, a Geth (believed to be Tell es-Safi) and Gath-Rimmon (in or near Ramla).[53][54] Archaeological excavations in Ramla
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.[55] Cave
Cave
with rare ecosystem Main article: Ayalon Cave In May 2006, a cave was discovered in Ramla
Ramla
which sustains a most seldom 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
Ramla
accidentally broke into the subterranean 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.[56] One of the finds was an eyeless scorpion, given the name Akrav israchanani honoring the researchers who identified it, Israel
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 Ayyalon Cave
Cave
has been dubbed by journalists, several of them unknown to science.[57] Demographics

Historical population

Year Pop. ±% p.a.

1945 15,300 —    

1972 34,000 +3.00%

2001 62,000 +2.09%

2004 63,462 +0.78%

2009 65,800 +0.73%

2014 72,293 +1.90%

According to the Israel
Israel
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), a total of 63,462 people were living in Ramla
Ramla
at the end of 2004. In 2001, the ethnic makeup of the city was 80% Jewish, 20% Arab
Arab
(16% Muslim
Muslim
Arabs and 4% Christian Arabs).[58] Ramla
Ramla
is the center of Karaite Judaism
Karaite Judaism
in Israel.[59] Economy According to CBS data, there were 21,000 salaried workers and 1,700 self-employed persons in Ramla
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
Israel
Cement Enterprises, Israel's sole producer of cement, maintains its flagship factory in Ramla.[60] Transportation

Original Ramla
Ramla
station building, circa 1930

Ramla Railway Station
Ramla Railway Station
provides an hourly service on the Israel Railways Tel Aviv– Jerusalem
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.[61] It was most recently reopened on April 12, 2003 after having been rebuilt in a new location closer to the town's center. Education 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
Jewish
schools are run by Jewish
Jewish
orthodox organisations. The Arabs, both Muslims and Christian, increasingly depend on 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 Open House in Ramla
Ramla
is a preschool and daycare center for Arab
Arab
and Jewish
Jewish
children. In the afternoons, Open House runs extracurricular coexistence programs for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim
Muslim
children.[62] Notable people

Moni Moshonov

Ron Atias, taekwondo athlete who represented Israel
Israel
at the 2016 Summer Olympics Khalil al-Wazir
Khalil al-Wazir
a.k.a. Abu Jihad: Palestinian Arab
Arab
co-founder of the Fatah
Fatah
organization Michael Fanous: peace activist[63] Amir Hadad: tennis player[64] Yaqub al-Ghusayn: Arab
Arab
nationalist leader of Youth Congress Party Barno Itzhakova: Tajik vocalist, immigrated to Ramla
Ramla
in 1991 Moni Moshonov: (born 1951), actor and comedian Yishai Oliel (born 2000): tennis player Shay Tubali: writer[65] Khayr al-Din al-Ramli: 17th-century Islamic legal scholar Elias Abuelazam: serial killer

Twin towns—Sister cities Ramla
Ramla
is twinned with:

Kansas City, Missouri Vaughan, Ontario, Canada Moers, Germany Daugavpils, Latvia Kielce, Poland Mek'ele, Ethiopia Vyborg, Russia Chelyabinsk, Russia Feodosiya, Ukraine Khashuri, Georgia

See also

Israel
Israel
portal

References

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On whether what occurred in Lydda and Ramle constituted ethnic cleansing: Morris 2008, p. 408: "although an atmosphere of what would later be called ethnic cleansing prevailed during critical months, transfer never became a general or declared Zionist policy. Thus, by war's end, even though much of the country had been 'cleansed' of Arabs, other parts of the country—notably central Galilee—were left with substantial Muslim
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Rule. British Archaeological Reports. ISBN 1841718211.  Pococke, Richard (1745). A description of the East, and some other countries. 2. London: Printed for the author, by W. Bowyer.  (Pococke, 1745, vol 2, p. 4; cited in Robinson and Smith, vol. 3, 1841, p. 233) Pilger, John (2011). Freedom Next Time. Random House. ISBN 1407083864.  Pringle, Denys (1998). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: L-Z (excluding Tyre). II. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 39037 0.  Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.  Strange, le, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ramla.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ramla.

Official site (in Hebrew) "A Dangerous Tour at Ramle", by Eitan Bronstein Portal
Portal
Ramla Israel
Israel
Service Corps: Ramla
Ramla
Community Involvement The Tower of Ramla, 1877 Survey of Western Palestine, Map 13: IAA, Wikimedia commons

v t e

Central District of Israel

Cities

El'ad Giv'at Shmuel Hod HaSharon Kafr Qasim Kfar Saba Kfar Yona Lod Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut Ness Ziona Netanya Petah Tikva Qalansawe Ra'anana Ramla Rehovot Rishon LeZion Rosh HaAyin Tayibe Tira Yavne Yehud-Monosson

Local councils

Be'er Ya'akov Beit Dagan Bnei Ayish Elyakhin Even Yehuda Gan Yavne Ganei Tikva Gedera Jaljulia Kafr Bara Kiryat Ekron Kokhav Ya'ir Mazkeret Batya Pardesiya Savyon Shoham Tel Mond Tzoran-Kadima Zemer

Regional councils

Brenner Gan Raveh Gederot Gezer Drom HaSharon Hefer Valley Hevel Modi'in Hevel Yavne Hof HaSharon Lev HaSharon Lod
Lod
Valley Nahal Sorek

Boroughs

Neve Monosson Maccabim-Re'ut

See also

Gush Dan Sharon plain

Other sub-divisions: Haifa
Haifa
District Jerusalem
Jerusalem
District Judea and Samaria Area Northern District Southern District Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
District

v t e

Israeli cities with a 50,000+ population

200,000 and more

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
(West) Tel Aviv Haifa Rishon LeZion Ashdod Petah Tikva Netanya Beersheba

100,000–199,999

Holon Bnei Brak Ramat Gan Bat Yam Rehovot Ashkelon

50,000–99,999

Herzliya Kfar Saba Ra'anana Hadera Beit Shemesh Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut Lod Nazareth Ramla Givatayim Rahat Nahariya Kiryat Ata Hod HaSharon Umm al-Fahm Kiryat Gat Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit
(located in the West Bank)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 267901973 GND: 4226805-9 BNF:

.