|• Hebrew||קִרְיַת גַּת|
|• ISO 259||Qiryat Gat|
|• Mayor||Aviram Dahari|
|• Total||17,102 dunams (17.102 km2 or 6.603 sq mi)|
Kiryat Gat (Hebrew: קִרְיַת גַּת), is a city in the Southern District of Israel. It lies 56 kilometres (35 mi) south of Tel Aviv, 43 kilometres (27 mi) north of Beersheba, 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Gaza, and 68 kilometres (42 mi) from Jerusalem. At the end of 2012, the city had a total population of 48,275.
Kiryat Gat is named for Gath, one of the five major cities of the Philistines. In Hebrew, "gat" means "winepress". In the 1950s, archaeologists found ruins at a nearby tell which were mistaken for the Philistine city of Gath. In subsequent years, scholars have raised several suppositions about the location of the ancient city. Some think that it may have been thirteen kilometers (8.1 miles) to the northeast at Tel es-Safi, although the most accepted view by scholars today is that the biblical Gath was located where Ramla is now built, based on a medieval Jewish tradition passed down by Ishtori Haparchi. Gath was the hometown of the biblical giant Goliath the Gittite.
Kiryat Gat was established in 1955 as a development town by 18 families from Morocco. It is situated on land which formerly belonged to the village of Iraq al-Manshiyya, which was depopulated in 1948. The population rose from 4,400 inhabitants in 1958 to 17,000 in 1969, mostly Jewish immigrants from North Africa. The economy was initially based on processing the agricultural produce of the Lachish region, such as cotton and wool. In December 1972, Kiryat Gat's municipal status was upgraded and it became Israel's 31st city.
During the 1990s, the mass immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel brought many new residents to the town and its population grew to 42,500 by 1995. The development of the Rabin industrial zone on the eastern edge of the city, and the opening of Highway 6 further improved the economy of the city.
In 2012, the ethnic makeup of the city was 93.8 percent Jewish with no significant Arab minority. In its early years, Kiryat Gat was populated mainly by Jews of Sephardi/Mizrahi origin. Since the mass immigration of Soviet Jews, approximately one third of the inhabitants hail from the former Soviet Union.
The Polgat textile factory was the main employer in the town until it closed in the 1990s. In 1999, Intel opened a chip fabrication plant, known as Fab 18, to produce Pentium 4 chips and flash memories. Intel received a grant of $525 million from the Israeli government to build the plant. In February 2006, the cornerstone was laid for Intel's second Kiryat Gat plant, Fab 28. Despite this, Kiryat Gat has one of Israel's highest unemployment rates.
Kiryat Gat is served by the Kiryat Gat Railway Station on the Tel Aviv - Be'er Sheva inter-city line of Israel Railways. Kiryat Gat is situated between two major highways, Highway 40 to the west of the town and Highway 6.
Schools and education
Kiryat Gat has 25 schools with an enrollment of 10,676. Of these schools, 18 are elementary schools with a student population of 5,498, and 13 are high schools with a student population of 5,178. In 2001, 54.7% of Kiryat Gat's 12th grade students graduated with a matriculation certificate. Kiryat Gat has a Pedagogic Center, science centers, a computerized library and a center devoted to industry, art and technology. In 2012, a high school student from Kiryat Gat won first prize in the First Step to Nobel Prize in Physics competition.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Kiryat Gat is twinned with:
- Tali Fahima (born 1976), left-wing activist
- Adi Nes (born 1966), photographer
- Miri Regev (born 1965), politician and a former Brigadier General
- Ninet Tayeb (born 1983), singer and actress
- "Locality File" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Ishtori Haparchi, Kaphtor u'ferach, vol. II, chapter 11, s.v. ויבנה בארץ פלשתים, (3rd edition) Jerusalem 2007, p. 78 (Hebrew); Carta's Official Guide to Israel, Jerusalem 1983, s.v. Ramla; Encyclopaedia of Eretz Yisrael, s.v. גת (Hebrew); Michael Avi-Yonah, The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, p. 63
- Vilnay, Zev (1970). The Guide to Israel. Jerusalem, Israel: Hamakor Press. p. 250.
- Also named Goliath of Gath 1sam 17
- "Partnership 2000, Kiryat Gat". Jewish United Fund. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Khalidi (1992), p. 108
- "Kiryat Gat- Municipality Profile" (PDF) (in Hebrew). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
- "הרשויות המקומיות בישראל 2012, פרסום מס' 1573. קריית גת Local Authorities in Israel 2012, Publication No. 1573. Kiryat Gat". הלשכה המרכזית לסטטיסטיקה Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2014-07-16.(Hebrew)
- Rosenthal, Donna (2003). The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land. New York: Free Press. pp. 124–126. ISBN 0-684-86973-X.
- Gazzar, Brenda (2006-01-05). "Intel's Inside". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- Kiryat Gat teen wins first prize in international physics competition, Haaretz
- "Buffalo, New York & Kiryat Gat, Israel". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
- "Градови побратими". Град Крушевац. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
- Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
- Official website (Hebrew)
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