Mevaseret Zion

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Mevaseret Zion
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן
 • ISO 259 Mbaśśert Çiyon
 • Also spelled Mevasseret Ziyyon (official)
View of Mevaseret from Rekhes Halilim
View of Mevaseret from Rekhes Halilim
Official logo of Mevaseret Zion
Logo
Mevaseret Zion is located in Israel
Mevaseret Zion
Mevaseret Zion
Coordinates: 31°48′N 35°9′E / 31.800°N 35.150°E / 31.800; 35.150Coordinates: 31°48′N 35°9′E / 31.800°N 35.150°E / 31.800; 35.150
District Jerusalem
Founded 1951
Government
 • Type Local council
 • Head of Municipality Yoram Shimon
Area
 • Total 6,390 dunams (6.39 km2 or 2.47 sq mi)
Population (2006)[1]
 • Total 22,800
Name meaning Herald of Zion (from Isaiah 40:9)

Mevaseret Zion (Hebrew: מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן) is a suburb of Jerusalem, Israel. Mevaseret Zion is composed of two distinct townships, Maoz Zion and Mevaseret Yerushalayim—under the jurisdiction of one local council. The newer neighborhoods of Mevaseret Zion were not part of either settlement.

Mevaseret Zion is located on a mountain ridge 750 meters above sea level, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is ten kilometers from the city, straddling both sides of the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway. It has a population of 22,800 residents distributed over 15 neighborhoods. It is the wealthiest municipality per capita in the Jerusalem District. Mevaseret Zion's current Mayor is Yoram Shimon.

History[edit]

Due to its strategic location, settlement in the area of Mevaseret Zion goes back to antiquity. The Romans built a fortress there, known as Castellum.[citation needed] On the ruins of this fortress, the Crusaders built a castle, Castellum Belveer, of which no trace remains.[2] Belveer is mentioned in a letter from Eraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, dated September 1187, in which he describes the slaughter of Christians "by the sword of Mafumetus the Unbeliever and his evil worshipper Saladin" and the Arab conquest of the town, which was renamed al-Qastal.[3]

During the British Mandate of Palestine, the British referred to this district as "The Castle", dropping the "t" as is customary in English. The Arabs called it "al-Qastal", pronouncing the "t." The Jews called it "Hacastel" ("the Castel").

In the 1948 Palestine War, battles took place here as Arabs and Jews fought for control of Qastal, which overlooked the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. Qastal exchanged hands several times in the course of the fighting. The tides turned when the Arab commander Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni was killed. Many of the Arabs left their positions to attend al-Husayni's funeral at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, April 9. That same day, Qastal fell to the Yishuv forces, virtually unopposed.[4]

View of Maoz Zion from Castel National Park

Maoz Zion ("Stronghold of Zion") was established in 1951 to house new immigrants from Iraq, Kurdistan, North Africa and Iran who had been living in a ma'abara, or transit camp, at the foot of the Castel. Many were employed at the nearby Solel Boneh stone quarry.

Mevaseret Yerushalayim was established east of Ma'oz Zion in 1956 by Jewish immigrants from North Africa. It was located on a ridge near the armistice line, north of Motza. The residents worked in the fruit orchards in the Arazim Valley.[5]

In 1963, Maoz Zion and Mevaseret Yerushalayim formed a joint local council, which was called Mevaseret Zion. The source of the name comes from the Book of Isaiah: "על הר גבוה עלי לך מבשרת ציון" ("Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion") (Isaiah 40:9).

Mevaseret Zion water tower

Institutions and landmarks[edit]

Har'el shopping mall is located at the entrance to Mevaseret Zion, near the Har'el interchange. The mall serves the residents of Mevaseret Zion, Maoz Zion, the surrounding communities, as well as travelers on Route 1. The shopping mall includes some 80 businesses, including Golf, s.wear, and Magnolia Jewelers.

The world's first kosher McDonalds opened there in 1995.[6]

Education[edit]

Mevasseret Zion has 3 secular grade schools, one junior-high school and a high school, "Tichon Har'el". It also holds two religious schools.

Yeshivat Sha'arei Mevasseret Zion is located in Mevasseret Zion. It includes a kollel, mostly catering to adult Israeli men, and a gap year program for North American high school graduates.

Archaeology[edit]

In April-May 2003, an archeological salvage dig carried out on Nahal Sorek Street in Mevaseret Zion unearthed an ancient burial cave dating from the mid-Second Temple Period.[7]The ruins of a medieval structure, Khirbet Beit Mizza, are located in Mevaseret Zion, [8]believed to be the site of the biblical town of Motza mentioned in the Book of Joshua 18:26.[9]

Sports[edit]

Mevasseret Zion holds both a soccer team and a basketball team, both playing for low leagues.

Hapoel Mevasseret Zion, plays at Israel´s Liga Gimel, Israel's 5th league. Started as Hapoel Mevasseret Zion and then united with Ironi Abu Ghosh, and became the first Israeli team mixed from an Arab village and a Jewish town. In 2007 Mevasseret-Abu Ghosh was united with Hapoel Katamon, and then separated again. The team is built of Arab and Jewish players, and participated in international friendly tournaments for peace. The team plays in local soccer field called "Hamigrash Hayarok" Which means in Hebrew, the green field. The capacity is about 200 people.

Hapoel Mevasseret Zion basketball plays also for Liga Bet. The team plays in the local basketball court with a capacity of 300 seats.

Notable residents[edit]

Maoz Zion panorama

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]