Bat Yam

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Bat Yam
בַּת יָם
City (from 1958)
Bat Yam coast.jpg
Flag of Bat Yam
Official logo of Bat Yam
Bat Yam is located in Israel
Bat Yam
Bat Yam
Bat Yam is located in Central Israel
Bat Yam
Bat Yam
Coordinates: 32°01′N 34°45′E / 32.017°N 34.750°E / 32.017; 34.750Coordinates: 32°01′N 34°45′E / 32.017°N 34.750°E / 32.017; 34.750
Country Israel
District Tel Aviv
 • MayorTzvika Brot
 • Total8,160 dunams (8.16 km2 or 3.15 sq mi)
37 m (121 ft)
 • Total129,012
 • Density16,000/km2 (41,000/sq mi)
Name meaninglit. 'Daughter of the sea', also 'mermaid'

Bat Yam (Hebrew: בַּת יָם or בַּת־יָם(audio) ) is a city located on Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast, on the Central Coastal Plain just south of Tel Aviv. It is part of the Gush Dan metropolitan area and the Tel Aviv District. In 2020, it had a population of 160,000.[2]


Historical population
Source: CBS[3]

British Mandate[edit]

Bat Yam, originally Bayit VeGan (“House and Garden”),[4] was founded in 1919 by the Bayit VeGan homeowners association, affiliated with the Mizrachi movement. The association was formed to establish a religious garden suburb in Jaffa. By March 1920, it had 400 members. In 1921, 1,500 dunams (370 acres) of land were purchased, of which 1,400 were formally registered by 1923.[citation needed] In September 1924, an urban blueprint was approved by the association. In early 1926, the plots were divided up and a lottery was held to determine who would build first. By October 1926, roads and water supply were complete. Six families settled on the land in cabins. According to a report in 1927, ten houses were under construction. A synagogue was dedicated in October 1928. By then there were 13 families living in Bat Yam and a total of 20 houses.[citation needed]

In the wake of the 1929 Arab riots, the residents were evacuated by the British army and their homes were turned into barracks. The soldiers left at the end of 1931. In 1932, the residents began to return and were joined by others. In November 1933, 85 families were living in the neighborhood. By early 1936, there were 300 homes and a population of 140. Local industry began to develop, a movie theatre opened and a hotel was established. The first school, named after Tachkemoni, was founded in 1936. The first headmaster was Haim Baruch Friedman.[5]

In December 1936, Bayit VeGan was declared a local council. It encompassed 3,500 dunams, 370 dunams of which were Arab-owned. In December 1937, the name was formally changed to Bat Yam (literally “daughter of the sea”).[6] By 1945, 2,000 Jews were living in Bat Yam.[7] In 1936–1939, the town was cut off from Tel Aviv because the road ran through Jaffa, leading to the construction of a new road via Holon. According to the Jewish National Fund, the population had risen to 4,000 by 1947.[8]

Following the vote in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the fighting that accompanied the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, violent incidents, including sniping, were reported by the residents of Bat Yam.[8][9]

State of Israel[edit]

After the establishment of the state in 1948, Bat Yam grew dramatically due to mass immigration. It gained city status in 1958.[10]


A small Hasidic enclave of Bobover Hasidim, known as Kiryat Bobov, was established in 1958.[11]

The vast majority of Israelis of Vietnamese origin live in Bat Yam.[12]

Local government[edit]

In the early 2000s, after financial scandals under the leadership of Yehoshua Sagi, the city was on the brink of bankruptcy. In 2003, he was replaced by Shlomo Lahiani, founder of the Bat Yam Berosh Muram (Bat Yam Heads-Up) party. In 2008, he was re-elected with 86% of the vote.[13] In 2014, Lahiani pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of public trust after being charged with bribery and income tax fraud.[14] He was replaced by Yossi Bachar.[15]

In 2014, after the Bat Yam municipality petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court, Interior Minister Gideon Saar appointed a steering committee to explore the possibility of incorporating the city as part of Tel Aviv-Yafo as a way of reviving its stagnant economy. Later that year, when Gideon Sa’ar was replaced by Gilad Erdan, a decision was reached to transfer funding to Bat Yam directly from the state budget. The plan for unification was postponed until the next municipal elections in 2023. In 2019, Bat Yam's current mayor, Tzvika Brot, said he opposed the union with Tel Aviv.[16]

Council heads and mayors[edit]

Bat Yam town hall
Bat Yam mayor Tzvika Brot
Type Name Years
Head of council Ben-Zion Mintz 1936–37
Head of council Yisrael Ben Zion 1937–39
Head of council Yisrael Rabinovich-Teomim 1939–43
Head of council Eliav Levai 1943–50
Head of council David Ben Ari 1950–58
Mayor David Ben Ari 1958–63
Mayor Menachem Rothschild 1963–73
Mayor Yitzhak Walker 1973–77
Mayor David Mesika 1977–78
Mayor Menachem Rothschild 1978–83
Mayor Ehud Kinamon 1983–93
Mayor Yehoshua Sagi 1993–2003
Mayor Shlomo Lahiani 2003–14
Mayor Yossi Bachar 2014–18
Mayor Tzvika Brot 2018–date
Source: Bat Yam's mayors on the official city website

Urban development[edit]

Residential towers in Bat Yam

In 2016, the municipality approved an urban renewal plan in the Ramat Hanasi neighborhood, adding 950 high-end apartments.[17]

According to Bat Yam mayor Tzvika Brot, the city is looking for creative solutions to rebuild the city and preserve its economic independence.[18] The city has six beaches and a 3.2 kilometer (2 mile) long promenade along the Mediterranean coast that connects to the Tel Aviv boardwalk.[2]

According to a report in Ynet, Bat Yam has become a countrywide leader in urban renewal. Many of the city's older buildings are undergoing construction to strengthen their foundations, add floors and improve their appearance, and dozens of parks are being beautified and made accessible to visitors with disabilities.[19]

Health care[edit]

The Yehuda Abarbanel Mental Health Center is a psychiatric hospital founded in 1944 by the British Mandate authorities. Since the establishment of the state, it had been administered by the Israeli Ministry of Health. The hospital, named for Judah Abravanel, a Portuguese rabbi, Jewish philosopher and physician in the Middle Ages, provides hospitalization and ambulatory services to residents of Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Holon and Bat Yam coping with mental illness.[20]


Bat Yam mayor Tzvika Brot at local kindergarten

In 2008, the Weitzman-Albert Education Initiative headed by Jane Gershon, wife of fashion shoe designer Stuart Weitzman invested over $2 million in Bat Yam's Harel Elementary School, which received a top Education Ministry award for academic achievement and immigrant integration.[21]

In 2017, the percentage of high school students eligible for a bagrut matriculation certificate reached 86.3%, compared to the 68.2% national average. The number of high school students doing a five-point exam in mathematics is also on the rise thanks to a program inaugurated in 2015 in cooperation with the Donald J. Trump Foundation and Alliance Israélite Universelle to encourage excellence in math.[22]

Art and culture[edit]

Bat Yam mall

In the heart of Bat Yam is a three-museum complex known as MoBY. The main building, David Ben-Ari Museum for Contemporary art was established in 1961. The Rybak House and the Sholem Asch Museum house MoBY’s permanent collections and offer educational programs.[23] The Bat Yam Heritage Museum is adjacent to the municipal library,

The Bat Yam amphitheatre, also built in the 1960s near the beach, is a venue for concerts and public events. The International Street Theater Festival, the largest open-space performance art celebration in Israel, is an annual summer event in Bat Yam.[24]

The Ryback House showcases the work of Issachar Ber Ryback. The Yiddish writer Sholom Asch, who lived in Bat Yam in his later years, willed his home to the Bat Yam municipality, which turned it into museum.[25]

In 2008 the Bat-Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, which is devoted to re-examining urban spaces through art and architecture, was held in Bat Yam. In 2010, the second Biennale, "Timing" took place,[26] which featured site-specific installations from designers and architects from around the world.[27]

The Center for Urbanism and Mediterranean Culture is a research institute devoted to the creation of a new discourse in Israeli urban space. The head of the center is veteran Haaretz correspondent Avirama Golan.[28]

The city has two shopping malls, Kanyon Bat Yam, which opened in 1993, and Kanyon Bat Yamon.


In September 2011, an iron anchor dating to the Byzantine period was discovered off the coast of Bat Yam. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, it was likely that of a boat that sank in a storm about 1,700 years ago and may be proof of an unknown ancient harbor on the coast.[29]


Bat Yam’s old city hall, designed by Israeli architect Zvi Hecker in the 1960s, is a modernist building of reinforced concrete in the shape of an inverted ziggurat.[30] The design was chosen in a competition in 1959 which drew entries from the leading architectural firms in Israel.[31]


Boardwalk, Bat Yam beach, Israel

The location of Bat Yam on the Mediterranean makes it popular with beach-goers. Bat Yam has a 3.2 km (2 mi) long promenade along the ocean lined with pubs and restaurants. The city has six beaches, one of which is protected by a breakwater.

Bat Yam's Al Gal beach is a popular surfing spot with fairly consistent surf conditions, especially during the summer months.[32] Both Al Gal and Hagolshim are straight, exposed dune-backed beaches.[33]


Two stations opened in the city in 2011 as part of the new Tel Aviv – Rishon LeZion West line: Bat Yam-Yoseftal Railway Station and Bat Yam-Komemiyut Railway Station.[34] Bat Yam will be served by several new stations on both the Red Line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail and the Metro line M3. The city will be the terminus for both lines and the lines will meet at the new Yoseftal Station.

The city will be served by the Ayalon Route of the Ofnidan bike path network.[35]


The city's major football (soccer) club, Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam, currently plays in Liga Leumit, the second level of Israeli football.

International relations[edit]

Bat Yam is twinned with:

Panoramic image of Bat Yam from the Mediterranean

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Bat Yam – Israel's New Riviera". 17 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2020-12-04. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  3. ^ "Statistical Abstract of Israel 2012 – No. 63 Subject 2 – Table No. 15". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  4. ^ Cohen, Nir. "Territorial stigma formation in the Israeli city of Bat Yam, 1950-1953". Journal of Historical Geography. 39: 113–124. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2012.07.004. Archived from the original on 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  5. ^ "Rabbi Dr. Haim Baruch Friedman, 1900-1985". Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  6. ^ W. D. Battershill (1937). "Notice (23rd December 1937)". The Palestine Gazette. 745: 1287.
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  8. ^ a b Jewish National Fund (1949). Jewish Villages in Israel. Jerusalem: Hamadpis Liphshitz Press. p. 12.
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  16. ^ "MK Maklev visits Bat Yam, meeting with mayor and party activists". 25 March 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  17. ^ Bat Yam urban renewal plan approved Archived 2021-05-29 at the Wayback Machine, Globes
  18. ^ Government reviews plans for Bat Yam artificial island Archived 2019-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, Globes
  19. ^ "בת ים מובילה בהתחדשות עירונית". Ynet. 23 July 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  20. ^ "About Abarbanel". Archived from the original on 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  21. ^ NY fashionista adopts Bat Yam school Archived 2021-05-29 at the Wayback Machine, Jerusalem Post
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  23. ^ "About MoBY". Archived from the original on 2021-01-24. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  24. ^ "Midnight East: International Street Theater Festival". Archived from the original on 2020-10-21. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
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  30. ^ "Zvi Hecker". Archived from the original on 2020-07-25. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
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  32. ^ Surfing in Bat-Yam
  33. ^ Stormrider Guide to surfing Israel
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  35. ^ Liran Tetro (7 August 2019). "הדרך לגוש דן פתוחה: פרויקט אופנידן יצא לדרך וייסלל גם בבת ים" [The road to Gush Dan is open: The Ofnidan project was launched and will also be paved in Bat Yam]. Ynet myNet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 27 March 2021.
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External links[edit]