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Kiryat Shmona

Coordinates: 33°12′27″N 35°34′11″E / 33.20750°N 35.56972°E / 33.20750; 35.56972
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Kiryat Shmona
  • קִרְיַת שְׁמוֹנָה
  • كريات شمونه
City (from 1975)
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259Kiryat Šmona
 • Also spelledKiryat Shemona (official)
Official logo of Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona is located in Northeast Israel
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona is located in Israel
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona
Coordinates: 33°12′27″N 35°34′11″E / 33.20750°N 35.56972°E / 33.20750; 35.56972
Country Israel
FoundedMay 1949
 • MayorAvihay Shtern
 • Total9,960 dunams (9.96 km2 or 3.85 sq mi)
 • Total22,492
 • Density2,300/km2 (5,800/sq mi)
Postal code
Name meaningTown of Eight

Kiryat Shmona (Hebrew: קִרְיַת שְׁמוֹנָה, lit. Town of the Eight) is a city in the Northern District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley near the Lebanese border. The city was named after the eight people, including Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 in the Battle of Tel Hai.

In 2022 it had a population of 22,492,[1] the majority of whom are Jews, particularly of Moroccan descent. Located near the Israel–Lebanon border, Kiryat Shmona is Israel's northernmost city.


The town of Kiryat Shmona was established in 1949[2] on the site of the former Palestinian village al-Khalisa, whose inhabitants had fled after Safed was taken by the Haganah during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and an attempt by the village to come to an agreement with the Jewish authorities was rejected.[3] Literally The town of the Eight, Kiryat Shmona was named after eight Jewish militiamen, commanded by Joseph Trumpeldor, who had fallen in the 1920 Battle of Tel Hai during the Franco-Syrian War adjacent to the new town. It had originally been named Kiryat Yosef for Trumpeldor before the name was changed to Kiryat Shmona in June 1950.[4]

Initially the empty houses of Khalisa were used as a transit camp for Jewish immigrants and refugees who worked mainly in farming. The first residents were fourteen Yemenite Jews who arrived on July 18, 1949, and were followed by more Yemenite Jews a month later. By July 1951, the population had grown to nearly 4,000.[4] Relationships with nearby kibbutzes were often strained.[4]

In 1953, Kiryat Shmona was declared a development town.[5] In the first few years, growth was driven by the arrival of immigrants from Yemen and Romania, but later on, waves of immigrants from North Africa, in particular from Morocco, arrived. The city was built without a master plan, but rather neighborhood by neighborhood as waves of immigrants arrived.

Security Incidents[edit]

Kiryat Shmona in 1964

Kiryat Shmona's location close to the Lebanon makes it a target for rocket fire cross-border attacks.

On April 11, 1974, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, sent three members across the border from Lebanon to Kiryat Shmona. They killed eighteen residents of an apartment building, including many children, before being killed in an exchange of fire at the complex, which became known as the Kiryat Shmona massacre.[6]

The city continued to be the target of attacks, including Katyusha rocket attacks by the PLO in July 1981,[7] a Katyusha rocket attack by the PLO in March 1986 (killing a teacher and injuring four students and one adult),[8][9][10] and further Katyusha rocket attacks by Hezbollah during 1996's Operation Grapes of Wrath.[11]

On 24/25 June 1999 two residents were killed when Hezbollah fired a salvo of Katusha rockets into the centre of Kiryat Shimona. They were the first fatalities in a cross border attack since 1995 and came during massive Israeli air strikes across Lebanon which caused $52 million damage and killed eleven Lebanese.[12]

In spite of attacks from Lebanon, the population grew from 11,800 in 1972 to 15,100 in 1983.

In 2000–2006, the locals enjoyed relative peace but suffered from loud explosions every few weeks because of Hezbollah anti-aircraft cannons fired at IAF planes flying across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

During Israel's wars[edit]

During the 2006 Lebanon War, the city was again the target of Hezbollah Katyusha rocket attacks. Most of the city's residents left the area during the war, and the 5,000 who remained stayed in bomb shelters, turning the city into a ghost town.[13] During the war, a total of 1,012 Katyusha rockets hit Kiryat Shmona.

In the beginning of the Israel-Hamas War, the city was evacuated due to attacks by Hezbollah and Palestinian factions from Southern Lebanon.[14] During the war, there were 129 siren alerts throughout the city: 13 in the first month[15] of the war, 15 in the second month,[16] 18 in the third month.[17][18]

As of June 2024, the city has been significantly damaged due to Hezoballah missile attacks, causing constant fires that have decimated the area and resulted in nearly all of its inhabitants being displaced.


Manara cable car

Kiryat Shmona is located in the Finger of the Galilee next to Hula Valley, about 5 kilometres (3 miles) south and 2 km (1 mile) east of the Israel–Lebanon border. Its elevation is about 150 metres (492 feet) above sea level.[2]

The city is located above the Dead Sea Transform fault, and as a result, is one of the cities in Israel most at risk to earthquakes (along with Safed, Beit She'an, Tiberias, and Eilat).[19]


Kiryat Shmona has a mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa)[20] with hot, dry summers and mildly cool and rainy winters.

Climate data for Kiryat Shmona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 14.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.4
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 4.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 129
Average relative humidity (%) 75 73 68 64 59 58 61 65 63 61 61 70 65
Source: Climate-Data.org [20]


Park Hazahav

According to CBS, in 2001 the ethnic makeup of the city was 97.9% Jewish and other non-Arabs, without a significant Arab population. In 2001 there were 121 immigrants. The Jewish population of the town is largely of Sephardi and Mizrahi heritage, and many are industrial workers employed in local small industry and in neighboring kibbutzim.

According to CBS, in 2001 there were 10,800 males and 10,700 females. The population of the city was spread out, with 33.5% 19 years of age or younger, 19.8% between 20 and 29, 19.3% between 30 and 44, 15.3% from 45 to 59, 3.5% from 60 to 64, and 8.5% 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 1.8%.


According to CBS, as of 2000, in the city there were 8,303 salaried workers and 467 are self-employed. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried worker in the city is 4,306 shekels, a real change of 4.6% over the course of 2000. Salaried males have a mean monthly wage of 5,443 shekels (a real change of 7.1%) versus 3,065 shekels for females (a real change of −2.2%). The mean income for the self-employed is 6,769. There are 564 people who receive unemployment benefits and 1,655 people who receive an income guarantee.

The economy is based on consumer-oriented products such as communications, information technology, and electronics as well as agriculture on the surrounding lands and tourism.


The town has a cable car link with Manara above in the Naftali mountain range and also is home to an activity center and toboggan run located in the south of the town.

Kiryat Shmona Historical Museum, formerly the al-Khalsa Mosque

In the residential area there is an urban natural space called Park HaZahav. Zahav means "gold" in Hebrew; the park is named after the stream running through it – Ein Zahav Stream – the source of which is Ein Zahav ("golden spring"). Park HaZahav covers 11 hectares in the middle of the city. It comprises many diverse natural resources. In addition to intensive activity areas designated for leisure and play, and open to all, the park contains a diverse, protected, natural area comprising Ein Zahav Stream and HaTachanot Stream (Tachanot refers to two water mills [tachana=mill] which were active along this stream in the past), which flow through the middle of the park. These streams have created different aquatic habitats, including shallow sections, rapids, deep sections and pools that support diverse riparian vegetation that has developed with time into a riparian forest. This isn't common in Israel. The park has a trail that goes through the forest and along the stream. Included in the park are different gardening initiatives by local volunteers, a picnic area, and a playground. The park is used for educational purposes by the community.

Education and religious institutions[edit]

Tel Hai Academic College

According to CBS, there are 12 schools and 4,339 students in the city. They are spread out, as 9 elementary schools and 2,355 elementary school students, and 6 high schools and 1,984 high school students. 49.3% of 12th grade students were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001.

The Tel-Hai Academic College is a college located near Kibbutz Kfar Giladi and north of Kiryat Shmona. The college offers academic and continuing education programs for approximately 4,500 students, 70 percent of whom come from outside the Galilee. Minorities comprise about 10 percent of the student body. The college offers degrees in life sciences, social sciences, computer science and the humanities.

Rabbi Zephaniah Drori serves as the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Shmona as well as heading the Kiryat Shmoneh Hesder Yeshivah.

Health care[edit]

Kiryat Shmona has an urgent care clinic with an emergency room that serves the city and nearby communities. It provides services in the areas of surgery, internal medicine, orthopedics, trauma, neurology, gynecology, and psychiatry.[21] There are also a few outpatient clinics located in the city.[22]


Kiryat Shmona is the smallest city in Israel with a top flight football club, Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Formed by a merger of Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Kiryat Shmona in 2000, the club won promotion to the top division for the first time at the end of the 2006–07 season, and won the Israeli Premier League Championship in 2011–2012.

The town is home to one of the 14 Israel Tennis Centers (ITC). These Centers throughout Israel teach children life skills through tennis. The Centers are primarily funded through donations. The Israel Children's Centers in the United States, and the Canada Israel Children's Centres are largely responsible for the funding of the Tennis Centers, which strive to never turn a child away due to financial need.

Panorama of central Kiryat Shmona


Acre-Karmiel-Kiryat Shmona Rail line project plan

Kiryat Shmona is located at the junction of two major national highways, Highway 90 and Highway 99. Kiryat Shmona is located near the Northern terminus of the North-South Highway 90. Highway 90, "Israel's longest road", connects Eilat in the extreme south of the Country, running along Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, running through the Occupied West Bank, to Kiryat Shmona in the northern extreme. The highway terminates about 8 km further north, at the Lebanese border at the town of Metula. Highway 99, Israel's northern-most East-West Highway, starts from Kiryat Shmona and travels East, into the occupied Golan. The highway passes the depopulated Syrian village of Banias, and connects to the occupied Druze Syrian town of Mas'ade. The highway also serves an important tourist function, as it provides access for Israelis to winter sport facilities at the slopes of Mount Hermon.

The Egged Bus Company provides services along 26 inner city bus routes in Kiryat Shmona. Egged Bus Company, along with Nateev Express, connect Kiryat Shmona to the surrounding Jewish and Arab localities. "Golan Public Transport" connects Kiryat Shmona to Jewish and Syrian Arab localities in the occupied Golan Heights. Egged Bus Company also provides long-distance services to cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the center of the country.[23]

Currently, Kiryat Shmona is not served by Israel Railways or any other sort of rail transport. There is an approved project to extend the Acre-Karmiel passenger rail line to Safed and Kiryat Shmona. The finalized plan was submitted for review in June 2022. The rail line will connect Kiryat Shmona to Safed (Tzahar), Karmiel, Haifa, and further south to the economic and population core of the Country at Gush Dan (Greater Tel Aviv). The rail line project itself has been subject to criticism. One criticism involves accusation of discrimination in planning against Arab citizens of Israel, specifically that despite being a rail line in the Galilee, a region where more than half the population are Palestinian-Arab, no stations that will serve any of the Arab localities of the region is proposed.[24] Same situation exists along the existing Acre-Karmiel portion of the line.[24] Furthermore, residents of Palestinian villages along the path of the railway line, specifically residents of the village of Nahf, charge that the proposed route of the railway line to Kiryat Shmona will result either in confiscation, or in imposition of a construction ban on 10% of the land area of the village, a village that is overcrowded and has a limited development space as it is.[25] In addition, there are also criticisms with respect to the proposed placement of Kiryat Shmona Train Station. The station is proposed to be located outside of the urban area of the city, along local road "9779". A large parking space is proposed for the station as well. However, critics state that the location of the station will force the residents to either continue to rely on their private vehicles, or to the inconvenience of waiting for urban bus lines as opposed to simply walking.[24]

Notable people[edit]

Dudi Sela

Twin towns[edit]

Kiryat Shmona is twinned with:


  1. ^ a b "Regional Statistics". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b Vilnai, Ze'ev (1979). "Kiryat Shmona". Ariel Encyclopedia (in Hebrew). Vol. 7. Israel: Am Oved. pp. 7111–12.
  3. ^ Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–251.
  4. ^ a b c Amir Goldstein (2016). "The kibbutz and the ma'abara (transit camp): The case of the Upper Galilee kibbutzim and Kiryat Shmona, 1949–1953". Journal of Israeli History. 35: 17–37. doi:10.1080/13531042.2016.1140878. S2CID 147395057.
  5. ^ HaReuveni, Immanuel (1999). Lexicon of the Land of Israel (in Hebrew). Miskal – Yedioth Ahronoth Books and Chemed Books. p. 852. ISBN 978-965-448-413-8.
  6. ^ "Modern Israel & the Diaspora (1970–1979)". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  7. ^ "The Daily News – July 1981". The Eighties Club. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  8. ^ "Yearbook of the United Nations 1986 – Volume 40". United Nations. December 31, 1986. Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "World Notes Middle East". Time Magazine. April 7, 1986. Archived from the original on November 15, 2005. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  10. ^ Friedman, Thomas L. (March 28, 1986). "New Rocket Casualties". New York Times. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  11. ^ "The History Guy: The Israel-Lebanon Conflict (1978–present)". Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  12. ^ Middle East International. No 603, 2 July 1999; Publishers Christopher Mayhew. Dennis Walters; Michael Jansen pp.4-5; Reinoud Leendes pp.5&7
  13. ^ Slier, Paula (2006-07-20). "An eerie silence in Kiryat Shmona". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  14. ^ Cushing, Christopher (2023-10-20). "Israel announces evacuation plan for Kiryat Shmona city near Lebanese border". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-11-23.
  15. ^ 7.10.2023 - 6.11.2023
  16. ^ 7.11.2023 - 6.12.2023
  17. ^ 7.12.2023 - 6.1.2024
  18. ^ "Alerts in Kiryat Shmona, Israel's National Emergency Portal".
  19. ^ Experts Warn: Major Earthquake Could Hit Israel Any Time By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel. Date: Oct 22, 2013
  20. ^ a b "Kiryat Shmona climate: Weather Kiryat Shmona & temperature by month". en.climate-data.org.
  21. ^ "Department of Emergency Medicine". Archived from the original on 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  22. ^ "MAPS.ME (MapsWithMe), detailed offline maps of the world for iPhone, iPad, Android". MAPS.ME (MapsWithMe), detailed offline maps of the world for iPhone, iPad, Android.
  23. ^ “רשימת קווים שעוברים בקרית שמונה/ List of Bus Lines Passing through Kiryat Shmona. ” המודיעין לתחבורה ציבורית בישראל / Israeli Bus Line Information. Accessed May 30, 2022. Link.
  24. ^ a b c Zagrizak, Asaf. “The Railway to Kiryat Shmona Has Been Approved: Why the Station Will Be Built Outside the City? [Hebrew], אושרה מסילת הרכבת לקריית שמונה: למה התחנה מחוץ לעיר?” Globes.co.il. גלובס, June 27, 2022. https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001416233.
  25. ^ Al-Jarmaq Editorial Board “‘Railway line in the Galilee’...an Israeli scheme that gnaws at more than 600 dunums of Nahaf lands.” [Arabic] هیئت تحریر الجرمق. “‘خط سكة قطار في الجليل’..مخطط إسرائيلي يقضم ما يزيد عن 600 دونم من أراضي نحف.” الجرمق, May 15, 2022. Link.

External links[edit]