Infobox Israel municipality
caption3=Ashdod MonArt Arts Centre.
Ashdod ( _he. אַשְׁדּוֹד; _ar. اشدود, إسدود "Isdud"), located in the South District of
Israel, on the Mediterranean Seacoast, is a city of over 200,000 people located approximately km to mi|70 from Jerusalemand Beer Sheba. Ashdod is an important regional industrial center. The Port of Ashdodis Israel's largest port accounting for sixty percent of the country's imported goods.
The first documented settlement in Ashdod dates to the
Canaanite culture of 17th century BC,cite book|title=Ashdod - Seven levels of excavations|pages=91|language=Hebrew|author=M. Dotan|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location= Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ] making the city one of the most ancient in the world. Ashdod is mentioned thirteen times in the Bible. During the history the city was settled by Philistines, Israelites, Byzantines, Crusadersand Arabs.cite book|title=Events calendar in Israel and Ashdod|pages=79|language=Hebrew|author=O.Kolani, B.Raanan, M.Brosh, S.Pipano|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location= Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624]
Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the archeological site, and incorporated as a city in 1968, with a land-area of approximately km2 to sq mi|60. Being a planned city, expansion followed a main
development plan, which facilitated traffic and prevented air pollutionin the residential areas, despite population growth. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Ashdod had a population of 207,000 at the end of 2007, the fifth largest city in Israel and had an area of convert|47242|dunam|km2 sqmi.cite web|url=http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/local_authorities2005/pdf/108_0070.pdf|title=Local Authorities in Israel 2005, Publication #1295 - Municipality Profiles - Ashdod|publisher=Israel Central Bureau of Statistics|accessdate=2008-04-14 he icon] cite web|url=http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2009/table3.pdf|publisher= Israel Central Bureau of Statistics|title=Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population|date=2008-06-30|accessdate=2008-09-14]
Human settlement in Ashdod dates from the
Paleolithic Age. Ashdod is mentioned in Ugariticdocuments, the language of the ancient Canaanites. At the end of the 13th century BCE the Sea Peoplesconquered and destroyed the city. By the beginning of the 12th century BCE the Philistines, generally thought to have been one of the Sea Peoples, ruled the city. During their reign, the city prospered and was a member of union of five Philistine city states. [cite book|title=The Philistines |pages=119|language=Hebrew|author=B.Frenkel|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ]
In 950 BCE Ashdod was destroyed during Pharaoh Siamun's conquest of the region. The city was not rebuilt until at least 815 BCE. Around 715 BCE, it was conquered by
Sargon II, [citation|title=Judah under Assyrian Hegemony: A Reexamination of Imperialism and Religion|url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-9231(199323)112%3A3%3C403%3AJUAHAR%3E2.0.CO%3B2-8 |pages=403–414|first=Mordechai |last=Cogan|journal=Journal of Biblical Literature|volume=112|issue=3|year=1993|doi=10.2307/3267741] who destroyed the city and exiled its residents. Jewish inhabitants of Ashdod were resettled in Media after their failed uprising attempt against Assyrian dominance. The records indicate that 27,290 Jews were forced to settle in Ecbatana ( Hamadan) and Susain South West Persia. [cite web |first=Massoume |last=Price|publisher=Iran Chamber Society |title=A brief history of Iranian Jews |year=2001|url=http://www.iranchamber.com/religions/articles/history_of_iranian_jews1.php|accessdate=2007-10-11] "Asdûdu" led the revolt of Philistines, Judeans, Edomites, and Moabites against Assyria after expulsion of king Akhimeti, whom Sargon had installed instead of his brother "Azuri". Gath ("Gimtu") belonged to the kingdom of Ashdod at that time. [cite book|title=Yamani stronghold in Ashdod-Sea|pages=125|language=Hebrew|author=J. Kaplan|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch |location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ]
Assyrian general Tartan gained control of Ashdod in 711, [Isaiah 20:1] [citation |title=Philistia under Assyrian Rule |pages=86–102|author=H. Tadmor|journal=The Biblical Archaeologist|volume=29|issue=3|year=1966|doi=10.2307/3211004] and forced the "usurper" "Yamani" to flee. Mitinti was king at the time of Sennacherib, and Akhimilki in the reign of Esarhaddon. Psammetichusof Egypt is reported to have besieged the great city Azotus for twenty-nine years (Herodotus, ii. 157); the biblical references to "the remnant of Ashdod" (Jeremiah 25:20; cf Zephaniah 2:4) are interpreted as an allusion to this event.
According to the
Book of Nehemiah, the "Ashdodites" seem to represent the whole nation of the Philistines in the sixth century BCE, [at 4:1, 13:23, etc.] the "speech of Ashdod" (which the younger generation of the Jews are described as adopting) would simply be the general Philistine dialect. Hugo Wincklerexplains the use of that name by the fact that Ashdod was the nearest of the Philistine cities to Jerusalem. [cite book|title=Geschichte Israels |pages=224|authorlink=Hugo Wilckner|year=1898]
The city prospered as "Izotus" under the
Hellenisticrule, until the Hasmonean Revolt. During the rebellion Judas Maccabeusarrived at its gates, but did not conquer it. He left it for his brother Jonathan, who conquered it in 147 BCE and destroyed the Templeof Dagon. [cite book|title=Battle of Ashdod (147BCE)|pages=135|language=Hebrew|author=S.Shapira|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ] According to Josephus(" Antiquities of the Jews" 13:15, volume 4), Alexander Jannæuspossessed it. Pompeyrestored its independence by reconstructing its city walls, though it belonged to the dominion of Herod and Salome("Antiquities..." 17:18, volume 9), and Vespasianhad to later take it by force.
Despite its location four miles (6 km) from the coast, both
Ptolemyand Josephus described it as a maritime city. This curious description may refer to Ashdod's control of a separate shore-edge harbor, called "Azotus Paraliyus", [cite book|title=Ashdod Sea in Byzantic period|pages=143|language=Hebrew|author=S.Piphano|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ] or Ashdod-Sea ("Antiquities..." 13:15, volume 4). The city's prominence continued until the seventh century, when a citadel was built in "Azotus Paraliyus" as a stronghold against the Byzantine navy. To the west of the wooded height on which the city stands, traces of the ancient harbor—now known as "Minet el-Ḳal'a"—can still be seen.
Fatimidsestablished a shore fortress and a village on the Tellof Ashdod. The location of the village on Via Marisenhanced the city's importance during the Ottoman rule. In 1596 CE, the population of Ashdod numbered about 413. [cite book|author=A. Petersen|title=The Towns of Palestine under Muslim Rule AD 600-1600 |publisher=BAR International Series 1381|year=2005|pages=133] At the beginning of the twentieth century the village was known as "Esdūd", with a population of about five thousand, specializing in agriculture and trade. [cite web |publisher=PalestineRemembered.com quote Benny Morrisand Walid al-Halidi|title=Wellcome to Isdud|url=http://www.palestineremembered.com/Gaza/Isdud/index.html]
According to the Bible, during the 10th century BCE Ashdod became, along with all the kingdom of
Philistiaa patronage area of the Kingdom of Israelunder the control of King David. Judah's claim upon Ashdod is mentioned in the Book of Joshua(Joshua 15:46).
Book of SamuelAshdod is mentioned (I Samuel 6:17) among the principal Philistine cities. After capturing the Ark of the covenantfrom the Israelites, the Philistines took it to Ashdod, where it was placed in the temple of Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it; on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with boils; a plague of mice was sent over the land (1 Samuel 6:5). [cite journal |author=Harris JC |title=The plague of Ashdod |url=http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/63/3/244|journal=Arch. Gen. Psychiatry |volume=63 |issue=3 |pages=244–5 |year=2006 |pmid=16520427 |doi=10.1001/archpsyc.63.3.244]
In the Book of Nehemiah, some residents of Jerusalem are said to have married women from Ashdod, and half of the children of these unions were reportedly unable to understand Hebrew, but instead, they spoken "the language of Ashdod." (Nehemiah 13:23-24)
Book of Isaiahan Assyrian general named Tartan, sent by Sargon, gained control of Ashdod in 711. (Isaiah 20:1)
The capture of the city by King
Uzziahshortly after 815 BCE is mentioned within the text of the Book of Chronicles(2 Chronicles 26:6) and in the Book of Zechariah(Zechariah 9:6), speaking of the false Jews.
Book of Actsrefers to Azotus (the Hellenistic name of Ashdod) as the place to which Philip the evangelist walked after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:40).
1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Egyptian Armytook over Isdud on May 29, 1948, and the town became the northern-most advancement point of the Egyptian forces. Egyptian and Israeli forces clashed in the surrounding area, with the Egyptians being unable to hold the Ad Halombridge over the Lachish River. Israeli forces surrounded the town during Operation Yoav, and shelled and bombed it from the air. [cite book|title=Battle Sites in the Land of Israel|pages=24|language=Hebrew|publisher=Carta|location=Israel|year=2003|isbn=965-220-494-3] Fearing encirclement, Egyptian forces retreated on October 28, 1948 with the majority of the town's Palestinian Arab residents; some several hundred who remained were soon expelled southwards by the Israel Defense Forces. [cite web |publisher=International Middle East media Center|title=From Isdud to Ashdod: One man's immigrant dream; another's refugee nightmare|date= 2006-04-13|url=http://www.imemc.org/article/18022|accessdate=2007-09-21 ] [Benny Morris, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited", Cambridge Press 2004 pp.471]
In 1953, surveyors and designers arrived at the desolate dunes near the mouth of
Lachish Riverto choose a site to build a new power stationin the south of the country (eventually "Eshkol A"). Its workers lived in the regional settlements Rehovotand Gedera.Fact|date=December 2007
On May 1, 1956, then finance minister
Levi Eshkolapproved the establishment of the city of Ashdod. "Ashdod Company Ltd.", a daughter company of City-Builders Company Ltd., was created for that purpose by Oved Ben-Ami and Philipp Klotznik.The first settlers, twenty-two families of immigrants from Morocco arrived in November 1956,cite book|title=Ashdod. From repatriants settlement to the City|pages=163|language=Hebrew|author=R.Yaniv|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ] and a group of immigrants from Egypt joined them. In July 1957, the government granted a 24 square kilometers concession, approximately convert|32|km|mi from Tel Aviv, to the Ashdod Company Ltd., for building the modern city of Ashdod.
The building of the Eshkol A power station in Ashdod was completed in 1958 and included 3 units: 2 units of 50 megawatt, and one unit of 45 megawatt (with sea water
The first local council was appointed in October 1959. Dov Gur was appointed the first local council head on behalf of the
Israeli Ministry of Interior.cite book|title=Head of the local council and the city|pages=179|language=Hebrew|author=R.Yaniv|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ] The Magistrates' Courtin the city was inaugurated in 1963. In January 1965, Ashdod Company and Clalit, the country's largest health maintenance organization, signed a contract to build a 500 beds hospital, which has yet to be established. The building of the port of Ashdodbegan in April 1961. The port was inaugurated in November 1963, and was first utilized in November 1965, with the coming of the Swedish ship "Wiengelgad".
In 1964 the Ponevezher Rov, Rabbi
Yosef Shlomo Kahanemanestablished the Ponevezh development, the first Haredi neighborhood in Ashdod. In 1978 a joint Belz-Ger estate was established in Neighborhood 3 ("Rova Gimel"). The Lev Simcha Talmud Torahin Ashdod is the largest chederin Israel. Today, the Tolna Rebbe, Pittsburgher Rebbe, Neshchiz, and Melitzer Rebbes reside in Ashdod.
The explosive growth of the city began in 1991, with the massive arrival of immigrants from the Soviet Union and infrastructure development. From 1990 to 2001 the city accepted more than 100,000 new inhabitants, a 150% growth.cite web |publisher=The Center for Research and Information,
Knesset|title=Data of population in the city of Ashdod|date= 2001-04-17|url=http://www.knesset.gov.il/mmm/data/docs/m00121.rtf|format=Word|accessdate=2007-09-21|language=Hebrew]
The modern city of Ashdod city was built outside the historic settlement site, on virgin sands. The development followed a main
development plan.cite web |publisher=The Society of Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|title=Development Plan for city of Ashdod|year=2000 |url=http://www.geocities.com/parkholot3/mitaar.pdf|format=PDF he_icon] The planners divided the city into seventeen neighborhoods of ten to fifteen thousand people. Wide avenues between the neighborhoods make traffic flow relatively freely inside the city. Each neighborhood has easy access to its own commercial center, urban park, and health and education infrastructure. The original plan also called for a business and administrative center, built in the mid-1990s, when the city population grew rapidly more than doubling in ten years.
industrial zones were placed adjacent to the port in the northern part of the city, taking into account the prevailing southern winds which take air pollutionaway from the city. The plan had its problems, however, including asymmetric growth of upscale and poorer neighborhoods and the long-time lack of a main business and administrative center.cite book|title=New lineation plan to the city of Ashdod|pages=29|language=Hebrew|author=J. Herz U. Fogel|publisher=Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ashdod branch|location=Israel|year=1990|ULI Sysno.=005093624 ]
The city was planned for a maximum of 250,000 inhabitants, and an additional area in the south was reserved for further development. The southern border of the city was proclaimed a national
nature reserve, Ashdod Nitzanim Sand Dune Park, which makes future city growth problematic, with the last of the seventeen neighborhoods of the development plan now under construction.
Ashdod has a
mediterraneanclimate with hot summers, pleasant spring and fall, and cool, rainy winters. Humidity tends to be high all year round, and rain occurs mainly from November to March. In winter, temperatures seldom drop below 5°C and are more likely to be in the region of 10° to 15°C, while in summer the average is 27°C. The average annual rainfall is 510 millimeters.
Jan_Hi_°F =63.0 |Jan_Hi_°C =17.2 |Jan_REC_Hi_°F = |Jan_REC_Lo_°F=
Feb_Hi_°F =63.5 |Feb_Hi_°C =17.5 |Feb_REC_Hi_°F = |Feb_REC_Lo_°F =
Mar_Hi_°F =67.5 |Mar_Hi_°C =19.7 |Mar_REC_Hi_°F = |Mar_REC_Lo_°F =
Apr_Hi_°F =76.3 |Apr_Hi_°C =24.6 |Apr_REC_Hi_°F = |Apr_REC_Lo_°F =
May_Hi_°F =81.3 |May_Hi_°C =27.4 |May_REC_Hi_°F = |May_REC_Lo_°F =
Jun_Hi_°F =85.1 |Jun_Hi_°C =29.5 |Jun_REC_Hi_°F = |Jun_REC_Lo_°F =
Jul_Hi_°F =87.4 |Jul_Hi_°C =30.8 |Jul_REC_Hi_°F = |Jul_REC_Lo_°F =
Aug_Hi_°F =88.0 |Aug_Hi_°C =31.1 |Aug_REC_Hi_°F = |Aug_REC_Lo_°F =
Sep_Hi_°F =86.4 |Sep_Hi_°C =30.2 |Sep_REC_Hi_°F = |Sep_REC_Lo_°F =
Oct_Hi_°F =82.2 |Oct_Hi_°C =27.9 |Oct_REC_Hi_°F = |Oct_REC_Lo_°F =
Nov_Hi_°F =74.5 |Nov_Hi_°C =23.6 |Nov_REC_Hi_°F = |Nov_REC_Lo_°F =
Dec_Hi_°F =66.6 |Dec_Hi_°C =19.2 |Dec_REC_Hi_°F = |Dec_REC_Lo_°F =
Jan_Lo_°F =46.6 |Jan_Lo_°C =8.1 |Jan_REC_Hi_°C = |Jan_REC_Lo_°C =
Feb_Lo_°F =46.4 |Feb_Lo_°C =8.0 |Feb_REC_Hi_°C = |Feb_REC_Lo_°C =
Mar_Lo_°F =48.7 |Mar_Lo_°C =9.3 |Mar_REC_Hi_°C = |Mar_REC_Lo_°C =
Apr_Lo_°F =53.4 |Apr_Lo_°C =11.9 |Apr_REC_Hi_°C = |Apr_REC_Lo_°C =
May_Lo_°F =58.6 |May_Lo_°C =14.8 |May_REC_Hi_°C = |May_REC_Lo_°C =
Jun_Lo_°F =64.4 |Jun_Lo_°C =18.0 |Jun_REC_Hi_°C = |Jun_REC_Lo_°C =
Jul_Lo_°F =69.1 |Jul_Lo_°C =20.6 |Jul_REC_Hi_°C = |Jul_REC_Lo_°C =
Aug_Lo_°F =70.5 |Aug_Lo_°C =21.4 |Aug_REC_Hi_°C = |Aug_REC_Lo_°C =
Sep_Lo_°F =68.2 |Sep_Lo_°C =20.1 |Sep_REC_Hi_°C = |Sep_REC_Lo_°C =
Oct_Lo_°F =63.5 |Oct_Lo_°C =17.5 |Oct_REC_Hi_°C = |Oct_REC_Lo_°C =
Nov_Lo_°F =55.6 |Nov_Lo_°C =13.1 |Nov_REC_Hi_°C = |Nov_REC_Lo_°C =
Dec_Lo_°F =49.6 |Dec_Lo_°C =9.8 |Dec_REC_Hi_°C = |Dec_REC_Lo_°C =
Jan_Precip_inch = 5.10
Feb_Precip_inch = 3.93
Mar_Precip_inch = 2.45
Apr_Precip_inch = .71
May_Precip_inch = .12
Jun_Precip_inch = 0
Jul_Precip_inch = 0
Aug_Precip_inch = 0
Sep_Precip_inch = .09
Oct_Precip_inch = .76
Nov_Precip_inch = 2.78
Dec_Precip_inch = 4.57
Jan_Precip_cm = |Jan_Precip_mm = 127.9
Feb_Precip_cm = |Feb_Precip_mm = 98.6
Mar_Precip_cm = |Mar_Precip_mm = 61.4
Apr_Precip_cm = |Apr_Precip_mm = 17.8
May_Precip_cm = |May_Precip_mm = 3.0
Jun_Precip_cm = |Jun_Precip_mm = 0
Jul_Precip_cm = |Jul_Precip_mm = 0
Aug_Precip_cm = |Aug_Precip_mm = 0
Sep_Precip_cm = |Sep_Precip_mm = 2.3
Oct_Precip_cm = |Oct_Precip_mm = 19.0
Nov_Precip_cm = |Nov_Precip_mm = 69.8
Dec_Precip_cm = |Dec_Precip_mm = 114.7
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics[cite web
url=http://www1.cbs.gov.il/shnaton57/st01_03x.pdf |title=Monthly Average of Daily Maximum and Minimum Temperature |publisher=Israel Central Bureau of Statistics |work=Statistical Abstract of Israel 2006 |format=PDF] [cite web
url=http://www1.cbs.gov.il/shnaton57/st01_04.pdf |title=Precipitation |publisher=Israel Central Bureau of Statistics |work=Statistical Abstract of Israel 2006 |format=PDF]
Ashdod is one of the most important industrial centers in Israel. All industrial activities in the city are located in northern areas such as the port area, the northern industrial zone, and around the Lachish River. The port of Ashdod is the largest port in
Israel, handling about sixty percent of Israel's port cargo. It was mainly upgraded in recent years and will be able to provide berths for Panamaxships. [cite web|url=http://www.port-technology.com/projects/ashdod/
title=Ashdod Port Development, Israel
accessdate=2007-09-20] [cite web|url=http://www.israports.org.il/dev/yovel.asp
title=Eitan Port - A NIS 3 Billion Project Among Israel's Largest Infrastructure Projects
publisher=Ports and Railways Authority
accessdate=2007-09-20] Various shipping companies offices are also located in the port area which also is home to a Eshkol A power station and
The Northern industrial zone is located on Highway 41 and includes various industry including an
oil refinery, which is one of only two in the country. The heavy industry zone located south of the Lachish Riverwas once the main industrial center in Ashdod. Recently, however, leisure facilities have moved into the area. There is still some industry here, however, such as a Teva Pharmaceutical Industriesplant, construction components producer Ashtrom, and Solbara soybean oil producer. Ashdod is also home to Elta, a part of Israel Aircraft Industrieswhere radarequipment, electronic warfaresystems, and ELINTare developed.
Historically each neighborhood of Ashdod had its own commercial center and at different times some of these centers became the main shopping areas of the city such as Rogozin St. during the 1980s. In 1990, however, when the
mallculture developed in Israel, the main commercial activity in Ashdod moved to malls.
The first mall to open in Ashdod was the Forum Center which was built in the industrial zone and was very popular until additional malls were built in the residential neighborhoods. Restaurants, bars and night clubs were opened in the area which is one of the most popular recreation zones in the city. Today, the Forum center is mainly used for offices.
Lev Ashdod Mall was opened in 1993 and soon became the most popular shopping and recreation place among the population of Ashdod. [cite web |last=kenyonim.com|title="Lev Ashdod Mall"|url=http://www.kenyonim.com/mall.asp?mid=11 he_icon] The mall has been extended and upgraded in the years since its opening. Lev Ashdod Mall was followed two years later by Ashdod Mall which opened in 1995 and was at the time the biggest mall in the city. Despite this fact, however, it was not successful and is currently being closed and redesigned. [cite web |last=Ashdod News|title="Ashdod Mall closed its gates"|date=
City Mall was opened in a combined building with the central bus station in 1996, [cite web |last=kenyonim.com|title="City Mall, Ashdod"|url=http://www.kenyonim.com/mall.asp?mid=58 he_icon] following the examples of the
Tel Aviv Central Bus Stationand the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Due to its location in the city center it is highly popular and was upgraded in 2007.
The Sea Mall is a new three floor mall. It is located in a modern building near the government offices and also has a
climbingwall and cinema.
Finally, Star Center is a new shopping center which has proven to be popular to the extent that it doubles in size in 2007. [cite web |publisher=Debby Communications Ltd|title=Filgar broaden Star Center cite in Ashdod|year=2006 |url=http://www.debby.co.il/uploads/%D7%97%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%AA%20%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%92%D7%A8%20%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%97%D7%99%D7%91%D7%94%20%D7%90%D7%AA%20%D7%9E%D7%AA%D7%97%D7%9D%20%D7%94%D7%A1%D7%98%D7%90%D7%A8%20%D7%A1%D7%A0%D7%98%D7%A8%20%D7%91%D7%90%D7%A9%D7%93%D7%95%D7%93.doc|format=Word|accessdate=2007-09-25 he icon]
Ashdod is located on the historic
Via Maris. Highway 4 was developed following this route along the southern sea shore of Israel; it serves as the main connection to the north, towards the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and to the south, towards Ashkelon. Ad Halomjunction was planned as the main entrance to the city from the east. The junction was poorly planned and built, including a grade-level railway crossing less than 100 meters from the intersection with Highway 4 and a dangerous intersection with the nearby railway station's access road, and it currently suffers from heavy congestion. An interchangeis under construction, planned to open in 2009.cite web|url=http://www.mof.gov.il/beinle/press217.doc
title=Government approved today (11/12/05) Minister of Finance and Minister of Transport proposal for a five-year plan for the design, development, paving, safety and maintenance of intercity roads, at a volume of NIS 19 billion|date=
2005-12-11|publisher=Israeli Ministries of Finance and Transport|format=Word|accessdate=2007-09-20] The interchange is intended to continue the freewaysection of Highway 4 further south by removing the traffic light at this junction, and it will also utilize grade separationwith the railway.
The other main road in the area is Highway 41 which served the city from the start of its modern history. This road runs from west to east towards
Gederaand it is the main transport link to the port of Ashdod and the industrial zones, and connects to Highway 4 with an interchange.
The passenger railroad connection to Ashdod opened in 1992cite web|url=http://www.railnewsil.com/follow-up/ashd-plesh/ashd-plesh_main.htm|title=The duplication of section Pleshet jnct. - Ashdod, Ad Halom and upgrading of railway station Ashdod, Ad Halom |date=
2004-05-30|publisher=Raiway News Israel|accessdate=2007-09-26 he icon] after the renovation of the historical railway to Egypt. [cite web|url=http://www.israrail.org.il/english/index.html|title=General Information - Milestones|date= |publisher= Israel Railwaysofficial cite|accessdate=2007-09-26] Ashdod railway station is on Israel Railways' Binyamina/ Netanya- Tel Aviv- Ashkelonline and it is located near Ad HalomJunction. The station was upgraded in 2003 when a new terminal building was built. The station building is modern, but proper road access to it is was only organized on September 23, 2008, when a new road to the station was opened. [cite news|title=New Access Road to the Railway Station Opened|url=http://www.mynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3601272,00.html|publisher=Mynet|date=2008-09-24|author=Harush, Yair|accessdate=2008-09-28 he icon]
There is also heavy freight traffic in the area. Port of Ashdod has its own railway spur line as well as a special terminal for
potashbrought from the Sodomarea and exported abroad.
The new central
bus stationopened in 1996. It serves as the terminus both for inter- and intracity lines. The building also includes a small but popular shopping mall. The bus lines connect the city with all major population centers in Israel. These routes are served by Connex, Metropoline, and the Egged Bus Cooperative.
There is a passenger pier in the
Port of Ashdod. The traffic at this gateway is constantly growing, especially due to cruise shipactivities. The other sea gateway is the newly opened Blue Marina.
According to the
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Ashdod had a population of about 204,400 at the end of 2006, making it the fifth largest city in Israel. [cite web |last= Israel Central Bureau of Statisticsestimate as of the end of June 2006 |title=TABLE 3. - POPULATION(1) OF LOCALITIES NUMBERING ABOVE 1,000 RESIDENTS|publisher=CBS |month=July |year=2005 |url=http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2007/table3.xls#G339 |format=Excel] The annual population growth rate is 2.6% and the ratio of women to men is 1,046 to 1,000.
The population age distribution was recorded as 19.7% under the age of 10, 15.7% from age 10 to 19, 14.9% from 20 to 29, 19.1% from 30 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% were 65 or older. The population of Ashdod is significantly younger than the Israeli average because of the large number of young couples living in the city.
The city is ranked medium-low in socio-economic grading, with a rating of 4 out of 10. 56.1% of 12th grade students in Ashdod were eligible for matriculation certificates in 2000. The average salary in 2000 was NIS 4,821 compared to the national average of NIS 6,835.
Ashdod, like many Israeli cities, has seen much of its growth as the result of absorption of immigrants. The first major group to move to the city were Jews of Moroccan and Egyptian descent. In the 1960s Ashdod accepted a large number of immigrants from Romania, followed by a large number from Georgia and India in the 1970s. More than 60,000 Jews immigrated to Ashdod from the former
Soviet Unionin the early 1990s. Recent demographic figures suggest that about 32% [cite web |last=Ashdod Municipality|title=Absorption and immigration| |url=http://www.ashdod.muni.il/htmls/english/Openning_eng.asp] of the city's population are new immigrants, 85% of whom are originally from the former Soviet Union.
Ashdod also receives a significant amount of internal migration, [cite web |last=
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics|title=Internal migration in Israel|url=http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/in_migration02/pdf/e_print.pdf|ISSN = 0793-5382|format=PDF] especially from the Gush Danregion.
Over 95% of Ashdod's population is Jewish, over 30% of whom are religiously observant. Despite this, the city is generally secular, although most of the non-Jewish population is a result of mixed marriages. The large
Haredicommunity of the city live mainly in Neighborhood 7 (Rova Zayin) which is specially dedicated for their needs with Talmud Torah, cheder, mikvaand other religious institutions.Fact|date=October 2007
Ashdod is home to a wide range of synagogues, catering to the religious diversity of its population. The city is home to the world's largest [cite web |last=Last Days Reporters |title=7 Stages of the beginning of Judaism| |url=http://www.lastdaysreporter.com/beginning-judaism-relig.html]
Karaitecommunity, about five thousand strong. There is also a Scandinavian Seamen Protestantchurch, established by Norwegian Righteous Among the Nationspastor Per Faye-Hansen. [cite web|title=Per Faye-Hansen|url=http://www1.yadvashem.org/righteous/bycountry/norway.html|last=Righteous Among the Nations|first=Norway|date= |accessdate=2007-09-26|publisher= Yad VashemThe Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority] [cite web|title=Per Faye-Hansen recognised as Righteous Among the Nations|url=http://www.norway.org.il/bilateral/culture/Faye-Hansen.htm|last=Bilateral Relations|first= |date= |accessdate=2007-09-26|publisher=Norway - the official cite in Israel]
Ashdod was declared a city in 1968. The Ashdod City Council has twenty-five elected members, one of whom is the mayor. The mayor serves a five-year term and appoints six deputies. The current mayor of Ashdod,
Zvi Zilkerwas last elected in 2003 and has been in office continuously since 1989. [http://news.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=354742 Local council elections 2003 results] . Haaretz (October 29, 2003). he_icon] Within the city council there are various factions representing different population groups, both secular and religious. The headquarters of the Ashdod Municipality and the mayor's office are at city hall. This new municipal building is located in the main culture and business area.
Mayors and heads of council
Music and theatre
Ashdod is home to the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra which performs music originating in
Andalusia, a blend of Western and Arabic music. The orchestra was awarded the Israel Prizein 2006. [cite web|title=Israel Prize awarded to Dvora Omer|url=http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3236001,00.html|last=Barnea|first=Or|date= 2006-04-04|accessdate=2007-09-16|publisher=Ynet] [cite web|title=Israel Prize Recipients 2006- Israeli Andalusit Orchestra|url=http://cms.education.gov.il/educationcms/units/prasisrael/tashsav/tizmoretandalusit/nimokyhsoftimandalusit.htm|language=Hebrew|publisher=Israel Ministry of Education|accessdate=2007-09-16]
The ACADMA conservatory, a professional educational institute for music and performance studies is based in Ashdod. Operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, the institute was established in 1966, [cite web|title=Sounds from the South|url=http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2002/7/Sounds%20from%20the%20South|last=Yannai|first=Bezalel|date=
2002-07-11|accessdate=2007-09-16|publisher=Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and serves as a home for 600 young musicians in different fields. The conservatory is a vivacious and vigorous center of the music and the culture life in the city, and it is involved in the community life and educates a second generation of musicians made in Ashdod.
The MonArt center is a newly opened
performing arts centerwhich has different art schools, studios and events. Theater and concerts are hosted in several cultural venues; the most important are performed at Yad LaBanim concert hall. The new city concert hall is in its final building stages, and will enlarge capacity to 1600.
Museums and exhibitions
Korin Maman Museumhas a permanent archeology exhibition called "Philistian World" as well as various changing art exhibitions. [cite web|url=http://ilmuseums.com/museum_eng.asp?id=134|title=Ashdod Museum|publisher=ilMuseums.com]
Ashdod Museum of Artlocated in the MonArt center, has 13 exhibition halls. [cite web|url=http://ilmuseums.com/museum_eng.asp?id=217|title=Ashdod Museum of Art - Monart Centre]
Ashdod's football team,
FC Ashdodrepresents the city in Ligat ha'Al, Israel's Premier League. The club is known for its successful soccer school. The city's top basketball team is Maccabi Ashdod. The men squad plays in Liga Leumit, Israel's second tier league, and the women squad plays in top division.
Ashdod plays host to many national and international sporting tournaments, including the annual Ashdod International
ChessFestival. [ [http://www.ashdodchess.com/ Ashdod International Chess festival] ] The city has a cricketteam, [ [http://www.ashdodnews.co.il/sport_p2.asp?page_id=109&page_id_2=8596 Cricket revolution in Ashdod] he_icon] a rarity in Israel. It is run and organized by citizens of Indian descent. Like many coastal settlements in Israel, Ashdod's beaches is a venue for water sport, like as windsurfing, yachting, and SCUBA divingoperating in the Marina area.
Ashdod has produced a number of famous sportsmen:
Haim Revivo- international soccer player
Alon Hazan- international soccer player
Vered Borochovsky[cite web|title=Identity. Vered Borochovsky|url=http://www.the-sports.org/swimming-borochovsky-vered-results-identity-s10-c2-b4-o92-w8402.html|publisher=The-sports.org|accessdate=2007-09-18] - 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics swimmer.
Gocha Tzitziashvili[cite web|title=Two world championships for Israeli athletes
url=http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enZone=Culture&enDispWho=Articles%5El526&enPage=BlankPage|publisher=Israel21c|accessdate=2007-09-18] - 2003 Greco-Roman Wrestling World champion & 2004 Summer Olympics wrestler
Bordeaux, France [cite web|url=http://www.bordeaux.fr/ebx/portals/ebx.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pgPresStand8&classofcontent=presentationStandard&id=5344|title=Ashdod, jumelée à Bordeaux le 7décembre 1984|language=French|publisher=Official Bordeaux website|accessdate=2007-09-18]
Bahia Blanca, Argentina[cite web|title=Bahía Internacional Ciudades Hermanas|url=http://bahiablanca.gov.ar/internacional/ciudadeshermanas.html|publisher=Official Bahia Blanca website|accessdate=2007-09-18|language=Spanish]
Spandau, Germany [cite web|title=Städtepartnerschaften des Bezirks Spandau|url=http://www.berlin.de/ba-spandau/derbezirk/wissenswert/partnerstadt/|publisher=Official Spandua website|language=German|accessdate=2007-09-18]
Tampa, Florida, USA[cite web|url=http://www.tampagov.net/information_resources/miscellaneous_documents/archives/_sister_cities.asp|title=Tampa Sister Cities|publisher=Official site for the city of Tampa, Florida|accessdate=2007-09-18]
* [http://www.ashdod.muni.il/htmls/english/Openning_eng.asp Ashdod official website]
* [http://www.ashdode.com Ashdod Evant's Gallery From Ashdod]
* [http://www.ashdodport.co.il Ashdod Port official website]
* [http://www.ashdodnews.co.il Ashdod Local News (in Hebrew)]
* [http://www.kol-ashdod.co.il/ Ashdod Local News (in Russian)]
* [http://www.antidrugs-ashdod.net Ashdod AntiDrug Authority website]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_anV8dWT9E Ashdod City Promo Video (Hebrew)]
* [http://www.proav.de/photopages/ashdod/index.html Ashdod Image Gallery]
* [http://www.andalusit.org/Default.asp The Israeli Andalusit Orchestra]
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