Beit Shemesh (Ebreu: בֵּית שֶׁמֶשׁ, Arabic: بيت شيمش; Greek: Βαιθσαμυς; Laitin: Bethsames) is a ceety in Israel's Jerusalem Destrict, wi a population o 80,000. Beit Shemesh has been inhabited since pre-biblical times. The modren ceety o Beit Shemesh wis foondit in 1950.
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The auncient ceety o Beit Shemesh ("hoose o the sun" or "temple o the sun" in Ebreu) wis oreeginally named efter the Canaanite sun-goddess Shemesh, which wis worshipped there in antiquity. The ruins o the auncient biblical ceety can still be seen in the tell o Beit Shemesh, locatit near the modren ceety.
Several important an unique archaeological discoveries hae been made in recent digs at the tel. The maist auncient iron wirkshop in the warld wis discovered here in 2003. The anerlie remnants o a fortified ceety wi an advanced water seestem, frae the time o the early Kinrick o Judah wis foond here. In aw layers frae this period, the bones o animals wur aw o kosher animals, in contrast tae nearbi auncient fortresses an settlements o that period such as Maresha, Azeka or Lachish, suggestin an early Jewish settlement an advanced kinrick in the early biblical "keengs" period.
Durin the destruction o Judea bi the Babylonians, the waterwirks o Beit Shemesh wur sealed an covered, an wur no uncovered till 2004. Thus durin the first Jewish return, kent as the Seicont Temple period, there wis nae revival o the ceety, as opposed tae mony ither places in the vicinity such as Beit Guvrin, Maresha, an ithers. Consequently, the sma touns o Dayr Raban an Dayr Rafat haed uised secondary rocks for biggin, frae this vera auncient source. An aa foond nearbi is a prehistoric Megalith circle, probably the structure responsible for the name Beit Shemesh.
Beit Shemesh is first mentioned in the Beuk o Joshua 15 as a ceety in the territory o the tribe o Judah on the border atween their territory an that o the tribe o Dan. Later in Joshua 21 Beit Shemesh is mentioned as haein been set aside a ceety for the priests o the tribe o Levi, the Kohanim. The ceety is mentioned notably in chapter 6 o the beuk o Samuel I as being the first ceety encoontered bi the ark o the covenant on its way back frae Philistie efter haein been captured bi the Philistines in battle. In the beuk o Keengs II, Beit Shemesh is again mentioned as being the site o the battle atween Amaziah keeng o Judea an Jehoash keeng o Israel.
Durin the 1948 war o unthirldom, the Egyptian airmy invadit the aurie an set up a fortified post ("Mishlat") on the hill that wad later become Beit Shemesh. The post chynged hands several times durin fechtin. The Harel Brigade occupied pairt o the post for several months givin rise tae the name "the joint post" or the "Mishlat HaMeshutaf" wi 60 meters dividin them an the enemy forces. The Mishlat wis finally taken bi the Harel force in the "HaHar" offensive durin the nicht o 19–20 October 1948.
Beit Shemesh is the point frae which the famous Convoy of 35, or Lamed Heh, set oot tae relieve the besieged Gush Etzion. On 15 Januar 1948 a group o 38 Palmach volunteers set oot frae the Hartuv aurie near Beit Shemesh. Suin efter they set oot, ane o the sodgers sprained his ankle an the convoy o 35 continued on towards the besieged kibbutzim. Their presence wis discovered efter they met wi an Arab shepherd an they wur aw killed in an ensuin battle.
State o Israel
On December 6, 1950, the Hartuv displaced bodys camp "Ma'abarat Har-Tuv" wis established on the site o the current-day Moshav Naham. The first inhabitants wur Jewish Bulgarian immigrants. They wut joined bi mair Jewish immigrants frae Bulgarie, Iran, Iraq, Romanie, Morocco an Kurdistan. In 1952 the first permanent hooses wur built in Beit Shemesh. Prior tae 1948 the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhuid aurie wis the site o the Arab veelage Beit Natif. This veelage wis built on remnants o an auncient Judean toun, wi various remnants o Jewish settlement frae the time, such as a mosaic floor, wineries an ither remains, especially frae the period o the Hasmonean keengs an earlier. This aurie is currently unner dispute aboot preservation, haein been subject o a grassroots campaign.
In its early years, Beit Shemesh came tae typify the "Development Toun" wi a largely North African immigrant population. In 1977, follaein a writeup in Haaretz newspaper, Beit Shemesh wis perceived as the main ootpost for Menachem Begin's Likud pairty. He promised tae rehabilitate neighborhuids an when Likud came tae pouer that year, investment in the ceety increased.
Wi the lairge-scale immigration frae the Soviet Union in the 1990s, new neighborhuids wur built at an acceleratit rate in the ceety as the population grew rapidly. Ane particular group who settled in Beit Shemesh wis made up o Jews who haed convertit tae Judaism in twa veelages twa centuries prior, an kept the releegion in secret unner the Soviet regime. An aa in the 1990s, a lairge number o Ethiopian Jews stairtit arrivin in Beit Shemesh thegither wi affluent new immigrants frae Inglis speakin kintras. Later, in 2002, a lairge congregation o Ethiopian Jews o the Falashmura reached Beit Shemesh.
In the 1990s, new neighborhuids wur built: Nahala UMenucha, a Haredi neighborhuid, Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef an Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, which doubled the size o the ceety. In 2002, follaein tensions atween the Haredi and non-releegious population, plans wur drawn up tae build anither secular neighborhuid, HaShachar, as a separate ceety. Wirk began at the entrance tae Ramat Beit Shemesh, but acause o legal problems an a continued dispute ower the population o this new ceety, the plan wis abandoned.
Accordin tae CBS, in 2003 the ethnic makeup o the ceety wis 100.0% Jewish an ither non-Arab, wi nae significant Arab population. See Population groups in Israel. In 2005, there wur 32,900 males and 33,000 females. The population growth rate in 2005 wis 6.4%.
In 1952, olim frae Iran, Iraq, Romanie, Morocco an Kurdistan settled in Beit Shemesh. In the 1990s, the ceety saw a lairge influx o new immigrants frae the umwhile Soviet Union, Ethiopie an Inglis speakin kintras.
Syne the 1990s, Beit Shemesh haes become increasingly Orthodox, wi a lairge Haredi sector. Mony synagogues an yeshivas hae been built in the community. Releegious communities representit in Beit Shemesh include Ger, Belz, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok, Satmar an Neturei Karta.
In recent years, there haes been a dramatic increase in the number o Inglis speakin Israelis who hae moved tae Beit Shemesh. Considerable numbers hae come frae North Americae, the Unitit Kinrick, Sooth Africae an Australie. This population tends tae be Orthodox, educatit an frae middle income groups. The main auries o "Anglo" settlement are the Dolev aurie o RBS, Sheinfeld, Nofei Aviv an Migdal HaMayim. The Anglo immigration wave haes seen real estate prices skyrocket in Beit Shemesh in general, an in the Anglo neighborhuids in particular.
Beit Shemesh is hame tae numerous sports clubs aw unner the main sport associations (Beitar, Hapoel, an Maccabi). The ceety haes soccer teams includin juniors seniors an ower-35s teams an an' a' boastit a franchise in the Israel Baseball League. The Beit Shemesh Blue Sox representit Beit Shemesh in the league's ae saison, though they played their games at Gezer Field in Kibbutz Gezer due tae a lack o proper facilities in Beit Shemesh. There is an aa a vera active Little League in Beit Shemesh an Ramat Beit Shemesh, wi ower 300 members. In the field o judo, Elitzur Beit Shemesh haes wan mony prizes. Israel Kung Fu an warld Nunchaku champion (2001) Eli Ivgi wis born in an lives in Beit Shemesh.