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Hotels of Ashdod

A hotel in Ashdod is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Ashdod hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Ashdod are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Ashdod hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Ashdod hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Ashdod have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Ashdod
An upscale full service hotel facility in Ashdod that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Ashdod hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Ashdod
Full service Ashdod hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Ashdod
Boutique hotels of Ashdod are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Ashdod boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Ashdod may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Ashdod
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Ashdod travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Ashdod focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Ashdod
Small to medium-sized Ashdod hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Ashdod traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Ashdod hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Ashdod
A bed and breakfast in Ashdod is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Ashdod bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Ashdod B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Ashdod
Ashdod hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Ashdod hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Ashdod
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Ashdod hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Ashdod lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Ashdod
Ashdod timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Ashdod often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Ashdod on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Ashdod
A Ashdod motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Ashdod for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Ashdod motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Ashdod

  • אַשְׁדּוֹד
  • أشدود
Hebrew transcription(s)
• ISO 259 ʔašdod
Flag of Ashdod
Coat of arms of Ashdod.png
Coat of Arms
Ashdod is located in Israel
Coordinates:  / 31.80000; 34.65000  / 31.80000; 34.65000
Country Israel
District Southern
Founded 1956
• Type City (from 1968)
• Mayor Yehiel Lasri
• Total 47,242 dunams (47.242 km or 18.240 sq mi)
Population (2015)
• Total 220,174
Ashdod from above

Ashdod (Hebrew: About this sound אַשְׁדּוֹד‎; Arabic: أشدود‎‎ Isdud) is the sixth-largest city and the largest port in Israel accounting for 60% of the country's imported goods. Ashdod is located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast where it is situated between Tel Aviv to the north (32 kilometres (20 miles) away) and Ashkelon to the south (20 km (12 mi) away). Jerusalem is 53 km (33 mi) to the east. The city is also an important regional industrial center.

Modern Ashdod covers the territory of two ancient twin towns, one inland and one on the coast, which were for most of their history two separate entities, connected though by close ties with each other. This article is dealing with both these historic towns and other ancient sites now located within the territory of modern Ashdod.

The first documented urban settlement at Ashdod dates to the Canaanite culture of the 17th century BCE, making the city one of the oldest in the world. Ashdod is mentioned 13 times in the Bible. During its pre-1956 history the city was settled by Philistines, Israelites, Greek colonists coming in the wake of Alexander's conquests, Romans and Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks.

Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the site of the ancient town, and incorporated as a city in 1968, with a land-area of approximately 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi). Being a planned city, expansion followed a main development plan, which facilitated traffic and prevented air pollution in the residential areas, despite population growth. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Ashdod had a population of 220,174 in 2015, with an area of 47,242 dunams (47.242 km; 18.240 sq mi).

Ashdod: History

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1961 4,600 -
1972 40,300 +776.1%
1983 65,700 +63.0%
1995 129,800 +97.6%
2008 204,300 +57.4%
2010 210,600 +3.1%
2011 212,300 +0.8%
2014 217,959 +2.7%

Ashdod: Stone Age

Three stone tools dating from the Neolithic era were discovered, but no other evidence of a Stone Age settlement in Ashdod was found, suggesting that the tools were deposited there in a later period.

Ashdod: Bronze and Iron Ages

The site of Ashdod in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages was at a tell just south of the modern city. It was excavated by archaeologists in nine seasons between 1962 and 1972. The effort was led during the first few years by David Noel Freedman of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Moshe Dothan. The remaining seasons were headed by Dothan for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The earliest major habitation in Ashdod dates to the 17th century BCE, when the acropolis of the tell was fortified. Ashdod is first mentioned in written documents from Late Bronze Age Ugarit, which indicate that the city was a center of export for dyed woolen purple fabric and garments. At the end of the 13th century BCE the Sea Peoples conquered and destroyed Ashdod. 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 the Philistine Pentapolis (i.e. five cities), which included Ashkelon and Gaza on the coast and Ekron and Gath farther inland, in addition to Ashdod.

In 950 BCE Ashdod was destroyed during Pharaoh Siamun's conquest of the region. The city was not rebuilt until at least 815 BCE.

Asdûdu led the revolt of Philistines, Judeans, Edomites, and Moabites against Assyria after expulsion of king Ahimiti, whom Sargon had installed instead of his brother Azuri. Gath (Gimtu) belonged to the kingdom of Ashdod at that time. Assyrian king Sargon II's commander-in-chief (turtanu), whom the King James Bible calls simply "Tartan",Isaiah 20:1 regained control of Ashdod in 712/711 BCE and forced the usurper Yamani to flee. Sargon's general destroyed the city and exiled its residents, including some Israelites who were subsequently settled in Media and Elam.

Mitinti was king at the time of Sargon's son Sennacherib (r. 705–681 BCE), and Akhimilki in the reign of Sennacherib's son Esarhaddon (r. 681–669 BCE).

Psamtik I of Egypt (r. 664 – 610 BCE) 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 allusions to this event.

The city absorbed another blow in 605 BCE, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered it.

In 539 BCE the city was rebuilt by the Persians. In 332 BCE it was conquered in the wars of Alexander the Great.

In the Book of Nehemiah, the Ashdodites seem to represent the whole nation of the Philistines in the sixth century BCE, the speech of Ashdod (which half of the children from mixed families are described as adopting) would simply be the general Philistine dialect. Hugo Winckler explains the use of that name by the fact that Ashdod was the nearest of the Philistine cities to Jerusalem.

Ashdod: In the Hebrew Bible

There are Biblical episodes referencing Ashdod but they remain uncorroborated by archaeological finds:

  • Upon Joshua's conquest of the Promised Land, Ashdod was allotted to the Tribe of Judah (Book of Joshua 15:46).
  • In I Samuel 6:17 Ashdod is mentioned among the principal Philistine cities. After capturing the Ark of the covenant from the Israelites, the Philistines took it to Ashdod and placed it in the temple of Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate before the Ark; 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).
  • According to the Bible, during the 10th century BCE Ashdod became, along with all the kingdom of Philistia, a patronage area of the Kingdom of Israel under the control of King David.
  • The capture of the city by King Uzziah of Judah shortly after 815 BCE is mentioned within 2 Chronicles (26:6) and in the Book of Zechariah (9:6), speaking of the false Jews.
  • In the Book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:23–24), some 5th century BCE 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; instead, they spoke "the language of Ashdod".

Ashdod: Hellenistic period

Further information: Ashdod-Sea

Once Hellenised, the city changed its name to the more Greek-sounding Αzotus (Greek: Άζωτος) and prospered until the Hasmonean Revolt. During the rebellion Judas Maccabeus "took it, and laid it waste" (Antiquities of the Jews Book 12, 8:6) His brother Jonathan conquered it again in 147 BCE and destroyed the temple of Dagon of biblical fame (Antiquities Book 13, 4:4; 1 Samuel 5:1-5). During the rule of Alexander Jannæus, Ashdod was part of his territory (Antiquities Book 13, 15:4).

Ashdod: Roman and Byzantine periods

After the destruction wreaked during the succession wars between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, Pompey restored the independence of Azotus, as he did with all Hellenising coastal cities (Antiquities Book 14, 4:4). A few years later, in 55 BCE, after more fighting, Roman general Gabinius helped rebuild Ashdod and several other cities left without protective walls (Antiquities Book 14, 5:2). In 30 BCE Ashdod came under the rule of King Herod, who then bequeathed it to his sister Salome (Antiquities Book 17, 8:1). By the time of the First Jewish–Roman War (66-70), there must have been a large enough Jewish presence in Ashdod for Vespasian to feel compelled to place a garrison in the city.

Despite its location four miles (6 km) from the coast, Ptolemy (c. 90 – c. 168 CE) described it as a maritime city, as did Josephus in Antiquities Book 13, 15:4. The same Josephus though describes Ashdod as "in the inland parts" (Antiquities Book 14, 4:4). This curious contradiction may refer to Ashdod's control of a separate harbor, called Azotus Paralios, or Ashdod-on-the-Sea (παράλιος - "paralios", Greek for "on the coast"). The landlocked city was called by the Romans Hippinos, "of the horsemen", and by the Greeks until late in the medieval period, Azotus mesogaios or "inland Azotus".

During the Byzantine period, the port city overshadowed its inland counterpart in size and importance. The 6th-century Madaba Map is showing both under their respective names.

Ashdod: In the New Testament

The 1st century CE Book of Acts refers to Azotus as the place in which Philip the Evangelist reappeared after he converted the Ethiopian eunuch to Christianity. Philip preached the gospel throughout the area until he reached Caesarea, about 90 km to the north.

Ashdod: Early Christian Era

The prominence of Hellenised, then Christian Azotus continued until the 7th century, when it came under Muslim rule. The city was represented at the Council of Chalcedon by Heraclius of Azotus.

Ashdod: Early Muslim period

Aerial view of Minat al-Qal'a
Areal View Of Isdud Pre 1935.jpg
Aerial view of Isdud pre 1935
Arabic اسدود
Subdistrict Gaza
Palestine grid 118/129
Population 4,910 (1945)
Date of depopulation 28 October 1948
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary cause Expulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localities Sde Uzziyyahu, Shetulim, Bene Darom, and Gan ha-Darom
Further information: Ashdod-Sea and Minat al-Qal'a

A coastal fort was erected by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik, the builder of the Dome of the Rock, at or near the former Azotus Paralios, which was later reconstructed by the Fatimids and Crusaders.

The medieval Arabic name of the port town was Mahuz Azdud, "harbour of Azdud", a very interesting combination between the by then already ancient Aramaic word for harbour, mahuz, and "Azdud", a return to a form much closer to the old Semitic name "Ashdod".

The geographer Ibn Khordadbeh (c. 820 – 912) referred to the inland city as "Azdud" and described it as a postal station between al-Ramla and Gaza.

Ashdod: Crusader period

Documents from the Crusader period indicate that Ashdod belonged to the lordship of Ramla, and it appears probable that in 1169 the old Arab sea fort was given by Hugh, lord of Ramla, to his knight Nicolas de Beroard. From this period the fort is known as Castellum Beroart.

Ashdod: Ayyubid and Mamluk periods

The port stops being mentioned during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, making it likely that it was destroyed by the Muslims along with the other port cities, due to fears that they might again be used by Crusader invasions from the sea. With the destruction of the port city, its inland counterpart regains its importance.

Ashdod: Ottoman rule

Isdud, c. 1914–1918

The location of the village on Via Maris enhanced the city's importance during the Ottoman rule. In 1596 CE, administrated by nahiya ("subdistrict") of Gaza under the liwa' ("district") of Gaza, the population of Ashdod numbered about 413. The villagers paid taxes on wheat, barley, sesame and fruit crops, as well as goats and beehives.

In the late nineteenth century, Isdud was described as a village spread across the eastern slope of a low hill, covered with gardens. A ruined khan stood southwest of the village. Its houses were one-storey high with walls and enclosures built of adobe brick. There were two main sources of water: a pond and a masonry well. Both were surrounded by groves of date-palm and fig-trees.

Ashdod: British Mandate

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Isdud had a population of 2,566 inhabitants; 2,555 Muslims and 11 Christians, where the Christians were all Catholics. The population increased in the 1931 census to 3,240; 3,238 Muslims and 2 Christians, in a total of 764 houses.

Courtyard of house in Isdud, about 1945

During the Mandatory period, Isdud had two elementary schools; one for boys which was opened in 1922, and one for girls which started in 1942. By the mid-1940s the boy-school had 371 students, while the girl-school had 74.

In 1945, Isdud had a population of 4,620 Arabs and 290 Jews, with a total of 47,871 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 3,277 dunams were used citrus and bananas, 8,327 for plantations and irrigable land, 23,762 for cereals, while 131 dunams were built-up land.

Ashdod: 1947-8 civil war

The village of Isdud was occupied by the Egyptian army on May 29, 1948, and became the Egyptians' northernmost position during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. While the Israelis failed to capture territory, and suffered heavy casualties, Egypt changed its strategy from offensive to defensive, thus halting their advance northwards. Egyptian and Israeli forces clashed in the surrounding area, with the Egyptians being unable to hold the Ad Halom bridge over the Lachish River. Israeli forces surrounded the town during Operation Pleshet, and shelled and bombed it from the air. For three nights from 18 October the Israeli Air Force bombed Isdud and several other locations. Fearing encirclement, Egyptian forces retreated on October 28, 1948 and the majority of the residents fled. The 300 townspeople who remained were driven southwards by the Israel Defense Forces.

Isdud 1948

Ashdod: State of Israel

Ashdod in 1957

In 1950, the moshavim of Sde Uziyahu and Shtulim were established to the east of Isdud, and in 1949 and 1953, Bnei Darom and Gan HaDarom were established north of Isdud. According to Khalidi, they were established on the village lands.

The modern city of Ashdod was founded in 1956. On May 1, 1956, then finance minister Levi Eshkol approved 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 Klutznick. The first settlers, 22 families from Morocco, arrived in November 1956, followed by a small influx of immigrants from Egypt. In July 1957, the government granted a 24 square kilometres (9 square miles), approximately 32 kilometres (20 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 desalination capabilities).

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. The Magistrates' Court in the city was inaugurated in 1963. The building of the port of Ashdod began 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".

Large-scale growth of the city began in 1991, with the massive arrival of immigrants from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia and infrastructure development. From 1990 to 2001 the city accepted more than 100,000 new inhabitants, a 150% growth.

Ashdod was one of six cities that won the 2012 Education Prize awarded by the Israel Ministry of Education.

Ashdod: Urban development

Menachem Begin Boulevard

The modern city of Ashdod city was built outside the historic settlement site, on virgin sands. The development followed a main development plan. 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 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.

Three 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 pollution away 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.

The city was planned for a maximum of 250,000 inhabitants, and an additional area in the south was reserved for further development.

In 2012, a plan to build an industrial zone on part of the Ashdod Sand Dune was approved. The plan calls for a hi-tech industrial park, events halls, and coffee shops to be built adjacent to the train station. It will cover 400 dunams (0.4 km; 0.2 sq mi), including 130 dunams of built-up space, with the rest of the area being preserved as a nature reserve. In addition, the Port of Ashdod is undergoing a massive expansion program, and a private hospital will be built in the city.

Ashdod: Geography

The Ashdod-Nitzanim sand dune nature reserve is a 20-kilometer (12-mile) stretch of sand dunes on the southern outskirts of Ashdod.

Ashdod: Climate

Ashdod has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, pleasant spring and fall, and cool, rainy winters. As a seaside town, the humidity tends to be high many times year round, and rain occurs mainly from November to March. In winter, temperatures seldom drop below 5 °C (41 °F) and are more likely to be in the range of 10–15 °C (50–59 °F), while in summer the average is 27 °C (81 °F). The average annual rainfall is 510 mm (20 in).

Climate data for Ashdod
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.2
Average low °C (°F) 7.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 127.9
Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics

Ashdod: Economy

Port of Ashdod
Ashdod Sea Mall

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 60% of Israel's port cargo. It was mainly upgraded in recent years and will be able to provide berths for Panamax ships. Various shipping companies offices are also located in the port area which also is home to an Eshkol A power station and coal terminal.

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 River was 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 Industries plant, construction components producer Ashtrom, and Solbar a soybean oil producer. Ashdod is also home to Elta, a part of Israel Aircraft Industries where radar equipment, electronic warfare systems, and ELINT are developed.

Ashdod: Shopping, going out

Historically each neighborhood of Ashdod had its own commercial center. In 1990, however, when the mall shopping culture developed in Israel, the main commercial activity in Ashdod moved to malls. The first mall to open in Ashdod was the Forum Center in the industrial zone. Restaurants, bars and night clubs were opened in the area. Today, the Forum center is mainly used for offices. Lev Ashdod Mall, which opened in 1993, has been enlarged and upgraded since then. Ashdod Mall, billed at the time as the city's largest shopping mall, has also been redesigned since its opening in 1995. City Mall, Ashdod was opened in a combined building with the central bus station in 1996, following the examples of the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. The Sea Mall, a three-story mall near the government offices, has a climbing wall and movie theater. Star Center doubled in size in 2007.

Ashdod: Education

In 2013, Ashdod had 500 schools employing 3,500 teachers. The student population was 55,000. The city's education budget was NIS 418 million shekels.

Lycée français Guivat-Washington, a French international high school, is in Givat Washington, in proximity to Ashdod.

Ashdod: Transportation

The route from Jerusalem to Ashdod
Ashdod central bus station
Ad Halom Railway Station
Ashdod Marina

Ashdod: Road

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 Halom junction was planned as the main entrance to the city from the east.

Ashdod Interchange was opened in 2009. The interchange continues the freeway section of Highway 4 further south, by removing the traffic light at this junction, and also added grade separation with 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 Gedera and it is the main transport link to the port of Ashdod and the industrial zones, and connects to Highway 4 with an interchange.

In late 2012, Ashdod won a NIS 220 million grant from the Israeli Transport Ministry to improve public transportation and decrease private car use. According to the municipality's plans, a 20-kilometer ring of road arteries will be given priority in public transportation. These arteries will carry four bus rapid transit lines. In the city's more crowded areas, such as Herzl Boulevard or the western part of Menachem Begin Boulevard, a public transportation lane will be paved in the center of the road. In other areas, the right-hand lane will be reserved for public transportation. Buses will also be given priority at traffic lights; electronic devices will allow a bus to signal its approach, causing the light to turn green. In addition, an electric-powered bicycle rental network will be set up, and 22 kilometres (14 miles) of bicycle paths will be paved in the city.

Ashdod: Train

Main article: Ashdod Ad Halom Railway Station

The passenger railway connection to Ashdod opened in 1992 after the renovation of the historical railway to Egypt. Ashdod railway station is on Israel Railways' Binyamina/Netanya – Tel Aviv – Ashkelon line and it is located near Ad Halom Junction. The station was upgraded in 2003 when a new terminal building was built. The station building is modern, but proper road access to it was only organized on September 23, 2008, when a new road to the station was opened.

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 potash brought from the Sodom area and exported abroad.

Ashdod: Buses

A new central bus station opened in 1996. It serves as the terminus both for inter- and intracity lines. The central bus station is attached to the City Mall. Intercity bus lines connect the city with most population centers in central and southern Israel. Following is the list of bus companies serving routes at the central bus station:

Company name Major destinations
Egged Jerusalem, a seasonal line to Eilat
Metropoline Be'er Sheva, Kiryat Gat, Sderot, Netivot
Connex Tel Aviv (CBS and Arlozorov Terminal), Bar Ilan University, Tel HaShomer, Rishon LeTziyon, Rehovot, Yavne, Ashkelon, Kiryat Mal'akhi, Gedera, Gan Yavne
Egged Ta'avura Intracity service

The Egged Ta'avura company has been operating urban buses in Ashdod since 2007. In addition, a share taxi service exists in Ashdod, operated by Moniyot HaIr. Most share taxi lines coincide with intracity bus lines.

Ashdod: Cruise ships and yachts

Ashdod beach

There is a passenger pier in the Port of Ashdod. The traffic at this gateway is constantly growing, especially due to cruise ship activities. The other sea gateway is Blue Marina.

Ashdod: Demographics

LaMimunia Moroccan culture center
Year Population
1961 4,600
1972 40,300
1983 65,700
1990 83,900
1995 125,820
1996 137,100
2000 174,224
2001 187,000
2003 192,200
2006 204,400
2008 209,200

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. 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: Immigrant absorption

Ashdod has seen much of its growth as the result of absorption of immigrants. The first settlers were Jewish immigrants from Morocco and Egypt. In the 1960s Ashdod accepted a large number of immigrants from Romania, followed by a large number from Georgia (then part of the Soviet Union) in the 1970s. More than 60,000 Russian Jews from the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union settled in Ashdod. Recent demographic figures suggest that about 32% of the city's population are new immigrants, 85% of whom are originally from the former Soviet Union. During the 1990s the city absorbed a large number of Beta Israel immigrants from Ethiopia, and in more recent years Ashdod absorbed a large number of immigrants from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Argentina, and South Africa. Many of the 60,000 Marathi-speaking Bene Israel from Maharashtra, India who moved to Israel also settled there. Ashdod also receives a significant amount of internal migration, especially from the Gush Dan region.

Orot Haim yeshiva

Ashdod: Religion

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. About 100 families are affiliated with the Pittsburg Hasidic group, established here in 1969 by Grand Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer and continued today by his son, Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer. Ashdod has many synagogues serving different streams of Judaism. The city is also home to the world's largest Karaite community, about five thousand strong. There is also a Scandinavian Seamen Protestant church, established by Norwegian Righteous Among the Nations pastor Per Faye-Hansen.

Ashdod: Local government

Ashdod city hall

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, Yehiel Lasri, was last elected in 2008 after Zvi Zilker has been in office continuously since 1989. Within the city council there are various factions representing different population groups. 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.

Ashdod: Mayors

  • Dov Gur (1959–61)
  • Robert Hayim (1961–63)
  • Avner Garin (1963–69)
  • Zvi Zilker (1969–83)
  • Aryeh Azulay (1983–89)
  • Zvi Zilker (1989–2008)
  • Yehiel Lasri (2008–)
Ashdod MonArt Arts Center

Ashdod: Culture and art

Ashdod: Music and performing arts

Amphi Ashdod - more than 6,400 seats
Outdoor sculpture of Samson in Ashdod
Maccabi Ashdod basketball game

Ashdod is home to the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra, which performs Andalusian classical music. It is an Arabic music style that originates from Moorish Iberia or Al-Andalus, has been jealously preserved in its original form by Arab and Jewish musicians of the Maghreb over the centuries, and has left its mark on the cante flamenco, the flamenco singing style, perhaps better known in the West. The orchestra was awarded the Israel Prize in 2006.

Ashdod also has one of the biggest open theaters in Israel - Amphi Ashdod that can hosts more than 6,400 guests. The Amphi hosts Ashdod's international art festival "Méditerranée".

The MonArt Centre for the Arts, which includes a ballet school, a music center and the Ashdod Museum of Art, is a performing arts center which comprises different galleries, art schools, studios and events. The ambitious architectural complex has been inaugurated in 2003. Theatre and concerts are hosted in several cultural venues; the most important are performed at the Ashdod Performing Arts Center, a new 938-seat concert hall of distinct elegance and originality designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan and inaugurated in 2012 in the city's cultural center. Ashdod plays host to many national and international music festivals, including the annual Super Jazz Ashdod Festival managed by Leonid Ptashka.

The ACADMA conservatory is a professional educational institute for music and performance studies based in Ashdod. Operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, the institute was established in 1966, and serves as a home for 600 young musicians in different fields.

Ashdod: Museums

The Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture is worldwide the only museum dedicated to this topic. It reopened in 2014 with a new interactive exhibition.

The Ashdod Museum of Art, located in the MonArt center (see above at "Music and performing arts"), has 12 galleries and two exhibition halls. In an architectural echo of the Louvre, the entrance to the museum is through a glass pyramid. In 2003 the internal spaces of the museum were redesigned by the architects Eyal Weizman, Rafi Segal and Manuel Herz.

Ashdod: Sports

Ashdod's football team, F.C. Ashdod represents 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 First League, Israel's First tier league, and the women squad Maccabi Bnot Ashdod plays in top division.

Haim Revivo

Ashdod plays host to many national and international sporting tournaments, including the annual Ashdod International Chess Festival. The city has a cricket team, a rarity in Israel. It is run and organized by citizens of Indian descent. Ashdod's beaches are a venue for water sports, like as windsurfing and Scuba diving. The Ashdod Marina offers yachting services.

Notable athletes from Ashdod include:

  • Vered Borochovsky – 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics swimmer.
  • Alon Day – Professional race car driver.
  • Alon Hazan – international soccer player
  • Haim Revivo – international soccer player
  • Gocha Tzitziashvili – 2003 Greco-Roman Wrestling World champion & 2004 Summer Olympics wrestler

Ashdod: Twin towns–Sister cities

Ashdod is twinned with

  • France Bordeaux, France
  • Argentina Bahía Blanca, Argentina
  • United States Los Angeles, California, USA
  • China Wuhan, China
  • Germany Spandau, Germany
  • United States Tampa, Florida, USA
  • Belarus Brest, Belarus
  • Georgia (country) Batumi, Georgia
  • Ukraine Zaporizhia, Ukraine
  • Kazakhstan Atyrau, Kazakhstan
  • Russia Arkhangelsk, Russia
  • Moldova Chișinău, Moldova

Ashdod: Notable residents

  • Igor Olshanetskyi (born 1986), Olympic weightlifter
  • Valery Panov (born 1938), dancer and choreographer

Ashdod: See also

  • Ashdod on the Sea, Ashdod's historic twin city, now part of modern Ashdod
  • Minat al-Qal'a, the Early Muslim castle at Ashdod on the Sea
  • Cities of the ancient Near East
  • List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War

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Ashdod: Bibliography

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  • Official website
  • Ashdod Port official website
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