"Beit Shemesh: House of the Rising Sun" Bet Shemesh by gilabrand

Bet Shemesh Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 19 photos

Back in the 1950s, Beit Shemesh was what Israel called a "development town." Now that sounds promising, but development towns were generally dinky places in the middle of nowhere that became a kind of catch-all for refugees and new immigrants. Beit Shemesh was one of them. In those early days of the state, the government sent newcomers to transit camps called "ma'abarot" and then plonked them down in hicktowns like Beit Shemesh.

If you look at the above picture, you will see that Beit Shemesh today is not bad at all, despite the stigma that clung to it for years. And every one of those trees you see, coloring the hills green, was planted by Jewish immigrants ("olim hadashim") from Arab countries who were brought here to clear the rocky fields and build a "House in the Sun."

Hebrew glossary:
Beit = House
Shemesh = Sun

  • Last visit to Bet Shemesh: Mar 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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