Bet Schemesch

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Bet Schemesch
Bet Shemesh coat of arms
Bet Schemesch
Basic data
hebrew : בית שמש
arabic : بيت شيمش
State : IsraelIsrael Israel
District : Jerusalem
Founded : pre-biblical settlement
1950 (re-establishment)
Coordinates : 31 ° 45 ′  N , 34 ° 59 ′  E Coordinates: 31 ° 44 ′ 43 "  N , 34 ° 59 ′ 20"  E
Height : 220  m
Area : 34.259  km²
Residents : 118,676 (as of 2018)
Population density : 3,464 inhabitants per km²
Community code : 2610
Time zone : UTC + 2
Community type: City administration
Website :
Bet Shemesh (Israel)
Bet Schemesch
Bet Schemesch

Bet Shemesh ( Hebrew בֵּית שֶׁמֶשׁ Bejt Schemesch , German 'House of the Sun / Temple of the Sun God Šamaš ' ; due to the translation from Hebrew, different spellings occur; Arabic بيت شيمش, DMG Bayt Šīmiš , Tell Bet Schemesch: Arabic عين شمس, DMG ʿAyn Šams ; ancient Greek Βαιθσαμυς ; Latin Bethsames ) is a city in Israel in the Jerusalem district on the railway line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem .



Bet Shemesh is named after an earlier settlement of the same name, which lies a little west of the present-day city; the tell was excavated at the beginning of the 20th century. This city, which was populated by Canaanites and Hyksos , among others , dates back to the 18th century BC. BC back.

Mention in the Bible

Bet Shemesch is mentioned several times in the Bible , e.g. B. in connection with the conquest of the land by the Israelites ( Jos 21,16  LUT ) and with the return of the ark of the covenant stolen from the Philistines ( 1 Sam 6,12  LUT ). Since residents of Beth Shemesch looked up from the wheat harvest and saw the Ark of the Covenant, God slew 70 of the people ( 1 Sam 6,19  EU ).

Roman and Byzantine times, Middle Ages

The place was still inhabited in Roman times. In the Byzantine period there was a monastery in Bet Shemesh . It was probably the "Samson Monastery" mentioned by Johannes Moschos , named after the biblical hero Samson . In 2016, during the construction of a water pipe, a very large and apparently very important pilgrimage church was discovered by an unknown Christian martyr and was connected to the monastery and was well preserved under stabilizing earth . It existed from the 6th to the 9th century. It is the best preserved church of its kind in Israel and Jordan.

Around 1300 a caravanserai was built on the site of today's city .

Since 1950

The modern Bet Schemesch was founded in 1950 as a development city and was planned as the urban center for the northern Shefela region. As a result of the first settlers working in reforestation, extensive pine forests were created around Bet Shemesh.

The location had a negative impact on the city's development: Since the construction of the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem motorway, Bet Shemesh has been off the main road. The Tel Aviv – Jerusalem line was also barely used by the Israeli railway for many years. Regular train services to Tel Aviv have only been available again since 2003; regular passenger traffic to Jerusalem was resumed in April 2005 after the completion of extensive renovation measures.

On June 25, 1991, Bet Shemesh received the status of a city ​​council .

Due to its location, Bet Schemesch stagnated for a long time and only had about 25,000 inhabitants in the early 1990s. After that, the city grew considerably due to the influx of new immigrants. In 2006, Bet Shemesh already had 69,500 inhabitants, some of which are commuters who work in Jerusalem.

An important industry is the cultivation of wine ; in the area of ​​Bet Shemesh are u. a. Vineyards of the Cremisan Monastery .

The city is a stronghold of ultra-Orthodox Judaism . In late 2011, the intention of some ultra-Orthodox to introduce gender segregation on the street, on the bus and elsewhere in public spaces in Bet Shemesh sparked nationwide protests. Around 10,000 demonstrators, including religious Israelis and prominent politicians, traveled to Bet Shemesh from across the country and protested against fundamentalist trends. President Shimon Peres supported them and praised the police "who fought for fundamental equality in Bet Shemesh". In his opinion, everyone in the country should stand up against “a minority who behave in unheard-of ways”. When the counter-demonstration they planned was banned, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Israelis rioted on December 29, 2011 in Bet Shemesh.


In the censuses of May 22, 1961, May 19, 1972, June 4, 1983, November 4, 1995 and December 28, 2008, the Israeli Central Statistical Office gives the following population figures for Bet Shemesh:

Year of the census 1961 1972 1983 1995 2008 2015
Number of inhabitants 6,986 10.111 12,956 24,179 76,078 103,922


PikiWiki Israel 11209 Landscape view.jpg
  • 1953–1955: Schmu'el Avi'eser
  • 1955–1965: Menachem Neumann
  • 1965-1967: Oved Seri-Levi
  • 1967–1978: Amram Luk
  • 1978–1989: Jehuda ben Se'ev
  • 1989-1993: Shalom Fadida
  • 1993-2008: Daniel Vaknin
  • 2008–2018: Moshe Abutbul
  • 2018– 0000: Dr. Aliza Bloch

Kibbutz Tamuz

Kibbutz Tamuz, founded in 1987, is located in the urban area of ​​Bet Shemesh .


  • The monastery Bet Jemal , founded in 1881, now located in the city area, was built next to a Catholic agricultural school from 1873. It is a place of pilgrimage.
  • Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered the remains of a 1,500-year-old basilica- style church in the Ramat Beit Shemesh district in October 2019 . The church is decorated with mosaic floors decorated with leaves, fruits, birds and plants and Greek inscriptions. At the time of use, the walls were decorated with colorful frescoes and tall columns. The main phase of construction took place during the reign of Emperor Justinian I , who ruled from 527 to 565. Later, under Emperor Tiberios I (574-582), a side chapel was added, an inscription mentions his donation.
  • In 2014 Natan Slifkin founded the Biblical Natural History Museum in Bet Shemesh. Many of the larger animals such as lions , cheetahs and ibex are only stuffed here due to lack of space, the smaller ones are kept alive.

Town twinning


Web links

Commons : Bet Schemesch  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. אוכלוסייה ביישובים 2018 (population of the settlements 2018). (XLSX; 0.13 MB) Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , August 25, 2019, accessed May 11, 2020 .
  2. ^ Claudine Dauphin: La Palestine byzantine. Peuplement et Populations . Archeopress, Oxford 1998, Vol. 3, p. 909.
  3. ^ Art. Bet-Schemesch . In: Othmar Keel, Max Küchler: Places and Landscapes of the Bible , Vol. 2: The South . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1982, pp. 805-817, here p. 813.
  4. Andrea Krogmann: Bet Schemes: Riddle around the church of the "glorious martyr". In: , October 27, 2019, accessed on the same day.
  5. Oz Rosenberg, Nir Hasson, Revital Blumenfeld, Barak Ravid, Talila Nesher: As rallies subside, Beit Shemesh residents fear a battle long lost . Ha-Aretz, December 28, 2011
  6. Gisela Dachs: The delayed problem with the ultra-orthodox . Zeit Online, December 28, 2011.
  7. Israel's President calls for protest against ultra-Orthodox . Zeit Online, December 27, 2011.
  8. ^ Ultra-Orthodox rampage in Beit Shemesh . Zeit Online, December 30, 2011.
  9. ^ Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
  10. ^ Sabine Brandes: New and old mayors. In: Jüdische Allgemeine . November 8, 2018
  11. There is also that in Israel: Kibbutzim in cities In: , December 10, 2001, accessed on August 1, 2018.
  12. Church of a "glorious martyr" discovered. In: Israelnetz .de. October 24, 2019, accessed October 25, 2019 .
  13. Florian Stark: Archeology: Church of a "glorious martyr" discovered in Israel . In: THE WORLD . October 24, 2019 ( [accessed April 13, 2020]).
  14. ^ Biblical Natural History Museum - God's animal kingdom in Israel. June 26, 2019, accessed on April 12, 2020 (German).