Ashdod (Hebrew: אַשְׁדּוֹד ʾašdōḏ; Arabic: أسدود or إسدود ʾisdūd or ʾasdūd Arabic pronunciation: [ʔɪ, ʔa-sˈduːd]; Philistine: 𐤀𐤔𐤃𐤃 *ʾašdūd) is the sixth-largest city in Israel. Located in the country's Southern District, it lies on the Mediterranean coast 32 kilometres (20 miles) south of Tel Aviv and 20 km (12 mi) north of Ashkelon.

  • אַשְׁדּוֹד
City (from 1968)
Hebrew transcription(s)
  ISO 259ʔašdod
Coordinates: 31°48′0″N 34°39′0″E
Country Israel
Founded1700 BCE (Canaanite settlement)
1300 BCE (Philistine rule)
147 BCE (Hasmonean rule)
7th century CE (Muslim city)
1956 (Israeli city)
  MayorYehiel Lasri
  Total47,242 dunams (47.242 km2 or 18.240 sq mi)
  Density4,800/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
Ashdod from above

The first documented urban settlement at Ashdod dates to the 17th century BCE, when it was a fortified Canaanite city.[2] It was destroyed at the end of the Late Bronze Age. During the Iron Age, Ashdod was a prominent Philistine city, one of the five Philistine city-states. It is mentioned 13 times in the Hebrew Bible. After being captured by Uzziah, it was briefly ruled by the Kingdom of Judah before it was taken by the Assyrians. During the Persian period, Nehemiah condemned the returning Jews for intermarrying Ashdod's residents. Under Hellenistic rule, the city was known as Azotus. It was later incorporated into the Hasmonean kingdom. During the 1st century BCE, Pompey removed the city from Judean rule and annexed it to the Roman province of Syria. Ashdod was a bishopric under Byzantine rule, but its importance gradually slipped and by the Middle Ages it was a village.[3] The nearby site of Ashdod-Yam, today also part of the modern city, was a separate city for most of its history.

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 225,939 in 2019,[1] with an area of 47,242 dunams (47.242 km2; 18.240 sq mi).[4]

Ashdod is today a major Israeli city, and contains the largest port in Israel accounting for 60% of the country's imported goods. Ashdod today is home to the largest Moroccan and Karaite Jewish communities in Israel,[5][6] and to the largest Georgian Jewish community in the world.[7] It is also an important regional industrial center.

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