Ashqelon


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Ashqelon

(ăsh`kəlŏn), city (1994 pop. 80,100), SW Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a beach resort in an area of citrus groves and cotton plantations. Ashqelon's industries process agricultural products and manufacture cement, plastics, electronic equipment, and watches. Nearby is the site of ancient Ashqelon, or Ashkelon, whose history dates back to the 3d millenium B.C. It was a trade center and port and a seat of worship of the goddess AstarteAstarte
, Semitic goddess of fertility and love. She was the most important goddess of the Phoenicians and corresponds to the Babylonian Ishtar and the Greek Aphrodite. She took a dominant place in Middle Eastern religions, and the Jews strictly forbade use of her name.
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. Ancient Ashkelon was conquered by the PhilistinesPhilistines
, inhabitants of Philistia, a non-Semitic people who came to Palestine from the Aegean (probably Crete), in the 12th cent. B.C. Their control of iron supplies and their tight political organization of cities made them a rival of the people of Israel for centuries.
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 in the late 12th cent. B.C. and completely rebuilt. Ashkelon flourished under the Greeks and Romans; HerodHerod,
dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Jesus. As a dynasty the Herods depended largely on the power of Rome. They are usually blamed for the state of virtual anarchy in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era.

Antipater (fl. c.65 B.C.
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, believed to have been born there, greatly enlarged the city. It was taken by the Arabs in A.D. 638, conquered by the Crusaders in 1153 and occupied by Richard IRichard I,
 Richard Cœur de Lion
, or Richard Lion-Heart,
1157–99, king of England (1189–99); third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
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 in 1191, and completely destroyed by Muslims in 1270. An Israeli settlement was established there in 1948. In 1955 the modern city of Ashqelon was founded when Afridar, a town established by South African Jews in 1952, and Migdal, a former Arab town, were merged. A national park in Ashqelon includes Greek and Roman ruins and the remains of ancient synagogues. A Roman tomb (3d cent.) decorated with frescoes, the ruins of a Byzantine church, and a wall built by Crusaders are also in the city.
References in periodicals archive ?
I was kept in the Ashqelon compound for seven days.
One of the oldest port cities in the Holy Land, Ashqelon could have had human settlements as early as the Neolithic period, which began around 9,500 B.C.
The prosperous city, which flourished during the Roman period (first and second centuries A.D.), had a strong Hellenistic culture and a sizeable minority Jewish population, according to Yigal Israel, chief archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority in Ashqelon.
The cemetery where the altar was unearthed served Ashqelon's general pagan population, said Israel, adding that altars were "found everywhere, in cemeteries, in town squares, and also in temples."
Ashqelon district, some were set up in the Negev as well, particularly
Ramat Hovav and the Negev Junction, and between Ashqelon and Beersheba.
Esmail, who had a wife and a two-month-old daughter, did not want to be a refugee so he went back to his hometown of Ashqelon, said Al Madhoun.
Rabai Al Madhoun is a Palestinian writer, born in Al Majdal, Ashqelon, (now in Israel) in 1945.
On Sunday, the Prisoners' Club had asked the staff of Barzilai hospital in Ashqelon to rouse the patient so he could be asked his wishes in relation to an intervention.
Since Operation Cast Lead started on December 27, 2008, Hamas rockets have hit a school, open markets, homes, and other sites in Sderot, Gedera, Ashdod, Ashqelon, Beersheva, and elsewhere in southern Israel.
(36) In a January 12 speech in Ashqelon, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert claimed that his personal intervention with President Bush was responsible for changing the U.S.