Lod: Wikis


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Lod COA.png
Downtown area of Lod, Israel 00262.JPG
Lod city centre
District Center
Government City
Hebrew לֹד, לוֹד
Arabic اَلْلُدّْ
Population 67,000[1] (2007)
Area 12,226 dunams (12.226 km2; 4.720 sq mi)
Mayor Ilan Harari

Lod (Hebrew: לוֹד‎; Arabic: اَلْلُدّْ‎, al-Ludd; Greco-Latin Lydda) is a city located on the Sharon Plain 15 kilometers (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2007, it had a population of 67,000, roughly 80 percent Jewish and 20 percent Arab.

The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod.[2] When Lydda, as it was known before 1948, was conquered by Israel, the Arab inhabitants were expelled and the city was settled by Jewish immigrants.[3] Since then, it has been known as Lod, its biblical name.[4]

Israel's main international airport, Ben Gurion International Airport (previously called Lydda Airport, RAF Lydda, and Lod Airport) is located in the city.


Ancient history

Old map showing the location of the town

Pottery finds have dated the city's initial settlement to 5600–5250 BCE.[5] The earliest written record is in a list of towns in Canaan drawn up by the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III at Karnak in 1465 BCE.[6] From the 5th century BCE until the Roman conquest in 70 CE, the city was a well-known centre of Jewish scholars and merchants.[7] Martin Gilbert writes that, during the Hasmonean period, which lasted from 166 BCE to 37 CE, Jonathan Maccabee and his brother Simon Maccabaeus enlarged the area under Jewish control, which included conquering the city.[8]

The city is mentioned several times in the Bible: in Ezra 2:33 , it is mentioned as one of the cities whose inhabitants returned after the Babylonian captivity, and in the New Testament, it is the site of Peter's healing of a paralytic man in Acts 9:32-38.[9]


Roman occupation

Saint George's tomb

In 43 CE, Cassius, the Roman governor of Syria, sold the inhabitants of Lod into slavery. During the First Jewish–Roman War, the Roman proconsul of Syria, Cestius Gallus, razed the town on his way to Jerusalem in 66 CE. It was occupied by Emperor Vespasian in 68 CE.[10]

During the Kitos War, the Roman army laid siege to Lydda, where the rebel Jews had gathered under the leadership of Julian and Pappus. The distress became so great that the patriarch Rabban Gamaliel II, who was shut up there and died soon afterwards, permitted fasting even on Ḥanukkah. Other rabbis condemned this measure.[11] Lydda was next taken and many of the Jews were executed; the "slain of Lydda" are often mentioned in words of reverential praise in the Talmud.[12]

In 200 CE, the emperor Septimius Severus established a Roman city there, calling it Colonia Lucia Septimia Severa Diospolis.[13] At that point, most of its inhabitants were Christian. It later became known as Georgiopolis because St. George, a soldier in the guard of Emperor Diocletian, was killed there in 303 for refusing to recant his Christian faith.[14] The city's Church of St. George was built as a memorial.[6]

Arab conquest

It became an important city after the Arab conquest of Palestine by Khalid ibn al-Walid in 636 CE during the Muslim conquests, when it served as the capital, though this was later moved to Ramla.[7][15]

Crusader period

The Crusaders occupied the city in 1099 and named it St. Jorge de Lidde.[7] It was briefly conquered by Saladin, but retaken by the Crusaders in 1191. For the English Crusaders, it was a place of great significance as the birthplace of Saint George. The Crusaders made it the seat of a Latin rite diocese,[16] and it remains a titular see.[17] According to the Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela, there was one Jewish family living there in 1170.[18]

Modern history

Ottoman period and the British Mandate

Lydda in 1903
In 1920
In 1948

The missionary Dr. William M. Thomson visited Lydda in the mid 19th century, describing it as:

[A] flourishing village of some 2,000 inhabitants, embosomed in noble orchards of olive, fig, pomegranate, mulberry, sycamore, and other trees, surrounded every way by a very fertile neighborhood. The inhabitants are evidently industrious and thriving, and the whole country between this and Ramleh is fast being filled up with their flourishing orchards. Rarely have I beheld a rural scene more delightful than this presented in early harvest ... It must be seen, heard, and enjoyed to be appreciated.[19]

In 1870, under the rule of the Ottoman empire, the current Church of Saint George was built. In 1892 the first railway station in the entire region was established in the city.[20] In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish merchants migrated to the city but left after the 1921 Jaffa riots.[20] By this time, Lydda was under the administration of the British Mandate in Palestine, as per a League of Nations decree that followed World War I. During World War II, the British set up supply posts in and around Lydda and its railway station, also building an airport, renamed Ben Gurion Airport after the establishment of Israel in 1948.[20]

Arab–Israeli conflict

Until 1948, Lydda was an Arab town with a population of around 20,000—18,500 Muslims and 1,500 Christians.[21][22] In 1947, the United Nations proposed dividing Palestine into two states, one Jewish state, one Arab; Lydda was to form part of the proposed Arab state.[23] The proposal was rejected by the Arabs, and on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Several Arab states attacked, and in the ensuing war Israel captured Arab towns outside the area the UN had allotted it, including Lydda.

The Israel Defence Forces entered Lydda on July 11, 1948. The following day, under the impression that it was under attack,[24] the 3rd Battalion was ordered to shoot anyone "seen on the streets." According to the Israeli army, 250 Arabs (men, women, and children) were killed. Other estimates are higher: Palestinian historian Aref al Aref estimated 400, and Nimr al Khatib 1700.[25][26]

An image of the Arab's three-day march out of Lydda

During 1948, the population rose to 50,000 people as Arab refugees fleeing other areas made their way there.[20] All but 700[27] were expelled by order of the Israeli high command, and forced to walk 17 kilometers to Arab Legion lines on one of the hottest days of the year. Many died from exhaustion and dehydration; estimates vary from a handful to 355.[28][29] The town was subsequently sacked by the Israeli army. The few hundred Arabs who remained in the city were not permitted to live in their own homes,[30]. They were soon vastly outnumbered by the influx of Jewish immigrants who moved into the town from August 1948 onwards, as a result of which Lydda became a predominantly Jewish town.[22][31] The new Jewish immigrants came in waves, first from Morocco and Tunisia, and later from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.[1]


Synagogue, church, and mosque in Lod

According to the CBS, in 2001 the ethnic and religious makeup of the city was 80.3% Jewish and other non-Arab, and 19.7% Arab (18.6% Muslim and 1.1% Christian). There are 561 "olim", or new Jewish immigrants to Israel, included in these figures. See Population groups in Israel.

According to CBS, in 2001 there were 32,400 males and 33,700 females. The population of the city was spread out with 36.7% 19 years of age or younger, 16.4% between 20 and 29, 19.2% between 30 and 44, 14.5% from 45 to 59, 3.7% from 60 to 64, and 9.5% 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 1.7%.

According to CBS, there are 38 schools and 13,188 pupils in the city. They are spread out as 26 elementary schools and 8,325 elementary school pupils, and 13 high schools and 4,863 high school pupils. 52.5% of 12th grade pupils were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001.

Economy and income

Old Khan

The airport and related industries are a major source of employment for the residents of Lod. The Jewish Agency Absorption Centre, the main facility for handling olim arriving in Israel, is also located in Lod. According to CBS figures for 2000, there were 23,032 salaried workers and 1,405 self-employed. The mean monthly wage for a salaried worker was NIS 4,754, a real change of 2.9% over the course of 2000. Salaried men had a mean monthly wage of NIS 5,821 (a real change of 1.4%) versus NIS 3,547 for women (a real change of 4.6%). The mean income for the self-employed was NIS 4,991. There were 1,275 people receiving unemployment benefits and 7,145 receiving an income supplement.

Plagued by a poor image for decades, projects are under way to improve services in Lod. New upscale neighborhoods are expanding the city to the east, among them Ganei Ya'ar and Ahisemah.[32]


A well-preserved mosaic floor dating to the Roman period was excavated in 1996 as part of a salvage dig conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Municipality of Lod, prior to widening HeHalutz Street. The mosaic was covered over with soil at the conclusion of the excavation for lack of funds to conserve and develop the site.[33] The mosaic is now part of the Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center.


The city's major soccer club, Hapoel Bnei Lod, plays in Liga Leumit (the second division). Its home base is Lod Municipal Stadium. The club was formed by a merger of Bnei Lod and Rakevet Lod in the 1980s. Two other clubs in the city play in the regional leagues: Hapoel MS Ortodoxim Lod in Liga Bet and Maccabi Lod in Liga Gimel.

Hapoel Lod played in the top division during the 1960s and 1980s, and won the State Cup in 1984. The club folded in 2002. A new club, Hapoel Maxim Lod (named after former mayor Maxim Levy) was established soon after, but folded in 2007.

Notable residents

International Relations

Twin towns - sister cities

Lod is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008-06-30. http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2009/table3.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  2. ^ The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, 61-62
  3. ^ Morris, Benny. (2004) The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press, pp. 414-461.
  4. ^ Yacobi, Haim. The Jewish-Arab City, Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. 29: "The occupation of Lydda by Israel in the 1948 war did not allow the realization of Pocheck's garden city vision. Different geopolitics and ideologies began to shape Lydda's urban landscape ... [and] its name was changed from Lydda to Lod, which was the region's biblical name."; also see Pearlman, Moshe and Yannai, Yacov. Historical sites in Israel. Vanguard Press, 1964, p. 160.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Joshua J. Lod (Lydda), Israel: from its origins through the Byzantine period, 5600 B.C.E.-640 C.E.. Tempus Reparatum, 1991, p. 39.
  6. ^ a b "Excursions in Terra Santa". Franciscan Cyberspot. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  7. ^ a b c "Lod," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Martin. Dearest Auntie Flori: The Story of the Jewish People. Harper Collins 2002, p. 82; also see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 14:208
  9. ^ "Lod," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009. "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda," Acts 9:32-38.
  10. '^ Michael Avi-Yonah, Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. "Lydda"
  11. ^ Ta'anit ii. 10; Yer. Ta'anit ii. 66a; Yer. Meg. i. 70d; R. H. 18b
  12. ^ Pes. 50a; B. B. 10b; Eccl. R. ix. 10
  13. ^ Cecil Roth, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972, p. 619.
  14. ^ Frenkel, Sheera and Low, Valentine. "Why Lod, the other land of St George, isn't for the faint-hearted", The Times, April 23, 2009.
  15. ^ Petersen, Andrew. Dictionary of Islamic Architecture. Routledge 1996, p. 230.
  16. ^  "Lydda". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Lydda. 
  17. ^ Lydda Catholic-hierarchy.org
  18. ^ Pringle, 1993, p. 11.
  19. ^ Thomson, W.M. (1861). The Land and the Book. T Nelson and Sons, p. 525.
  20. ^ a b c d Shahin, 2005, p. 260.
  21. ^ "Lod," January 2, 1949, IS archive Gimel/5/297 in Yacobi, Haim. The Jewish-Arab City, Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. 31.
  22. ^ a b Monterescu and Rabinowitz, 2007, pp. 16-17.
  23. ^ Sa'di and Abu-Lughod, 2007, pp. 91-92.
  24. ^ Tal, David. War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy. Routledge, 2004, p. 311.
  25. ^ Sefer Hapalmah ii (The Book of the Palmah), p.565; and KMA-PA (Kibbutz Meuhad Archives - Palmah Archive). Quoted in Morris, 1987.
  26. ^ Morris, 1987, p. 205. Morris writes: "[...] dozens of unarmed detainees in the mosque and church in the centre of the town were shot and killed."
  27. ^ The figure comes from Bechor Sheetrit, the Israeli Minister for Minority Affairs at the time, cited in Yacobi, Haim. The Jewish-Arab City, Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. 32.
  28. ^ Spiro Munayyer, The Fall of Lydda, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Summer, 1998), pp. 80-98. See also Yitzhak Rabin's diaries, quoted here.
  29. ^ Holmes et al., 2001, p. 64.
  30. ^ Hoffman, Carl (16 December 2008). "Lod: In need of a major makeover". © 2008-2009 The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728141422&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  31. ^ Yacobi, Haim. The Jewish-Arab City, Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. 29.
  32. ^ Ganei Ya'ar in Lod The Jerusalem Post, 7 February 2008
  33. ^ Lod mosaic
  34. ^ "Piatra Neamţ - Twin Towns". © 2007-2008 Piatra-Neamt.net. http://www.piatra-neamt.net/en/twin_towns.php. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 

External links

Coordinates: 31°56′54.59″N 34°53′20.4″E / 31.9484972°N 34.889°E / 31.9484972; 34.889


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