Abu Ghosh

Abu Ghosh

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Abu Ghosh is an Israeli Arab town in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of Jerusalem on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway
Highway 1 (Israel)
Highway 1 , is the main highway connecting Tel Aviv with Jerusalem.-History:The section between Latrun and Jerusalem roughly follows an ancient path connecting Jaffa and Jerusalem...

. It is situated 610–720 meters above sea level. In 2010, it set the Guinness World Record for largest dish of hummus
Hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the...

. Abu Ghosh is known for its good relations with the State of Israel and welcoming attitude toward Israelis.

History


Abu Ghosh is one of the earliest areas of human habitation in Israel. Archaeological excavations have revealed 3 neolithic settlement phases, the middle phase is dated to the 7th millennium BCE. Its old Arabic name of Qaryat al'Inab ("Grape Village") has led Abu Ghosh to be identified with the biblical site of Kiryat Ye'arim. Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis was a Roman legion levied by Augustus Caesar in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic...

 of the Roman army had a station house in Abu Ghosh until the end of the 3rd century. The village has also been associated with Anathoth
Anathoth
Anathoth - the name of one of the cities given to "the children of Aaron" , in the tribe of Benjamin . Since the Israelites often did not change the names of the towns they found in Canaan, the name of this town may be derived from a Canaanite goddess, ‘Anat...

, the birthplace of the prophet Jeremiah.

Ottoman era


Abu Ghosh is the name of an Arab family that settled here in the early 16th century. According to the family tradition, they had Circassian
Adyghe people
The Adyghe or Adygs , also often known as Circassians or Cherkess, are in origin a North Caucasian ethnic groupwho were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century, especially after the Russian–Circassian War of 1862.Adyghe people mostly speak Adyghe and most...

 descent, and the founder fought with Selim I
Selim I
Selim I, Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain , nicknamed Yavuz "the Stern" or "the Steadfast", but often rendered in English as "the Grim" , was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to...

. In the 18th century they lived in a village near Beit Nuba, from which they ruled the surrounding region. However, according to the tradition, the Bani Amir tribesmen and the villagers of Beit Liqya
Beit Liqya
Beit Liqya is a Palestinian town located in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate in the northern West Bank, 21 kilometers Southwest of Ramallah...

 rose against them and slaughtered the entire Abu Ghosh clan except for one woman and her baby, who continued the Abu Ghosh name.

The family controlled the pilgrimage route from Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 to Jerusalem, and imposed tolls on all pilgrims passing through. The churches in Jerusalem also paid a tax to the Abu Ghosh clan. In the 19th century, the village was also referred to as Kuryet el' Enab.

The Abu Ghoshes were granted a “firman” to impose tolls on pilgrims and visitors to Jerusalem. The Abu Ghoshes were among the most known feudal families in Palestine. They governed 22 villages. The sheikh of Abu Ghosh lived in an impressive house described by pilgrims and tourists as a "true palace…, a castle…, a protective fortress…”

Abu Ghosh was attacked by Egyptian military forces in the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine
1834 Arab revolt in Palestine
The 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine was a reaction to conscription into the Egyptian army by the Wāli Muhammad Ali. Ali, as a part of a modernisation policy, began the conscription of ordinary subjects. Traditionally, soldiers were recruited from freebooters, loot-seekers, mercenaries, slaves or...

 It was attacked again in 1853 during a civil war between feudal families under Ahmad Abu Ghosh who ordered his nephew Mustafa to go to battle. A third attack on AbuGhosh carried out by the Ottoman military forces, helped and executed by the British forces, during the military expedition against the feudal families in the 1860s.

Kiryat Anavim, the first kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 in the Judean Hills, was founded near Abu Ghosh in 1914, on land purchased from the Abu Ghosh family.

Arab-Israeli relations


When Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, later the first president of the State of Israel, visited Palestine in the spring of 1920, he was graciously hosted by the residents of Abu Ghosh. From the early 20th century, the leaders of Abu-Ghosh worked together and were on friendly terms with the Zionist leaders. Throughout the Mandate-period, the village of Abu Ghosh was on friendly terms with local Jews.

In 1947-1948, the road to Jerusalem was blocked and passage through the hills surrounding Jerusalem was crucial for getting supplies to the besieged city. Of the 36 Muslim-Arab villages nestled in these hills, Abu Ghosh was the only Muslim town that remained neutral, and in many cases proved friendly and helped to keep the road open. "From here it is possible to open and close the gates to Jerusalem," said former President Yitzhak Navon
Yitzhak Navon
Yitzhak Navon is an Israeli politician, diplomat, and author. He served as the fifth President of Israel between 1978 and 1982 as a member of the center-left Alignment party...

. Many in Abu Ghosh helped Israel with supplies.

Issa Jaber, director of the local department of education, says that the personal relationship with Zionist leaders during the prestate period set the basis for later cooperation. “We had a perspective for the future,” he says.
The villagers left Abu Ghosh during the heavy fighting in 1948, but most returned home in the following months. In the second half of 1949, the IDF and police rounded up those believed to be "infiltrators" and deported them to Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. Israeli historian Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

 writes about an open letter to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in which the residents of Abu Ghosh claimed that the army had "surrounded our village, and taken our women, children and old folk, and thrown them over the border and into the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 Desert, and many of them died in consequence, when they were shot [trying to make their way back across] the borders." The letter further stated that the villagers had been woken up to "shouts blaring over the loudspeaker announcing that the village was surrounded and anyone trying to get out would be shot....The police and military forces then began to enter the houses and conduct meticulous searches, but no contraband was found. In the end, using force and blows, they gathered up our women, and old folk and children, the sick and the blind and pregnant women. These shouted for help but there was no saviour. And we looked on and were powerless to do anything save beg for mercy. Alas, our pleas were of no avail... They then took the prisoners, who were weeping and screaming, to an unknown place, and we still do not know what befell them." In the wake of public pressure, the vast majority of villagers were allowed to return. The Israeli government, subsequently on peaceful terms with the village, invested in improving the infrastructure of the village.

Abu Ghosh mayor Salim Jaber explains the good relations with Israel to the great importance attached to being hospitable: "We welcome anybody, regardless of religion or race." According to a village elder interviewed by the Toronto Globe and Mail: "Perhaps because of the history of feuding with the Arabs around us we allied ourselves with the Jews...against the British. We did not join the Arabs from the other villages bombarding Jewish vehicles in 1947. The Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

 fought many villages around us. But there was an order to leave us alone. The other Arabs never thought there would be a Jewish government here...During the first truce of the War of Independence, I was on my way to Ramallah to see my father and uncles, and I was captured by Jordanian soldiers. They accused me of being a traitor and tortured me for six days."

Local government


Abu Ghosh is governed by a Local council
Local council (Israel)
Local councils are one of the three types of local government found in Israel, with the other two being cities and regional councils. As of 2003, there were 144 local councils in Israel, these being settlements which pass a minimum threshold enough to justify their operations as independent...

, and is part of the Jerusalem District
Jerusalem District
The Jerusalem District is one of six administrative districts of Israel. The district capital is Jerusalem. The Jerusalem District has a land area of 652 km². The population of 910,300 is 67.8% Jewish and 30.6% Arab...

. The mayor of Abu Ghosh is Salim Jabar. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

 (CBS), Abu Ghosh had a population of 5,700, predominantly Muslims, in June 2005.

Christian sites


The Crusader Church at the entrance to the village is one of the best preserved Crusader remains in the country. The Hospitallers had built this Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 church at 1140 and it was destroyed in 1187. It was acquired by the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Government in 1899 and placed under guardianship of the French Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 Fathers. Since 1956, it has been run by the Lazarist Fathers. Today double community of nuns and priests continue the worship in the church and offer hospitality reflecting the ancient story of the couple on the Jerusalem Emmaus
Emmaus
Emmaus was an ancient town located approximately northwest of present day Jerusalem...

 road. Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson (scholar)
Edward Robinson was an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” He has been referred to as the “founder of modern Palestinology.” -Biography:...

 (1838) described it as “obviously from the time of the crusades, and […] more perfectly preserved than any other ancient church in Palestine.” Excavations carried out in 1944 confirm that the Crusaders identified the site as the biblical Emmaus
Emmaus
Emmaus was an ancient town located approximately northwest of present day Jerusalem...

.

The Church of Notre Dame de l'Arche de l'Alliance (Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant), built in 1924, is said to occupy the site of the house of Abinadab
Abinadab
Abinadab may refer to:# A man of Kirjath-jearim widely identified as a Levite , in whose house the ark of the covenant was deposited after having been brought back from the land of the Philistines . It remained there twenty years, until it was at length removed by David . It has been argued that...

 where the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

 rested for twenty years until King David took it to Jerusalem. It is built on the site of a fifth-century Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 church. It is recognizable by the roof-top statue of Mary carrying the infant Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in her arms.

Music and culture



The Abu Gosh Music Festival is held twice a year, in the fall and late spring, with musical ensembles and choirs from Israel and abroad performing in and around the churches in Abu Ghosh. The Elvis Inn, a restaurant in Abu Ghosh, is known for its large gold statue of Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 in the parking lot.

Hummus capital


Abu Ghosh is popular among Israelis for its Middle Eastern restaurants and hummus. It is known as the "Hummus capital of Israel". In January 2010, Abu Ghosh secured the Guinness World Record for preparing the largest dish of hummus in the world. Jawdat Ibrahim
Jawdat Ibrahim
Jawdat Ibrahim is an Israeli-Arab millionaire who has established a fund that gives scholarships to both Arab and Jewish university students, and has hosted informal peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders at his popular Abu Ghosh restaurant...

, owner of Abu Ghosh hummus restaurant, organized the event, which brought together 50 Jewish and Israeli-Arab chefs. The winning 20 feet (6.1 m) dish weighed 4,087.5 kilograms (8992.5 pounds), about twice as much as the previous record set by Lebanon in October 2009. In May 2010, Lebanon regained the Guinness World Record, more than doubling Abu Ghosh's January 2010 total.

Chametz ceremony


Since 1997, Jaaber Hussein, a Muslim Arab-Israeli hotel food manager from Abu Ghosh, has signed an agreement with Israel's Chief Rabbis to purchase all of the state's chametz
Chametz
Chametz, also Chometz, and other spellings transliterated from , are leavened foods that are forbidden on the Jewish holiday of Passover. According to Jewish law, Jews may not own, eat or benefit from chametz during Passover...

, the leavened products not kosher for the Jewish holiday of Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

. This symbolic deal allows the state to respect religious edicts without wastefully destroying massive quantities of food. In 2009, Hussein put down a cash deposit of $4,800 (about 20,000 shekels) for $150 million worth of chametz, acquired from state companies, the prison service and the national stock of emergency supplies. At the end of Passover each year, the deposit is returned to Hussein and the state of Israel retains all the food products.