|Founded by||Jerusalem Brigade of Gdud HaAvoda|
Ramat Rachel or Ramat Raḥel (Hebrew: רָמַת רָחֵל, lit. Rachel's Heights) is a kibbutz located in central Israel. An enclave within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, near the neighborhoods Arnona and Talpiot, and overlooking Bethlehem and Rachel's Tomb (for which the kibbutz is named), it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council. In 2021, it had a population of 557.
According to archaeologists, Ramat Rachel "replaced Jerusalem as the economic and political hub of the southern highlands" in ancient times.
The kibbutz was established in 1926 by members of the Gdud HaAvoda labor brigade. Their goal was to settle in Jerusalem and earn their livelihood from manual labor, working in such trades as stonecutting, housing construction and haulage. After living in a temporary camp in Jerusalem, a group of ten pioneers settled on a stony plot of land on an 803-metre high hill south of the city. The kibbutz was destroyed by the Arabs in the riots of 1929. Hundreds of Arabs attacked the training farm and burned it to the ground. The settlers returned to the site a year later. According to a census conducted in 1931 by the British Mandate authorities, Ramat Rachel had a population of 131, in 45 houses.
In 1967, it was the target of intensive artillery shelling from Jordanian positions. As the borders of Jerusalem were expanded southward, the kibbutz was surrounded from all sides by the city's municipal borders. In 1990, the kibbutz had a population of 140 adults and 150 children.
The kibbutz economy is based on hi-tech, tourism and agriculture.
Hotel Mitzpeh Rachel is the only kibbutz hotel in Jerusalem. The hotel, surrounded by gardens, has 108 rooms with a panoramic view of Bethlehem, the Judean Desert and Herodion. The hotel also operates a convention center, tennis courts and a large swimming pool.
The kibbutz grows cherries, oranges, nectarines, grapefruit, olives, persimmons, figs, pomelos and tangerines.
The first scientific exploration of the site, known in Arabic as Khirbet es-Sallah, was conducted by Benjamin Mazar and Moshe Stekelis in 1930–1931. In a series of digs in 1959–1962, Yohanan Aharoni tentatively identified it as the biblical Beit Hakerem (Jeremiah 6:1), one of the places from which flaming warning signals were sent to Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period. Yigael Yadin dated the palace excavated by Aharoni to the reign of Athaliah and identified it as the "House of Baal" recorded in 2 Kings 11:18.
One of many important artifacts discovered at Ramat Rachel are numerous stamp impressions. Among these are LMLK seal impressions. Archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, who excavated the site in 1984, says the ancient name of the site may have been MMST, one of four enigmatic words that appear on the handles.
Archaeological excavations resumed in 2004 under the direction of Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University) and Manfred Oeming (Heidelberg University). According to Lipschits, the site was a palace or administrative center with a water works system "unparalleled in Eretz Israel."[full citation needed][full citation needed] Lipschits says agricultural produce was collected there as a source of government tax revenue. A large number of arrowhead finds from the site suggest the presence of a Babylonian garrison during the sixth century BCE, consistent with evidence of its function as a major administrative center during this period.
In 2023, an ancient Greek tomb was discovered, which believed to date back to the late 4th century and early 3rd century BCE. It contained the remains of a Greek courtesan (Hetaira) and artifacts, including a rare mirror.
Sculptures and environmental art
In the hotel garden is a sculpture of the biblical matriarch Rachel, who personifies the nation. The sculpture is inscribed with a Hebrew Bible verse from Jeremiah 31:17: "Your children will return to their own land." In the Book of Jeremiah, Rachel is depicted as a woman surveying the horizon as though waiting for others.
- Archaeology in Israel
- Beit HaKerem (Biblical)
- Discovery of citron pollen
- Tourism in Israel
- Battles of Ramat Rachel
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