Ariel in Palestine

Friday, 22 July 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
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Ariel University Center © Ori~

Ariel University Center © Ori~

Ariel is an urban Israeli settlement organized as a city council in the central West Bank, Palestine, part of the Israeli-occupied territories, approximately situated between 17 kilometres (11 mi) and 22 kilometres (14 mi) east of the Green Line, and 34 kilometres (21 mi) west of the Jordan River, Jordan‘s western border. Ariel is adjacent to the Palestinian National Authority town of Salfit and southwest of Nablus. It is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Petah Tikva, and 42 kilometres (26 mi) east of Tel Aviv to which it is connected by the Highway 5 and 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Jerusalem, to which it is connected by Highway 60. Ariel was first established in 1978 and its population was 20,540 in 2019, composed of veteran and young Israelis, English-speaking immigrants, and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, with an additional influx of above 10,000 students from Ariel University. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, after Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, and Ma’ale Adumim. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. Ariel’s jurisdiction spans 14,677 dunams (14.677 km²; 5.667 sq mi), and borders the Palestinian towns and villages Salfit, Marda and Iskaka. According to B’Tselem, within Ariel’s municipal area there are several enclaves of privately owned Palestinian land, whose owners are not allowed access to them.

Ariel was founded in 1978 on land that was seized for military needs and on land that was declared state land, including cultivated farmland of Palestinian villages in the district and on rocky land the villagers used for grazing their flocks. At the beginning of 1978, a group of Israelis formed in order to create a settlement in the hills of the northern part of the West Bank made a formal request to the government to be given land to build a new community and were given three options by the army; the area near the ‘lone tree’ which would later become Barkan, the area which would later become Kfar Tapuach, and a hill near Kifl Hares that was known to the local Arabs as ‘Jabel Mawat’, the hill of death, because of inhospitable terrain. The leader of this group, Ron Nachman, chose the latter because of its strategic location on a possible Jordanian invasion route towards Israel’s main population centre of Tel Aviv. In the spring of 1978, some of the group’s men erected tents on the chosen hilltop, and in August 1978, a total of forty families came to live in the settlement. The original members of the group had gone through a screening process in order to put together a mix of skilled adults as well as young families that would be prepared psychologically to withstand starting a new settlement from scratch with little infrastructure and modern comforts. There were no paved roads or paths. Water was supplied periodically by a tanker truck. Electricity was provided by a generator since no electrical network existed in that area. Tents were replaced by prefabricated concrete blocks which served as living quarters, schools, and an infirmary. On September 1, 1978, the school year was officially opened. From 1978 to 1988, Ariel continued to develop, and established itself as the urban center for the nearby Jewish settlements. In 1980, the prefabricated homes were replaced with permanent housing. Three elementary schools, a community center, a sports hall, and a synagogue were built. In May 1982, Ariel was connected to the national power grid. During the mass immigration of Jews from Soviet Union that began in 1989 and continued throughout the 1990s, Ariel, which had a population of 8,000 in 1990, experienced a population boom. Unlike in Israel proper, apartments in Ariel were plentiful and cheap, which proved attractive to the immigrants. Some 6,000 Soviet immigrants moved to Ariel, almost doubling its population. In 2005, the residents of Netzarim, a former Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip which had been evacuated, found temporary housing in the dormitories of the Ariel University Center of Samaria. At the beginning of the academic year, about one-third chose to settle permanently in Ariel, while the rest moved to Yevul. In 2007, the city began receiving immigrants from English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and South Africa in significant numbers. Nachman, a central figure in the Likud party, presided over Ariel from 1978 until his death in January 2013, at first as head of the local council and as mayor from 1985, when the settlement was officially recognized as a city. Both religious and secular Jews reside in Ariel. The city has sixteen synagogues.

© Michael Jacobson/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Salonmor/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ariel University Center © Ori~ Ariel University © Ariela1982/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Ori~ © Ori~ © Ori~ © Ori~
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Ariel University © Ariela1982/cc-by-sa-3.0
The city has several shopping centres and two industrial zones (divided into light and heavy industry), a library. In July 2008, Israel approved the construction of 27 new factories, which were expected to be completed by September 2009. Ariel is home to the Ariel University, founded in 1982 as the College of Judea and Samaria. In 2010, the university had a student population of 11,500, both Jewish and Arab. In 2007, it changed its name to Ariel University Center of Samaria, a change that was officially recognized in 2010. In 2012, it received accreditation as a research university.

The state-funded Ariel Center for the Performing Arts opened on November 8, 2010, with a performance of Piaf by the Beersheba Theater company. These performances were boycotted by sixty Israeli actors, writers, and directors, including Yehoshua Sobol, who refuse to perform in settlements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Culture Minister Limor Livnat and the leader of the Kadima Party Tzipi Livni condemned the boycott and proposed cutting government funding those participating in it. The boycott was supported by Amos Oz, David Grossman and A. B. Yehoshua, It was opposed by Amnon Shamosh, who suggested that the boycott plays into the hands of right-wing extremists by linking art and politics. 150 U.S. actors supported the boycott. However, five Israeli actors later withdrew from the boycott, indicating that they changed their mind or thought the letter they were signing called for a discussion on the issue rather than outright boycott.

Read more on Ariel, Wikivoyage Ariel and Wikipedia Ariel (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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