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Bat Yam in the evening
Bat Yam municipality building
The southern end of Bat Yam beach
'The Defenders Square' in Bat Yam
Bat Yam seen from the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv


Bat Yam ( ) is a city located on Israelmarker's Mediterranean Seamarker coast, on the central coastal strip, just south of Tel Avivmarker. Part of the Gush Danmarker metropolitan area, in the Tel Aviv Districtmarker, the city is home to 129,100 people.

History

Early history

Bat Yam was established in 1926 as Bayit VaGan ( ; House and Garden), and was geared toward Orthodox Jews. During the 1929 Palestine riots, Bayit VaGanmarker came under attacks by Arab gangs from neighbouring Jaffamarker and was evacuated by British Authorities before being reestablished in 1930. In 1936 the town was given the status of local council, and in 1938, the name of the town was changed to Bat Yam. By 1945 the population had grown to 2000 Jews.

Israeli Independence

Following the United Nations vote in favour of a partition plan on 29 November 1947 and the subsequent outbreak of violence, Bat Yam came under heavy attack from Jaffa, until Jaffa surrendered on 13 May 1948.

In the years following Israel's independence, Bat Yam grew dramatically due to mass immigration, gaining the status of a city in 1958. After this point, however, Bat Yam began to suffer from an Israeli version of "white flight". As more and more immigrants moved to the city, socio-economic problems began to appear. Relatively low real estate prices and a building boom during the 1970s and 1980s, saw even more migrants from lower socio-economic strata, mainly second- and third generation descendants of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries move into the city. As a result, middle-class veteran inhabitants of Bat Yam started to move out, primarily to the newer suburbs of Rishon LeZionmarker, a boomtown south of Bat Yam.

The city gained a sizeable community of Jews from Turkeymarker (est. 23% of the population) and has therefore hosted visits from the Turkish president, Süleyman Demirel, and prime minister, Tansu Çiller.

Recent history

Bat Yam once again experienced a period of rapid growth early 1990s with the mass-immigration from the former Soviet Unionmarker leading to many choosing Bat Yam as their new home due to its proximity to the industrial centres of the country, and relatively low real estate prices. The influx of Russians and Georgians, however, did nothing to help the city's socio-economic crisis, and by the early 2000s, following financial scandals resulting from the declining local leadership led by Yehoshua Saguy, the city was placed at the brink of bankruptcy.

In 2003 a new mayor, Shlomo Lahiani, was elected and the city began to rejuvenate, with some areas having already been transformed. There remain to this day, however, some zones of the city which still suffer from the issues which plagued the whole of this city just a few years ago. Bat Yam started to lose its image of the "poor suburb", thanks to large investments in education, culture and the appearance of the city. In 2008 the Bat-Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism was held for the first time. A small Hasidic enclave of Bobover Hasidim, known as Kiryat Bobov, was also established in Bat Yam.

Margarita Lautin, 31 of Yehudmarker was killed accidentally in a botched assassination attempt by the Abergil Crime Family while strolling on the Bat Yam beach with her husband Alexander and two children.

Shlomo Lahiani was re-elected as the mayor of Bat Yam in the municipal elections of November 11, 2008. He won 86 per cent of the votes, which, according to Israeli media, is a result unprecedented in a big city.

Tourism

The location of Bat Yam on the Mediterranean makes it popular with beach-goers. Furthermore the city has several museums, including the Bat Yam City Museum "Ben Ari", the Museum "Ryback" with a collection of paintings of the painter, Issachar Ber Ryback. There is also a museum in the memory of the Yiddish writer Sholem Asch who lived his last years in Bat Yam, and a small Holocaust museum.

Transport

Bus service

Bat Yam is served by bus only.

Being an integral part of the Gush Danmarker metropolitan area, Bat Yam has no bus lines limited to the city borders. All bus lines in Bat Yam have at least one terminus in Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion or Holon.

Dan is the biggest bus company in the area. It operates frequent service to various neighborhoods of Tel Avivmarker, and also connects Bat Yam to Holonmarker, Rishon LeZionmarker, Ramat Ganmarker, Giv'atayimmarker, Bnei Brakmarker, Tel HaShomermarker and Bar Ilan Universitymarker.

Egged connects Bat Yam to various neighborhoods of Holonmarker and Rishon LeZion, and also operates service to Jerusalemmarker, Tel Avivmarker, Ramlamarker, Ben Gurion International Airportmarker (part-time service) and intermediate communities.

Rail transport

The Yoseftal Railway Station is scheduled to open in 2010 as part of the new Tel Aviv – Rishon LeZion West line. Bat Yam will also be the terminus for the red line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail.

Politics and government

Type Name Years
Head of council Mintz Ben Zion 1936–1937
Head of council Yisrael Ben Zion 1937–1939
Head of council Yisrael Rabinovich-Teomim 1939–1943
Head of council Eliav Levai 1943–1950
Head of council David Ben Ari 1950–1958
Mayor David Ben Ari 1958–1963
Mayor Menachem Rothschild 1963–1973
Mayor Yitzhak Walker 1973–1977
Mayor David Mesika 1977–1978
Mayor Menachem Rothschild 1978–1983
Mayor Ehud Kanmon 1983–1993
Mayor Yehoshua Saguy 1993–2003
Mayor Shlomo Lahiani 2003–date
Source: Bat Yam's mayors on the official city website


Sport

The city's major football club, Maccabi Ironi Bat Yam, currently play in Liga Leumit, the third level of Israeli football. The club was formed by a 2004 merger of Hapoel Bat Yam (which had spent several seasons in the second division in the 1990s) and Maccabi Bat Yam.

Bat Yam´s Al Galmarker beach is regarded to be one of the best surfing spots in the region, having fairly consistent surf conditions, especially during the summer months.

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Bat Yam is twinned with:

Notable residents



External links



References

  1. Government of Palestine, Village Statistics, 1945, p52.
  2. Reputed mob boss arrested over Bat Yam beach murder By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent (05:55 08/08/2008). Retrieved 27 August 2008.



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