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Abu Ghosh, Israel

ABU GHOSH, Israeli Arab village in the Judean Hills 8 mi. (13 km.) W. of Jerusalem. Its area consists of 1 sq. mi. (2.5 sq. km.). In 1968 Abu Ghosh had a population of 1,710, 98% of them Muslims, and the rest Christians. In 2003 the population was 5,200. In 1992 the village received municipal council status. The village's agricultural economy was based on grain and vegetables, vines, olives, and deciduous fruit. Income levels were about half the national average in 2004.

Biblical *Kiriath-Jearim lies within its boundaries. Its name from the Arab conquest (seventh century) was Qaryat al-ʿInab ("Borough of the Grapevine"). The name Abu Ghosh stems from a high-handed 17th-century sheikh of Circassian origin, who controlled the region and whose heirs imposed a toll on every traveler to and from Jerusalem, until an end was put to the extortions at the time of the Egyptian governor Ibrahim Pasha, around 1835. After the establishment of the nearby kibbutzim *Kiryat Anavim (1920) and *Ma'aleh ha-Ḥamishah (1938), relations between the villagers and Jews were friendly and remained so in the Israeli War of Independence. Some of the villagers cooperated with the *Haganah and with *Loḥamei Ḥerut Israel . Abu Ghosh has a Catholic monastery and a convent. The village includes a well-preserved crusader church built at the spot around 1142 because the site was then held to be *Emmaus of the New Testament. The church was partially destroyed in 1187 and rebuilt by the French government in 1899. It is under the guardianship of the Lazarist Fathers. A stone inserted in its wall bears the imprint of the Roman Tenth Legion (Fretensis), apparently stationed here in the first century C.E. The Josephine Convent of the Ark, built in 1924, stands supposedly on the site of the house of *Abinadab (II Sam. 6). From 1957, an annual music festival was held in the village. Nearby is Aqua Bella (Heb. Ein Ḥemed), a partially destroyed 12th-century crusader monastery, which has been made into a national park.

[Abraham J. Brawer / Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.