EFRAT (Heb. אפרת), urban community with municipal council status, located in the *Gush Etzyon area south of Jerusalem. Its area is 1.5 sq. mi. (4 sq. km.). Efrat was established in 1983 after planning by an Israeli group and an American group led by Rabbi Shlomo *Riskin of New York, who settled in Efrat and became the town's rabbi. When the first families arrived the Shevut Yisrael Yeshivah, one of the hesder yeshivot, was functioning on the site. Efrat was unique among the West Bank settlements in that settlers moved immediately into permanent housing. Neighborhoods are named after the seven species for which the Land of Israel was famous in biblical times (Deut. 8:8). In 2002 the population of Efrat was 6,810, mainly religious people. Many of its inhabitants are Anglo-Saxons.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.