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Ma’alot-Tarshiha (Heb. מַעֲלוֹת־תַּרְשִּׁיחָה; “Heights”) is an urban community in western Upper Galilee, 12 mi. E. of Nahariya, founded in 1957, to replace two ma’barot in the vicinity.

In 1963, Ma’alot was united with the Arab village Tarshiha lying over 1 mile further west. Tarshiha was a center of western Galilee, and antiquities found in its vicinity date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods.

In the Israeli War of Independence, Tarshiha served as the headquarters of the Arab “Liberation Army” under Fawzi Kaukji until it was taken by Israel forces in Operation Ḥiram on October 30, 1948.

In 1965, a municipal council was set up in Ma’alot-Tarshiha. Although several industrial enterprises (textile, plastic, food, and building material) existed at Ma’alot in 1969, its economy was not yet firmly established due to the high percentage of welfare cases and the inadequacy of a local labor force. Tarshiha’s economic situation was far better, as many of its inhabitants were employed as skilled laborers in the Nahariya and Haifa areas or maintained lucrative farmsteads.

In 1969, the town had 4,750 inhabitants including 3,160 Jews in Ma’alot, the majority of whom originated from North African countries, and 1,590 Arabs at Tarshiha, some Muslim and some Christian.

Ma’alot was the target of an early terrorist attack, in May 1974, when 21 schoolchildren were killed.

In the mid-1990s, the population was approximately 12,800, rising to 20,650 in 2002, including 80% Jews, 9% Muslims, 10% Christians, and 1% Druze.

In 1996, Ma’alot-Tarshiḥa received city status. Its area is 2.7 sq. mi. During the 1990s, the economic base of the city was expanded by the addition of 100 factories and workshops, but income remained well below the national average. From 1992, Ma’alot-Tarshiḥa has hosted the International Symposium for Stone Sculpturing.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
Maalot Tarshiha.