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Or Yehudah

OR YEHUDAH (Heb. אוֹר יְהוּדָה), Israel urban community with municipal council status, 8 mi. (13 km.) E. of Tel Aviv. Or Yehudah comprises the site of biblical *Ono. Prior to the Israeli *War of Independence, two Arab villages existed on its area, Sākiyya (Sāqiyya) and Kafr Ānā, which were abandoned by their inhabitants before being taken by Israeli forces in June 1948. In 1949, immigrants from Libya and Turkey settled there under primitive conditions. In 1950 and 1951, two large ma'barot (tent and hut camps) were set up, mainly for newcomers from Iraq and Romania. Living conditions continued to be difficult until 1958, when permanent housing projects were started. The population declined from its 1958 figure of 12,500 to 10,100 in 1963, and rose to 12,300 in 1970 when more than half the total population were immigrants (over half from Iraq, and one-third from other Middle Eastern and North African countries). Or Yehudah had a large average family size and a low average age of population (52% below 20 years of age). It had 11 factories, the largest of which was a weaving factory for export. Other local enterprises engaged in metal, diamonds, and food processing. In the mid-1990s the population was approximately 23,300, and by 2002 it was 28,600. In 1988 Or Yehudah received city status, with an area of about 2 sq. mi. (5 sq. km.). The name "Light of Judah" commemorates Rabbi Judah *Alkalai.

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