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Biblical Beit Shemesh was on Tel Beit Shemesh overlooking the Sorek Valley. This is only a short distance from the modern Beit Shemesh.

A bit about modern Beit Shemesh. Under the United Nations Partition Plan, Beit Shemesh was slated to be part of internationalized Jerusalem. A displaced persons camp was set up here in 1950 and the first permanent housing was built in 1952 for new immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Romania, Bulgaria, Morocco and Kurdistan. It was typical of a development town. Investment in the town increased during Menachem Begin’s Likud government. Ramat Beit Shemesh is an extension of Beit Shemesh, and has a large, diverse orthodox population.  

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Tel Beit Shemesh

The tell overlooks the Sorek Valley. There are ruins on the top of the tell, but these are from the Byzantine period. Nevertheless, it is worth going to the top of the tell for the view over the Sorek Valley. After this, take another path to the right of the path to the top of the tell and this will bring you to some ruins. This includes a giant subterranean reservoir that is worth seeing. It is reached by steps. It was filled with dirt from the time of Sennacherib when he devastated the country, but this cleared out as part of the excavations.

 

Directions. Tel Beit Shemesh is just off Route 38. There is limited parking just beyond the road’s shoulder. Enter “https://waze.com/ul/hsv8ueujs3” into Waze. It is just after the turning of Route 3835 to Tzara, but before the turning of Route 3833 to Yishai.

Reservoir Beit Shemesh.jpeg

Descending into the reservoir.

Tel Beit shemesh.jpeg

The summit of the tel overlooking Soreke Valley

Inside reservoir.jpeg

Inside the subterranean reservoir

Nearby places of interest: The Tzora Forest on the other side of the Sorek Valley is a wonderful park and an excellent place for reviewing the story of Samson. Click here.

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