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Bat Yam (Hebrew: בת ים‎) is a city located on Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast

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Published on May 19, 2010

Bat Yam (Hebrew: בת ים‎) is a city located on Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast, on the central coastal strip, just south of Tel Aviv.
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Part of the Gush Dan metropolitan area, in the Tel Aviv District, the city is home to 129,100 people.[1]

Early history

Bat Yam was established in 1926 as Bayit VaGan (Hebrew: בית וגן‎; House and Garden), and was geared toward Orthodox Jews. During the 1929 Palestine riots, Bayit VaGan came under attacks by Arab gangs from neighbouring Jaffa and was evacuated by British Authorities before being reestablished in 1930. In 1936 the town was given the status of local council, and in 1938, the name of the town was changed to Bat Yam. By 1945 the population had grown to 2000 Jews.[2]
[edit] Israeli Independence

Following the United Nations vote in favour of a partition plan on 29 November 1947 and the subsequent outbreak of violence, Bat Yam came under heavy attack from Jaffa, until Jaffa surrendered on 13 May 1948.
Bat Yam Municipal Stadium

In the years following Israel's independence, Bat Yam grew dramatically due to mass immigration, gaining the status of a city in 1958. After this point, however, Bat Yam began to suffer from an Israeli version of "white flight". As more and more immigrants moved to the city, socio-economic problems began to appear. Relatively low real estate prices and a building boom during the 1970s and 1980s, saw even more migrants from lower socio-economic strata, mainly second- and third generation descendants of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries move into the city. As a result, middle-class veteran inhabitants of Bat Yam started to move out, primarily to the newer suburbs of Rishon LeZion, a boomtown south of Bat Yam.

The city gained a sizeable community of Jews from Turkey (est. 23% of the population) and has therefore hosted visits from the Turkish president, Süleyman Demirel, and prime minister, Tansu Çiller.
[edit] Recent history
Bat Yam beach.

Bat Yam once again experienced a period of rapid growth early 1990s with the mass-immigration from the former Soviet Union leading to many choosing Bat Yam as their new home due to its proximity to the industrial centres of the country, and relatively low real estate prices. The influx of Russians and Georgians, however, did nothing to help the city's socio-economic crisis, and by the early 2000s, following financial scandals resulting from the declining local leadership led by Yehoshua Saguy, the city was placed at the brink of bankruptcy.

In 2003 a new mayor, Shlomo Lahiani, was elected and the city began to rejuvenate, with some areas having already been transformed. There remain to this day, however, some zones of the city which still suffer from the issues which plagued the whole of this city just a few years ago. Bat Yam started to lose its image of the "poor suburb", thanks to large investments in education, culture and the appearance of the city. In 2008 the Bat-Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism was held for the first time. A small Hasidic enclave of Bobover Hasidim, known as Kiryat Bobov, was also established in Bat Yam.

Margarita Lautin, 31 of Yehud was killed accidentally in a botched assassination attempt by the Abergil Crime Family while strolling on the Bat Yam beach with her husband Alexander and two children.[3]

Shlomo Lahiani was re-elected as the mayor of Bat Yam in the municipal elections of November 11, 2008. He won 86 per cent of the votes, which, according to Israeli media, is a result unprecedented in a big city.
[edit] Tourism

The location of Bat Yam on the Mediterranean makes it popular with beach-goers. Furthermore the city has several museums, including the Bat Yam City Museum "Ben Ari", the Museum "Ryback" with a collection of paintings of the painter, Issachar Ber Ryback. There is also a museum in the memory of the Yiddish writer Sholem Asch who lived his last years in Bat Yam, and a small Holocaust museum.
[edit] Transport
[edit] Bus service

Bat Yam is served by bus only.

Being an integral part of the Gush Dan metropolitan area, Bat Yam has no bus lines limited to the city borders. All bus lines in Bat Yam have at least one terminus in Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion or Holon.

Dan is the biggest bus company in the area. It operates frequent service to various neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, and also connects Bat Yam to Holon, Rishon LeZion, Ramat Gan, Giv'atayim, Bnei Brak, Tel HaShomer and Bar Ilan University.

Egged connects Bat Yam to various neighborhoods of Holon and Rishon LeZion, and also operates service to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramla, Ben Gurion International Airport (part-time service) and intermediate communities.

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