The Binyamin Region
The Binyamin region is situated on the peaks of the mountain ridge, on the historical route that led pilgrims and visitors from the north and south toward Jerusalem. Today’s Highway 60 follows this same historical path, called the Path of the Forefathers; many biblical stories took place along the length of this route. The roads passing through the Binyamin region to Jerusalem are dotted with the ruins of ancient towns and numerous ritual baths from the second Temple period, testifying to the heavy human traffic that once existed on these paths.
When the Jews returned to the Land of Israel in modern times, several attempts were also made to renew the Jewish towns in the Binyamin region, Jericho slopes and the Jordan Valley. However, these towns were uprooted after the War of Independence in 1948, when Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley were transferred to Jordanian control. Israeli settlement of the heartland and the Binyamin mountains was renewed after the Six Day War, first with the establishment of the town of Mevo Horon in 1969, followed by the town of Ofra in 1975. Since then, 45 different towns have been established all across the Binyamin region, boasting 4 generations of local residents.
There are about half a million people living in the Binyamin region today, including Jews, Muslims, Christians and Bedouins. The large cities in the region include Maaleh Adumim, Modiin Illit and Ramallah. Various municipalities operate in the region; the Binyamin Regional Council is the largest of them, responsible for 45 small and medium-sized towns spanning from east to west.
The population in these towns is mostly young, with most of the residents under the age of 18. Consequentially, there are many educational institutions in Binyamin, an attraction for local educators. Most of the residents work in the large cities, but there are also many residents who work in Binyamin in public service positions, in the commercial and industrial zones, in tourism and as small business owners.
There are several industrial and commercial zones that provide employment opportunities to both the Jewish and Arab local residents. Today, there are three industrial zones in Binyamin: Shaar Binyamin, the Shiloh Industrial Zone and the Neve Zuf Industrial Zone. A fourth industrial zone is currently under construction in west Binyamin.