Bene Beraq is a city in Israel located east of Tel Aviv, with a population of around 200,000 inhabitants. Its name means "Son of Lightning," and it is considered one of the most religious cities in Israel, being home to many ultra-Orthodox Jews. Its history dates back to biblical times, as it is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as a city of the Levites.
During the Ottoman period, Bene Beraq was a small village, and its growth began in the early 20th century when a group of Orthodox Jews settled there, following the Zionist movement. However, the city's real development started in the 1950s, when many Jewish immigrants from Arab countries settled there.
Throughout its history, Bene Beraq was influenced by the political environment and geography of the region. The city was deeply affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict, as it was located close to the front line during the 1948 war. After the war, many refugees settled in Bene Beraq, which led to a significant increase in its population.
During the 1960s, the city's population grew exponentially, as many ultra-Orthodox Jews moved there from other parts of the country. This migration was mainly due to the establishment of new religious institutions in Bene Beraq, such as yeshivas and synagogues. Today, the city is home to over 70,000 Haredi Jews, who make up more than 50% of the population.
The Haredi community in Bene Beraq is known for its strict adherence to religious laws and customs, which is reflected in the city's daily life. For instance, the city has its own educational system, which focuses on religious studies, and its residents dress modestly, in accordance with Jewish law. Additionally, the city has many kosher restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores, catering to the dietary requirements of the Haredi community.
Despite its conservative nature, Bene Beraq has been at the center of several controversies in recent years. One of the most significant issues is the conflict between the Haredi community and secular Israeli society. The Haredi community, which is exempt from military service, has been accused of not contributing enough to the country's economy and security. Additionally, some members of the community have been criticized for their opposition to women's rights and their involvement in violent incidents against other Jews who do not share their beliefs.
Bene Beraq is a city with a rich history and a unique character. Its population is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, and it has been shaped by the political environment and geography of the region. Despite its challenges, the city continues to be an essential part of Israeli society, and its residents are proud of their heritage and culture.