Encyclopedia Brittannica, 1995 edition: "city, central Israel, on the coastal plain south-southwest of Tel Aviv-Yafo, in the centre of the country's most productive citrus belt. The name (Hebrew: "broad places," or "room") is from the biblical allusion in Genesis 26:22. [...] Under Ottoman rule before World War I, it was the first town to dismiss its Arab guards and to employ ha-Shomer, the Jewish settlement police."
Rehovot was founded on March 6, 1890 (in the Hebrew year 5650 or tara"n), by a group of Jews from Warsaw belonging to the Menuha v'Nahala (Rest and Settlement) association. Initially the residents engaged in viticulture, later (starting 1904) in citrus groves, which at the time were profitable. As a result, Rehovot soon became economically self-sufficient, and absorbed many immigrant agricultural labourers. When Yemenite Jews first started making their way to Israel, Rehovot (besides Jerusalem) was one of the places they came to: the Sha`arayim (Two Gates) quarter of Rehovot has retained much of its Yemenite character to the present day.
Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952), Zionist leader and later (1948-1952) first president of Israel, was in his "daytime" professional life a pioneering bio-organic chemist (nowadays best remembered for the acetone-butanol fermentation process) and a "reader" (associate professor) in chemistry at Manchester University (see panel 7 and panel 11 of Zionism in Manchester web exhibit for more details). In 1934, he established the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot. (It was sponsored by Israel and Rebecca Sieff, co-founders of the British-based Marks and Spencer retail empire, in memory of their son Daniel who had died tragically at the age of 18. [historical picture of opening].) In 1949, by act of Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and with the consent of the Sieff Family, the Sieff Institute was formally renamed the Weizmann Institute of Science. Weizmann himself had his principal residence in Rehovot from 1936 until his death in 1952: his house (designed by leading Bauhaus architect Erich Mendelsohn) is today a national memorial. (Chaim and Vera Weizmann z"l are buried in its garden.) In addition, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has its Faculty of Agriculture in the city.
Rehovot's industries include the processing of citrus by-products (juices, oils, concentrates) and production of plastics, pharmaceuticals, and metal goods. Rehovot acquired city status in 1950; the 1990 population estimate given in the Encyclopedia Brittanica is 73,800; a more realistic estimate for 2000 would be about 115,000. The population includes immigrants from some 80 different countries, recently including sizable groups from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.
In recent times, a number of hi-tech companies (primarily in the biomedical and computing field) have taken seats in the Kiryat Weizmann and Yitzhak Rabin science parks north of the Weizmann Institute.
Rehovot is also the home of the Kaplan Hospital, which acts as an auxiliary teaching hospital for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and includes Israel's premier AIDS clinic (led by prof. Tzvi Bentwich).
Twin cities around the world include Grenoble (France), Heidelberg (Germany), Rochester, NY (USA), and Manchester (UK).
for a more detailed history of Rehovot (slightly edited from
sister cities site.
Picture Gallery |
picture tour of the Weizmann Institute gardens (click on the door) | Go back
Picture Gallery | picture tour of the Weizmann Institute gardens (click on the door) | Go back