Rosh HaAyin is one of the towns in the so called Central District of Israel. The modern town, as well as the original settlement are situated in an area of both historical and geographical importance. Slightly to the west of Rosh HaAyin is the spring or source of the Yarkon River, there is also the ancient Greek fortress of Antipatris. The lands in the region were part of ancient Greece before Roman times. Translated in English, the phrase Rosh HaAyin literally means fountainhead. To the south of Rosh HaAyin is another ancient fortress, known as Migdal Afek of Migdal Tzedek. These days, Migdal Afek is a protected area, a historic park where one can see the ruins of an ancient crusader castle named Mirabel. The castle or fortress has been used in ancient times by Greeks, Byzantines, Jews and Crusaders in different battles and rebellion, including uprisings against the Romans. There is evidence that there was also an ancient Palestinian Arab village within the bounds of the park. The fortress’ name – Migdal Tzedek literally means A Tower of Justice.
Rosh HaAyin has about forty thousand local residents, one of whom is the famous Israeli beauty Gal Gadot. The twenty eight year old model turned actress won the Miss Israel contest ten years ago, and has since become one of the town’s most notable residents. These days, Gal Gadot is married to a hotelier in Tel Aviv. Gal has been engaged in the big-time Hollywood film industry since two thousand nine, and plans to continue her work in the US.
The town was officially founded in the nineteen fifties, shortly after the Second World War. The first modern settlers in the region were Yemenite Jews who were airlifted by British and American forces during what was commonly known as Operation Magic Carpet. Operation Magic Carpet, also known as On Wings of Eagles was a massive yet secret effort by allies, which transported thousands of Jews from other parts of the world, to the newly established state of Israel, where they were to live in peace and security. To put it in perspective Operation Magic Carpet’ pilots made almost four hundred flights to Israel. The airlift and all the rest of the operation was kept in complete secrecy until a number of months after its successful completion.
Gal Gadot’s grandparents who were first to settle in the town of Rosh HaAyin, were also of foreign origin, though in this case they were of European descent. Interestingly enough, both of Gal’s parents were born outside of Israel.
Yemenite Jews are still the most populous strata residing in the town, even though during the early nineties many new residential and some commercial areas sprawled around the town. It is worth noting that Rosh HaAyin has a large population of young people, nearly all of them under or at the age of nineteen. Population growth rate for Rosh HaAyin is estimated to be at two and a half percent per annum.
About ten years ago, there was oil discovered near Rosh HaAyin, since then the area where oil drilling began is known as Meged 5 Oil Field. Actually, the field was first discovered in the nineteen eighties, though back then it was deemed to be not commercially viable. Meged 5 is one of the biggest and most productive on-shore oil fields in the Israeli state. The company which began developing it is called Givot Olam. The field produces about eight hundred barrels of crude per day, and some natural gas too. There is a lot of controversy around the oil wells and people on both sides of the West Bank are getting hot under the collar when the topic of question is the Meged Oil Field. Palestinians claim that the field was initially part of their land, but Israel annexed the region while building the Israeli West Bank Barrier. It is unclear to this day what has happened exactly, but is interesting to know that the founder of the Givot Olam oil company – Tovia Luskin discovered the field not through science or luck, but in a moment of divine inspiration (or intervention). Luskin took interest in the area in the late eighties when he was trying to geographically confirm a biblical route passing through the region. The route was mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy.
Rosh HaAyin is twinned up with many cities around the world, and a few in Israel too. Rosh HaAyin’s sister cities are in USA, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Germany, France and China, there are two sister cities in Israel. The town is also the birthplace of other notable people, apart from Gal Gadot, such as Benny Gantz and Yishai Levi. Benny Gantz is the Chief of General Staff to the Israel Defence Forces, Yishai Levi is a well-known Israeli singer.