[Photo Credit: Steve Martin]
Givat Ze’ev (Ze’ev’s Hill ) is a large hilltop community located five kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. Givat Ze’ev was one of the first communities established around Jerusalem’s periphery in what was a government effort to build a belt of communities around Jerusalem. The town was founded in 1977 on the site of the abandoned Jordanian military camp, adjacent to the site of the biblical city of Gibeon, by army veterans and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Their goal was to realize the ownership of the land of Israel by the Jewish people and to expand and secure the borders of Jerusalem. Although inhabitants were living in Givat Zeev for a number of years, attempts to receive formal recognition from the Israeli government went unanswered. In 1981, the government of Israel decided, within the framework of a general plan to build a belt of satellite settlements around Jerusalem, to implement a previous plan from 1975 and to establish the urban community of “Kiryat Givon.” At the request of then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Government Names Committee decided to change the name of the community to Givat Ze’ev in memory of the late Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the head of the European Zionist movement called Beitar, to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. About two years later, the community was recognized and new families began to move there.
Members of the community of Givat Zeev pride themselves on the particularly strong emphasis it places on education and community events for the community’s children. The Culture Department encourages art and creativity through a variety of activities and enrichment activities for children, youth and adults in the various fields of art – painting, jewelry, drama, street theater and more. In addition, the department emphasizes the encouragement of cultural activities for youth and organizes special events and events for youth.
The community also boasts a Youth Unit. The Youth Unit operates in conjunction with the “City without Violence” program aims to empower the youth in the community with the aim of educating to take responsibility for Israeli society. The youth in the community are active in the youth movements – the Scouts and Bnei Akiva, and in the leadership groups – Young Leadership, Madatzim, Urani and the Youth Council, and professional youth counselors operate in the morning and afternoon hours, forming personal relationships.
Givat Ze’ev is comprised of a mix of religious and secular Israelis. While the majority of the community residents tend to be well-established families, it also includes a number of Hebrew University students who live in rented apartments. Hebrew University is 25 minutes away. Most residents work in Jerusalem, Modiin or Tel Aviv.
Givat Ze’ev is one of the largest communities in Judea and Samaria. Due its size, Givat Ze’ev maintains its own local council. In 2016 it had a population of 16,865. The city is located in the portion of Israel that was designated for the tribe of Benyamin (Benjamin).