BET ZAYIT (Heb. בֵּית זַיִת), moshav west of Jerusalem, affiliated with Ha-Mo'aẓah ha-Ḥakla'it association of "middle-class" settlements. Bet Zayit was founded in 1949 by immigrants from Yugoslavia, Romania, and Hungary. Later, immigrants from Egypt settled in the village. Its economy was based on fruit orchards, vegetables, poultry, and other farm products. Situated on the fringe of the Jerusalem Forest Park it operated a swimming pool and guest house as well. Near the village is the Ein Kerem dam built to store winter flood waters. The name, "House of the Olive Tree," refers to the extensive olive groves on the slopes around the village. In 1970 Bet Zayit numbered 468 inhabitants, in the mid-1990s the population was 840, while by 2002 it had increased still further 1,110. A place of the same name mentioned in the books of the Maccabees stood further north, possibly at the site of the Arab village Bīr al-Zayt, north of Ramallah. (Efraim Orni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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