The Jerusalem District
The physical land of Israel is very diverse. This is exemplified by the Jerusalem region, which encompasses three distinct geographical units.
Beginning with the western section of this region and continuing to the east, you have the Shephela, or lowlands, then the Judean Mountains which surround Jerusalem. As you continue to the east, you have the rainshadow desert that is called the Judean Desert and leads down towards the Dead Sea.
Because of the differences in altitude, humidity and so on, you effectively have three distinct climates to choose from in this region: The Judean Mountains are the highest altitude of the three and are also the coolest; the highest inhabited mountain within this area is the “yishuv” or village of Har Adar, which also boasts breathtaking views of almost eighty percent of the centre of the country. It is high enough to have snow in the winter. Jerusalem is a close second place in terms of altitude, with a beautiful breeze cooling the city down each day in the late afternoon/ early evening, as it has done since the days of the Jewish Temples.
Greater Jerusalem has expanded greatly in recent years, taking in peripheral neighbourhoods such as Pisgat Zeev and Givat Zeev in the north, Har Homa and Armon ha Natziv in the south, and Givat Shaul, Ein Kerem and others in the west. In terms of price, the more peripheral the lower the price; the closer to the Temple Mount, the more expensive. Each neighborhood tends to have a different character, from the artists’ high end neighbourhood of Yemin Moshe overlooking the walls of the Old City, to less expensive areas in the periphery, each with their own character. From high rise blocks to villas, from ancient to modern, Jerusalem has something for everyone, including the largest covered market in the Middle East.
The Judean desert includes the second largest settlement in Judea and Samaria - Ma’ale Adumim, which is a beautiful and lush desert town. The temperature is on average 5-10 degrees higher there than Jerusalem. It has very little rain; on average 500 mm per year. The altitude on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives towards the desert is considerably lower than Jerusalem, as it continues to drop down towards the Dead Sea.
The “Shephelah”, or Lowlands, is located between the coastal plain and the Judean Mountains. It feels much warmer there than in the Judean Mountains and has gently rolling chalk hills, in contrast to the limestone of the Judean Mountains that surround Jerusalem.
The Shephela has a rural, agricultural feel, with the largest city being Modi’in.
The Judean Mountains are primarily inhabited on the summits, with the Arabic speaking villages of Abu Gosh and Ein Rafa nestling in the valleys. These villages are favourite places for Israelis to eat on Friday lunch time and have excellent quality greengrocers and butchers as well. The hummus from Abu Gosh is famous nationally, and the Abu Gosh restaurant is listed in the Guinness book of records for the world's largest hummus!
Many people who live in the Jerusalem region actually make their living in Hi-Tech and drive daily to Tel Aviv or to Herzliya to work. Others worked in tourism, (Pre-corona!) benefitting from the extensive tourist infrastructure of Jerusalem and her environs.
The area around Jerusalem boasts some places that are in a very high socio economic group, such as Har Adar and Shoresh. People that live in these areas tend to work in Hi- Tech or research and development and as lawyers, entrepreneurs and people who have reached the top of their professions.
There are other more modest areas for those starting out in life, with some areas like Telstone being more religious in character, and others such as Meveserret and Castel being mixed with others being more secular.
In the Jerusalem region, there are expansive open spaces, national parks, nature reserves, horse riding facilities, swimming pools and a wide variety of places to eat out - especially in Jerusalem itself. Within Jerusalem you can also find more and less expensive areas, green and leafy suburbs with individual homes, as well as urban environments with new high rises springing up almost daily.
For an in depth article on Jerusalem please click here: