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Known as the “Mother of the Colonies,” it was the first Jewish colony established in 1878 in Palestine by a handful of Orthodox Jews who left their shops in the Old City of Jerusalem to become farmers as a first step toward the Redemption. Lacking experience, they bought 900 acres of swampland near the Yarkon River. Malaria took a heavy toll and drove them back to Jerusalem. But reinforced by new immigrants, they returned to Petach Tikvah, built their houses at some distance from the river, planted eucalyptus trees to drain the swamps, and fought against Arab attacks. Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the Hoveve Zion movement gave them a helping hand. The success of Petach Tikvah encouraged other settlements and attracted many workers and settlers. Petach Tikvah was the first colony to introduce citriculture, or orange-growing, which became the economic mainstay of Israel. It became a municipality in 1937. In 2006, Petach Tikvah had a population of approximately 175,000, an industrial zone with numerous factories, and a large farming community.

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