Ashdod, is the sixth-largest city in Israel, located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast, located 32 kilometres (20 mi) south of Tel Aviv and 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Ashkelon and 53 kilometres (33 mi) west of Jerusalem. Ashdod is an important regional industrial center. The Port of Ashdod is Israel's largest port accounting for 60% of the country's imported goods.
The first documented settlement in Ashdod dates to the Canaanite culture of 17th century BCE, making the city one of the oldest in the world. Ashdod is mentioned 13 times in the Bible. During its history the city was settled by Philistines, Israelites, Byzantines, Crusaders and Arabs.
Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the site of the ancient town, and incorporated as a city in 1968, with a land-area of approximately 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi). Being a planned city, expansion followed a main development plan, which facilitated traffic and prevented air pollution in the residential areas, despite population growth. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Ashdod had a population of 206,400 at the end of 2009, the sixth largest city in Israel, and had an area of 47,242 dunams (47.242 km; 18.240 sq mi)