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ARṬAS , Muslim-Arab village in Judea, 2 mi. (3 km.) S.W. of Bethlehem. In 1967, it had 1,097 inhabitants, rising to 2,679 in 1997. Its economy was based on vineyards, deciduous fruit trees, vegetables, olives, and field crops. The important spring of Ein Etam is located near the village. During the Second Temple period its waters were led to Jerusalem through two aqueducts. British Mandate authorities attempted to pump these spring waters to Jerusalem through the adjacent Solomon's Pools. Arṭās has a Catholic convent, "Notre-Dame du Jardin Ferm" or "Hortus Conclusus," which maintains a girls' orphanage. The village's name may have its root in the Latin hortus ("garden").

[Efraim Orni]