MA'ALOT-TARSHĪḤĀ (Heb. מַעֲלוֹת־תַּרְשִּׁיחָה; "Heights"), urban community in western Upper Galilee, 12 mi. (20 km.) E. of Nahariyyah, founded in 1957, to replace two ma'barot in the vicinity. In 1963 Ma'alot was united with the Arab village Tarshīḥā lying over 1 mile (2 km.) further west. Tarshīḥā was a center of western Galilee, and antiquities found in its vicinity date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods. In the Israeli *War of Independence, Tarshīḥā served as the headquarters of the Arab "Liberation Army" under Fawzi Kaukji until it was taken by Israel forces in Operation Ḥiram on Oct. 30, 1948. In 1965 a municipal council was set up in Ma'alot-Tarshīḥā. Although several industrial enterprises (textile, plastic, food, and building material) existed at Ma'alot in 1969, its economy was not yet firmly established due to the high percentage of welfare cases and the inadequacy of a local labor force. Tarshīḥā's economic situation was far better, as many of its inhabitants were employed as skilled laborers in the Nahariyyah and Haifa areas or maintained lucrative farmsteads. In 1969 the town had 4,750 inhabitants including 3,160 Jews in Ma'alot, the majority of whom originated from North African countries, and 1,590 Arabs at Tarshīḥā, some Muslim and some Christian. Ma'alot was the target of an early terrorist attack, in May 1974, when 21 schoolchildren were killed. In the mid-1990s, the population was approximately 12,800, rising to 20,650 in 2002, including 80% Jews, 9% Muslims, 10% Christians, and 1% Druzes. In 1996 Ma'alot-Tarshiḥa received city status. Its area is 2.7 sq. mi. (7 sq. km.). During the 1990s, the economic base of the city was expanded by the addition of 100 factories and workshops, but income remained well below the national average. From 1992 Ma'alot-Tarshiḥa has hosted the International Symposium for Stone Sculpturing.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]