MOẒA or (Ha)Moẓah (Heb. הַמֹּצָה, מוֹצָא), town in Benjamin mentioned in the city list of Benjamin with Miẓpeh and Chephirah (Josh. 18:26) and in the genealogy of Benjamin with Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Eleasah (i Chron. 8:36). The name also occurs in the genealogy of Caleb (i Chron. 2:46), but a connection between this Moẓa and the Benjamite Moẓa is doubtful, as another locality might be meant. According to one reading, the "Mṣh" seal stamps found on jar handles at Jericho and Tell ab-Naṣba and belonging to the Persian period attest the existence of an administrative center at Moẓa at that time. It is identified with Khirbat Beit Mizza to the west of Jerusalem and situated near a spring in a valley rich in olive groves and vineyards. It is probably identical with the Roman colony *Emmaus, established by Vespasian after the siege of Jerusalem at a distance of 30 stadia (c. 3½ mi.) from Jerusalem; he settled 800 veterans there (Jos., Wars, 7:217). A village below Jerusalem called Moẓa, where willow branches were cut for the rites at the Sukkot, is mentioned in the Mishnah (Suk. 4:5), i.e., in reference to the times before the destruction of the Second Temple. According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Suk. 4:3, 54b), the name of Moẓa was changed to Colonia and a "source of Colonia" is mentioned by Cyrillus Scythopolitanus (Vita Sabae, 67). The latter locality was probably at the site of the Arab village Qālūnya (see below). Remains of a Roman road station, a bath, Jewish and Roman tombs, and a Byzantine monastery were found in the area.
The land of Moẓa (moshavah), on the site of ancient Moza, was the first rural site in Ereẓ Israel acquired by Jews for farming purposes (by inhabitants of the old city of Jerusalem headed by Yehoshua *Yellin in 1859). A few families worked the land and terraced the hillsides, but did not live permanently at Moẓa. In 1894 the Jerusalem chapter of the *B'nai B'rith founded a small village on the site. One of the first industrial enterprises in the country was a tile and roof tile factory which used the local Moẓa marl as raw material. It was built by the Moẓa settlers at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1929 Arab riots the village was largely destroyed and seven of its inhabitants were murdered, but the village was soon restored and in 1933 Moẓa Illit ("Upper Moẓa") was founded as an adjacent moshav. On the hilltop southwest of Moẓa, *Kuppat Ḥolim, the Histadrut Sick Fund, opened the Arza Convalescent Home in the 1930s, in the place where Theodor *Herzl on his 1898 visit to the country planted a cypress tree (at the time erroneously identified as the biblical cedar from which the name "Arza" was derived). The tree was felled in World War i by unknown persons. In the Israel *War of Independence (1948) Moẓa was in grave danger until the neighboring Arab village of Qālūnya fell to Jewish forces and was abandoned by its inhabitants. Although most of the inhabitants in Moẓa were employed in Jerusalem, some kept farms. From the late 1950s a garden suburb of Jerusalem developed there. In 2002 the population of Moẓa Illit was 796.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]
em, 4 (1962), 738; Avigad, in: iej, 8 (1958), 113–9.