In Tourist-friendly Ashdod, Where The Coastline Has Witnessed Israel’s History Since Jonah
Givat Yona — Jonah’s Hill — has always been considered a strategic site; the Via Maris – the ancient Way of the Sea – passed right below.
When cruise ships dock at Ashdod, and passengers disembark for a look at Israel’s fifth largest city, their first stop is often Yona’s Hill (Givat Yona). For it is on Givat Yona, today the site of a delightful overlook, that the prophet Jonah was buried well over two thousand years ago.
True, tradition places his burial site both in Jaffa and the Galilee. But it is only in Ashdod that a tomb many hundreds of years old, and inscribed with the words “Yunis the Prophet is buried here,” was discovered. (Unfortunately, in the early 1960’s a group of Jerusalemites destroyed the tomb. They replaced it with a plaque that reads: Yona (Jonah) son of Amitai, Prophet, which is now the shady overlook’s main feature).
Yona’s hill is only one of several exciting sites in an increasingly tourist-friendly Ashdod. In addition, the city boasts dozens of striking sculptures along her roads and promenades.
At 53 meters above sea level, Givat Yona is the highest hill in the whole coastal strip. It stands right above the Lachish River where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea, with a view of the Jewish National Fund’s Park Lachish-Ashdod. From here, on a clear day, you can see the ridges of the Judean Hills, the plains, and, of course, the coastline.