Arnona is a neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, Israel situated between the neighborhoods of Talpiot and Ramat Rachel. The most common explanation for the neighborhood’s name is its view of the Arnona River running from the Moab Hills to the Dead Sea. Another explanation is its naming after the first girl born there, who was similarly named after the Arnona River.
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Arnona is one of the highest points in Jerusalem at 800 meters above sea level. From Arnona one can see the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea, and, as mentioned, the Arnona River. The neighborhood is bordered by Derech Hevron and Talpiot to the west, Kibbutz Ramat Rachel to the south, Old Talpiot to the north, and the Judean Desert to the east.
North Talpiot, also known as Arnona, built after 1967, offers panoramic views of the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys, and the Old City.
Arnona was founded in 1931 (5691 according to the Jewish calendar) on land owned by the Keren HaEzra company according to plans created by the architect Richard Kaufman. In 1935, another neighborhood named “Binyan v’Melacha” was founded alongside Talpiot; this neighborhood has since been incorporated into the Arnona area. Together with other nearby Jewish areas (Talpiot and Mekor Chaim), Arnona gradually became a southern suburb of Jerusalem separated from the main city by the Arab neighborhoods of Baka and Talbieh, and the German Colony area.
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Arnona was on the front line. In May 1948, Arnona was occupied by Arab forces. An attack by Egyptian, Jordanian, and local Arab troops led to a retreat by Jewish forces from Arnona and Ramat Rachel. A combined unit of the Hagana and Palmach later retook the area. Until the 1990s, Arnona was similar in nature to the Old Talpiot area. During the 1990s, a widespread building trend led to a rise in property value and made Arnona into a relatively upscale neighborhood. Structures in the area are generally no more than four stories in height. Today, virtually all plots of land in Arnona are occupied.