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Ramla (Hebrew: , Ramla; Arabic: الرملة‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, ar-Ramlah) (also Ramlah,<ref>King, Edmund (2004) "Stephen (c.1092–1154)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, online edition accessed Oct 27, 2009</ref> Ramle, Remle and sometimes Rama) is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 CE by the Umayyad governor and future caliph Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. Ramla lies along the route of the Via Maris, connecting old Cairo (Fustat) with Damascus, at its intersection with the road connecting the port of Jaffa with Jerusalem.<ref>University of Haifa Excavation in Marcus Street, Ramala; Reports and studies of the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and Excavations, Haifa 2007</ref>

It was conquered many times in the course of its history, by the Abbasids, the Ikhshidids, the Fatimids, the Seljuqs, the Crusaders, the Mameluks, the Turks, the British, and the Israelis. After an outbreak of the Black Death in 1347, which greatly reduced the population, an order of Franciscan monks established a presence in the city.<ref>Historical timeline at the Ramla Museum,</ref> Under Arab and Ottoman rule the city became an important trade center. Napoleon's French Army occupied it in 1799 on its way to Acre.

The town had an Arab majority before most of its Arab inhabitants were expelled or fled during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.<ref></ref> The town was subsequently repopulated by Jewish immigrants. In 2001, 80% of the population were Jewish and 20% Arab (16% Arab Muslims and 4% Arab Christians).

In recent years, attempts have been made to develop and beautify the city, which has been plagued by neglect, financial problems and a negative public image. New shopping malls and public parks have been built, and a municipal museum opened in 2001.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Today, five prisons are located in Ramla, including the maximum-security Ayalon Prison.

Ramla sections
Intro  History  Earthquakes  Landmarks and notable buildings  Archaeology  Cave with rare ecosystem   Demographics   Economy   Transportation    Education   Notable people  Twin towns \u2014 Sister cities   References    External links   

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