Here in the USA, the non-visit of Rashida Tlaib to visit the “West Bank” is much in the news.
Israel had granted her permission for a “humanitarian” visit. One of her stops was to have been in the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al–Fauqa—where her grandmother lives.
The Tlaib clan is one of three clans in Beit Ur al-Fauqa, home to some 1,000 people—home of her grandmother. The two other clans in the village are Samara and Zahran.
Residents here boasted that the village has one of the highest numbers of educated people. More than 20 village residents hold high positions in PA ministries and other Palestinian institutions in Ramallah, including banks. (Jerusalem Post)
Beit Ur al-Fauqa may not be on everyone’s “radar” but it has been frequently identified as the Biblical site of Upper Beth Horon. There is also a Beit Ur al-Tahta—biblical Lower Beth Horon.
The Beth Horons of the Bible are twin towns that are located only 2 mi. apart on a ridge guarding the approach to the Hill Country from the Coastal Plain. They are mentioned 14 times in OT: Joshua pursued the fleeing Amorites passed these towns (Josh 10:9 – 15); they were near Ephraim-Benjamin border, but were in Ephraim (Josh 21:22; 1 Chron 6:68); one, or both, was a Levitical city (Josh 21:22; 1 Chron 6:68); and Solomon rebuilt them to protect one of the approaches to Jerusalem from the W (1 Kgs 9:17; 2 Chron 8:5). (Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, p. 278)
These two cities, ancient and “modern,” are situated on the most important approach from the Coastal Plain of Israel into the Hill Country where Jerusalem and Ramallah are located. Because of this, they have been fought over and fortified in many periods of history—including the modern period.
Most recently, after the Six Days War in 1967, Israel took control of this ridge and has built Highway 443 along its southern slopes—it runs east-west below and to the south of Beit Ur al-Fauqa.
Thus, Rashida Tlaib’s grandmother and extended family is from a very small, but important village that is situated on a very strategic ridge!
For information on Bill Schlege’s Satellite Bible Atlas and 70 free aerial images Click Here.