Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה), is a town in Israel located mid-way between Tel
Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli coastal plain near the city of Hadera. Modern
Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people. It is the only Israeli
locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation,
and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It
lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.
The town was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BC as the port city Caesarea Maritima.
It served as an administrative center of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, and
later the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province during the classic period.
Following the Arab conquest in the 7th century, the city had an Arab majority until
Crusader renovation, but was again abandoned after the Mamluk conquest.
. It was populated in 1884 by Muslim Bosnyak immigrants, who settled in a small fishing
village. In 1940, kibbutz Sdot Yam was established next to the Bosnyak village. After
receiving word of the Deir Yassin massacre during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Israel,
the town was abandoned by the Bosnyak residents. In 1952 a Jewish town of Caesarea
established near the ruins of the old city, which were made into the national park
of Caesarea Maritima.
After the establishment of the state, the Rothschild family agreed to transfer most
of its land holdings to the new state. A different arrangement was reached for the
35,000 dunams of land the family owned in and around modern Caesarea: after turning
over the land to the state, it was leased back (for a period of 200 years) to a new
In his will, Edmond James de Rothschild stipulated that this foundation would further
education, arts and culture, and welfare in Israel. The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin
de Rothschild Foundation was formed and run based on the funds generated by the sale
of Caesarea land which the Foundation is responsible for maintaining. The Foundation
is owned half by the Rothschild Family, and half by the State of Israel.[citation
The Foundation established the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Development
Corporation Ltd. (CDC) in 1952 to act as its operations arm. The company transfers
all profits from the development of Caesarea to the Foundation, which in turn contributes
to organizations that advance higher education and culture across Israel.