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Latrun (Hebrew: לטרון‎, Latrun; Arabic: اللطرون‎, al-Latrun) is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.



There are two theories regarding the origin of the name of Latrun. One is that it is a corruption of Le toron des chevaliers (the Castle of the Knights), the Crusader stronghold in the area.[1] The other is that it is named for the good thief who was crucified by the Romans alongside Jesus (Lucas 23:40-43).[1]


Biblical era

In the Hebrew Bible, the Ayalon Valley was the site of a battle in which the Israelites, led by Joshua, defeated the Amorites (Joshua 10:1-11). Centuries of Jewish sovereignty ensued.[1] Later, Judah Maccabee established his camp here in preparation for battle with the Seleucid Greeks, who had invaded Israel/Judea and were camped at Emmaus. As described in the Book of Maccabees, the Greeks found the Jewish camp empty, and were then surprised by an attack by Judah's forces appearing suddenly in the valley. The ensuing battle provided the Jewish forces with the first major victory in the Maccabean Revolt, ultimately leading to more than a century of renewed Jewish independence under the rule of the Hasmonean dynasty.

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