The city of Ashdod, established in 1956, lies in a plain on an important road axis and is located a short distance from Tel Aviv (35 Km), from Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva (70 Km).
In the city jurisdiction there are over 60,000 dunams and land reserves for a total area of 74,000 dunams. Ashdod's master plan divides the city into 17 residential quarters.
Most of the city inhabitants find their livelihood in the city and enjoy high standard municipal services. The mild climate and geographic location turn the city into one of the attractive cities is Israel, to the degree that many of the newcomers and citizens of various settlements request to make Ashdod their home. The population growth rate in Ashdod is the highest in Israel. The city which started with 22 families of newcomers currently has 196,000 inhabitants. Approximately 38% of its residents are newcomers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Ethiopia, France, Latin America and other countries, who have settled in the city in the last decade.
In the last ten years the city has developed and became the fifth large city in Israel. With a growth rate of about 9,000 inhabitants per year, the city may number about 225,000 residents in 2005.
It was one of the five cities of the Philistines and the center of worship for the Canašnite god Dagon.
When the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from Israel around 1050 BC at Aphek, they brought it to Ashdod as a trophy for Dagon. But during the presence of the Ark great disasters hit Ashdod and the Ark was trasferred to Gath and later returned to the Israelites.
In the 10th century BC, the city became, like the rest of the Philistine confederacy, tributary to David of Israel. The Philistines however, retained their independence and continued their hostilities against Judah and Israel in the following centuries. The hostilities ended when King Uzziah of Judah conquered the city in the 8th century BC.
The Philistines remained active in the region and , although not confirmed, most likely regained control over the city after the destruction of Judah in 587 BC.
The city was conquered by the Macedonians under Alexander the Great and became known as Azotus. It was Egyptian from 330 BC till 199 BC when the Seleucid Empire took control over Judea. During the Maccabe Rebellion Judas the Maccabe (Maccabee) destroyed the temple of Dagon.
It became part of the revived Jewish Hasmonean kingdom and a Roman city in the 1st century BC