Ashdod located in the South District of Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea coast, is a city of over 200,000 people located approximately 70 kilometers (43 mi) from Jerusalem and Beer Sheba. Ashdod is an important regional industrial center. The Port of Ashdod is Israel's largest port accounting for sixty percent of the country's imported goods. Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the archeological site, and incorporated as a city in 1968, with a land-area of approximately 23.2 sq mi.
In 1990, however, when the mall culture developed in Israel, the main commercial activity in Ashdod moved to malls. The first mall to open in Ashdod was the Forum Center which was built in the industrial zone and was very popular until additional malls were built in the residential neighborhoods. Restaurants, bars and night clubs were opened in the area which is one of the most popular recreation zones in the city. Today, the Forum center is mainly used for offices.