As "First in Zion" implies, Rishon LeZion (or Rashlatz in short) was founded in 1882 by ten Zionist pioneers who acquired 835 acres of land southeast of Tel Aviv and set up a village. In 1898 it had already numbered over 500. The name stems from the biblical verse: "First to Zion are they, and I shall give herald to Jerusalem" in the book of Isaiah.
Inexperienced in agricultural methods and plagued by an acute shortage of water, the farmers faced crisis and were assisted by Baron Edmond de Rothschild who contributed money for wells, provided the upkeep of the families, and sent experts to help with their agricultural problems.
Though the Baron's participation became controversial among the farmers, Rishon LeZion soon became well-known for its prosperous vineyards, wineries and citrus groves.
Rishon LeZion was the site of many "firsts" in modern Israel: First Hebrew school (1886) and kindergarden (1899). In Rishon, the national anthem of Israel, Hatikvah (The Hope), was written and the Flag of Israel created.
The city's average density is 3,739 per sq.k.
Today Rishon is the country's 4th largest city and the fastest growing city, with a passion for handball and renowned for its symphonic orchestra and wine festival.