Galilee gălˈĭlē [key], region, N Israel, roughly the portion north of the plain of Esdraelon. Galilee was the chief scene of the ministry of Jesus. The Sea of Galilee (see Galilee, Sea of), the countryside, and the towns—Cana, Capernaum, Tiberias, Nazareth—are repeatedly referred to in the Gospels. Jesus himself was called the Galilean, and his disciples were chosen from the local fishermen. After the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70), Galilee became the main center of Judaism in Palestine. Zionist colonization of the region began at the end of the 19th cent. The Beit Natufa Dam there is part of the National Water Carrier System, of which the main reservoir is the Sea of Galilee. Galilee is divided into Upper and Lower sections. The major towns in Upper Galilee are Zefat and Tiberias; Nazareth is the largest town in Lower Galilee. Jews, Arabs, and Druze compose the bulk of the population. Most of the towns of the region are industrialized, and the fertile agricultural areas produce an abundance of olives and grain.

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