Beit Shemesh and Mateh Yehuda are paired with Washington D.C in the Jewish Agency's Partnership2Gether, an initiative to build enduring ties between Americans and Israelis.
Set between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the hilly Metah Yehuda region is full of kibbutzim, moshavim, rural villages and the fast growing city of Beit Shemesh.
Although beautiful and still mostly rural, the region is not without major environmental problems. Environmental threats in the region include air pollution from cement factories, sprawling residential development and proposed large scale oil shale extraction project.
The Shemesh Yehuda Forum is one of the most active environmental groups in the area. The forum's website is listed above. The website is mostly in Hebrew but below are links to articles in English by the organization's director, Renee Halpert.