The marvellous view of Haifa was for hundreds of thousands of new immigrants coming from the sea the first,
dazzling view of the return to Zion.
Since the arrival of immigrants from Europe and North Africa from the beginning of the XXth century, Haifa has
undergone a metamorphosis and has become an industrial, scientific and intellectual center where it is good to live.
This city has five trump cards
beauty of Nature, high quality education, scientific and economic dynamism, quality of life, pluralistic cultural life
King Salomon wrote about this site in the Songs of Songs:
Your head is high as the Carmel
The town is quoted in the Talmud and in the Mishna, was also the town ofthe prophet Elyah.
The Elyiah cave which is to this day a place of pilgrimage, gives to the city an important spiritual aur
Israel's third largest city, population 270,000
Location: Northern Israel on the slopes between the Mediterranean Coast and the Carmel Mountains
Religious Life: Active religious communities; at last count there were 250 synagogues in Haifa -Ashkenazi, Habad,
Hassidic, Sefardi, Conservative, Reform
Age Range: All ages
Number of English Speaking Olim: approximately 6,000
Accessibility to Places of Employment: Hi Tech Industrial Park (with Intel Israel R&D, Microsoft, GE Medical
Imaging, Elbit etc) at entrance to city, Haifa University, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Rafael (defense
industry), IBM R&D, chemical, engineering and pharmaceuticals in Haifa Bay Area, Israel Electric Company, oil
refineries. Train to places of employment in Tel Aviv, Herzlia, Netanya, etc all under one hour.
Medical Care: All Health Funds represented plus many excellent private doctors and dentists- Three major
hospitals- Rambam, Bnai Zion and Carmel plus a number of small private ones.
Commercial Establishments: Three major malls and several smaller ones for all shopping needs. Also, a
number of traditional shopping streets and a large shuk.
Climate:Temperate winters and summers, ideal Mediterranean climate.
Housing availability: Apartments and private homes of all sizes available for rent and purchase at all price ranges -
reasonably priced compared to other big cities. Many with breathtaking views.
Haifa is Israel's best kept secret. It is a quiet, beautiful, residential city with a decidedly European flavor, great
beaches, two major university campuses, and a high quality of life.It has rich and diverse cultural offerings, a
young caf? and bar scene along the main drag on the Carmel and many family-oriented activities. Haifa is friendly
to olim: it has absorbed the largest number of Russian immigrants proportionate to its size and it has a veteran
Anglo community. There is a steady flow of English speaking olim and many services are available for new
immigrants through the municipality and the Ministry of Absorption. Haifa has strong ties with Boston
through the Haifa-Boston Connection (http://www.haifa-boston.org ).
The most outstanding feature of Haifa is its green, lush panoramic views. Because it is situated on the slope of a
mountain, the magnificent combination of sea and mountain provide never-ending opportunities for breathtaking
views as you climb up the mountain. Haifa is divided into three areas ֲ– the downtown area at the bottom includes
the port, bus and train stations, government buildings and businesses, the Hadar section in the middle features
commercial and shopping districts and some older residential areas and the third area is the Carmel ridge which is
mostly residential. At the very bottom are some of Israel's best beaches and at the very top, some of Israel's most
magnificent forests ֲ–the Carmel Forest (also called Little Switzerland). So for people to whom pleasing physical
surroundings are important, Haifa has it all.
Religious Life and Neighborhoods:
Haifa has a wide variety of religious communities ranging from Hassidic (Vishnitz, Habad), Haredi, Religious
Zionists, Masorati, and all other shades. In most neighborhoods the population is mixed but there are a number of
areas in Haifa where there are religious communities with a concentration of English speaking olim. These
communities are interspersed within the non-religious population and are well integrated, as individuals and as
communities, within the general population. For those seeking the services needed to conduct a full religious life at
their own level and are also interested in all the amenities which a big city can offer, Ahuza and Neve Shaanan are
The Ahuza area runs from the Central Carmel to Denya, the up-scale villa neighborhood near Haifa University.
Neve Shaanan is the large area facing the Haifa Bay near the Technion. Also Kiryat Shmuel, a largely religious
suburb in the Haifa Bay area, is a viable alternative. Generally speaking, English speaking olim are spread out all
over metropolitan Haifa and can be found in every neighborhood, but for those seeking religious community
life the above three areas provide the best alternatives.
Ahuza has over twenty orthodox synagogues, as well as active conservative and reform congregations. There is an
excellent local municipal religious elementary school for boys and girls, s. There are four first-rate religious high
schools in Haifa, two for boys and two for girls, and even more in the greater Haifa area. There is an active,
bustling Bnai Akiva snif in the neighborhood, with children from fourth grade through senior high school, and it
provides them with a strong and binding social, educational and ideological framework .The Ahuza synagogues
sponsor joint holiday celebrations and events and publish a bimonthly community journal. There is a rich
variety of shiurim on offer, including several Daf Yomi groups.
The English-speaking religious community in Ahuza is very involved in local activities and holds leadership
positions in many synagogues and other institutions. They are warm and welcoming to newcomers.
Neve Shaanan has a large, vibrant religious community which boasts a community center with round the clock
activities. The large local Bnai Akiva snif meets there. Neve Shaanan has a large religious elementary school for
girls and boys, and many synagogues. The municipal religious girls high school is located in Neve Shaanan, and
the community also boasts a haredi mini-market. The religious population of Neve Shaanan is
concentrated around ages.
Kiryat Shmuel is a largely religious neighborhood where secular people are a definite minority. Some streets are
closed on Shabbat.
Haifa has a wide range of educational institutions, from nursery to university, including programs for
special needs children, and many choices are available both in the secular and the religious streams. There are too
many secular options to list here but a variety of religious educational institutions in Ahuza and Neve Shaanan are
available as follows:
Ganim: there are excellent religious cr?ches (maonot) and kindergarten (ganim) available in both neighborhoods
and some of the secular gamin have rich traditional programs.
Elementary Schools: the Carmel School (Netiv Eliezer) in Ahuza, and the Rambam School in Neve Shaanan, are
state religious elementary schools for boys and girls with a religious Zionist orientation. Some of the elementary
school age children in Haifa attend the Barkai school (run by a national religious school organization) with
separate classes for boys and girls which is located in Kiryat Eliezer - about 15 minutes away from Ahuza and Neve
Shaanan. Another alternative is Beyachad.
High Schools: for girls ֲ– Ironi Vav is the municipal religious girl's high school located in Neve Shaanan. There is
also a Tzvia High School (run by a national religious school organization) for girls, located in the Hadar. For boys,
Yavne is the state religious Yeshiva High School and it is relatively close to both neighborhoods, and theBranco-
Weiss Torah High School is close by on the Carmel. In addition, there are a number of outstanding secular high
schools ( Reali, Hugim and Leo Beck) nearby as well as municipal high schools.
Universities: Haifa boasts two of Israelֲ’s leading universities, the Technion (Israelֲ’s MIT) and Haifa University.
The Technion has a Kollel and Midrasha within the synagogue complex, which are a component of
the Humanities campus-wide program. Haifa also has three major teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Technion
Medical School, which even has an American medical program.
Cultural Life and Entertainment: Haifa has many excellent cultural resources: the Haifa Municipal Theater, the
Rappaport Auditorium complex (home to the Haifa Symphony Orchestra), the Cinematheque, the Haifa Chamber
Music Society, an annual International Film Festival, thriving community centers, and more. Haifa is one of the
three homes of the Israel Philharmonic, with performances all year round. It also has a well-developed network of
public libraries including children's books and books in English. There are a number of sports complexes, four
large cinema multiplexes, a zoo and to top it all off, an excellent amateur English theater with performances
for the general public two or three times a year. Haifa also has active branches of all the large volunteer
organizations, including an English speaking Hadassah chapter. Haifa has a thriving School for Hazanut, one of
only three in the country, and hosts regular Hazanut concerts.
There is a multitude of museums ranging from archaeology, science, train, art, naval, etc.
Housing: A large variety of housing is available in Haifa. A 3-4 bedroom apartment in Ahuza or Neve
Shaanan can be purchased for between $150,000 -$300,000 and rented for $500 and up*. Kiryat Shmuel is about
written by Annette Cohen
firstname.lastname@example.org. for Nefesh l'nefesh
*Please note: this article was written in 2008 and there was an increase in real estate values in the last years
Every year, Haifa receives 5 stars of beauty
The City Haifa: by A. B. Yehoshua
from Newsweek 5/6/11
I am a proud native of Jerusalem, the fifth generation of a Jewish family that came to that
illustrious city in the middle of the 19th century. Nevertheless, after the Six-Day War of
1967, my wife and I made the conscious choice to leave Jerusalem—not to move to Tel
Aviv, like so many of our friends, but rather to go farther north to the port city of Haifa.
Nearly 45 years later we still congratulate ourselves on this wise decision, not only because
religious and political divisions have altered the character of Jerusalem—and undermined
its sanity—but also because of Haifa’s unique qualities, which become clearer as time passes.
If I had to define Haifa in a single phrase, it would be this: the well-tempered city. This
seaside city offers an ideal blend of various elements, which, in other parts of Israel, give
rise to disharmony and conflict.
People often speak of Haifa as a place where the mountain meets the sea, but it is more
than that. It is a constant merger of the two. In Tel Aviv a walker may be near the sea but
unaware of its presence until he reaches the beach. But because of the topography of Haifa
and its bay, the sea is a permanent fixture, even from distant windows. And someone
strolling on the beach, or splashing in the surf, can cast her eyes at the distant green gullies
winding between the houses.
This topographic blend is an apt setting for the sorts of social harmony that grace the city.
First and foremost is the coexistence of the Jewish majority and the Arab minority,
Christian and Muslim. Even in the difficult days of the Palestinian intifada, the two
communities in Haifa remained on friendly terms. The reason stems from the 1948 War of
Independence, when Jews and Arabs clashed all over Israel. Whereas in Haifa, even as the
Jews took control of the city, they asked the Arab residents not to flee and seek refuge in
Lebanon. Many of the Arabs of Haifa stayed, trusting the Jews’ assurance that they would
not be mistreated in the new state, and in the 63 years since, this agreement among
neighbors has formed the basis of a respectful relationship.
A good number of streets in Haifa are named for Arab mayors and intellectuals of the pre-
state period. Our street signs are bilingual. The churches and mosques, as well as the gold-
domed Bahai shrine and its stunning gardens, are pilgrimage sites for visitors from around
the world, all under the protection of the Jews.
Indeed, the city’s greatest Jewish virtue is its secular pluralistic spirit. Haifa is a city that
will not succumb to any religious coercion, least of all Jewish. Decades ago, when public
transportation on the Sabbath and holidays was banned throughout the country, our fiercely
socialist mayor insisted on maintaining it, not only to respect the rights of the city’s non-
Jews, but also to enable residents without private cars to go to the beach or visit relatives on
Shabbat. Haifa’s secular transportation policy remains a symbol of its socialist, egalitarian
values—the city has long been nicknamed “Red Haifa”—which endure in the face of Israel’
s strong rightward tendencies, both religious and political. At the same time, the city
government takes care not to affront its religious population. In Orthodox neighborhoods,
streets are closed to traffic on Saturdays, and secular residents do not complain as they do in
other cities. For if your needs are respected, you are considerate of the values and feelings of
Best of all, Haifa enjoys all the advantages of a big city. Yet, unlike Tel Aviv, it is a short
ride away from some of the loveliest rural landscapes in the land: the Galilee, the Carmel
Ridge, the Jezreel Valley. I sometimes think that if Jerusalem continues to embroil us in its
escalating nationalist and religious conflicts, and Tel Aviv ramps up its radical hedonism,
we ought to build a little barricade south of town at Zikhron Yaakov, and establish an
autonomous Haifaite republic—friendly to the rest of Israel, but unique and independent.
After all, it is no coincidence that in 1902, in his wonderful utopian novel Old New Land,
the Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl singled out Haifa as the model city of the future Jewish
Yehoshua is the author, most recently, of Friendly Fire. (This column is translated from the Hebrew by
Haifa: Description of the city