Introduction to Haifa
I have lived in Haifa since 1986. After having moved around a bit within the city and in the neighbouring towns, I have finally settled in Bat Galim, a neighbourhood “on the other side of the tracks”, about a 2-minute walk from a sandy beach and one of my favourite kiosks in the country, and about a 7-minute walk from the train station.
Haifa is built on the Carmel “Mountain”, which is really a series of hills but they call it a mountain. And it reaches all the way down to the sea on three sides of the Carmel. It has a busy harbor that sees freight and passenger traffic, lovely beaches, two universities, the Bahai World Center, a growing hinterland and the worst air pollution in the country. Here, Jews and Arabs have a history of living together in peace and tolerance. The growing Haredi presence in the city has not changed that dynamic.
The former mayor, Yona Yahav, who is admired and criticized by equal proportions of the citizens of Haifa, worked hard over his time in office to improve the infrastructure of the city and to build up the city’s attraction to both tourists and potential residents. He wanted to turn Haifa into the Barcelona of Israel.
I will write about this city that I love and the people who live here.