Israeli development towns

25 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Or Yehuda © Oyoyoy/cc-by-sa-4.0

Or Yehuda © Oyoyoy/cc-by-sa-4.0

Development towns were new settlements built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing for a large influx of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and other new immigrants (Olim), who arrived to the newly established State of Israel. The towns were designed to expand the population of the country’s peripheral areas while easing pressure on the crowded centre. Most of them were built in the Galilee in the north of Israel, and in the northern Negev desert in the south. In addition to the new towns, West Jerusalem was also given development town status in the 1960s. In the context of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Jewish refugees from Arab states were initially resettled in refugee camps, known variously as immigrant camps, ma’abarot and development towns. Development towns were subsequently considered by some to be places of relegation and marginalisation in often remarkable architectural monotony, with a strong reference and a mixture of socialist classicism and modernism, which is reminiscent of the socialist orientation of the state after its foundation and gives the new citizens from the former Soviet Union a feeling of coming home, but with better weather. Many towns gained a new influx of residents during the mass immigration from former Soviet states in the early 1990s. By 1998, 130,000 Russian-speaking immigrants lived in development towns. Despite businesses and industries being eligible for favorable tax treatment and other subsidies, with the exception of Arad, most of the towns (particularly those in the south) have fared poorly in the economic sense, and often feature amongst the poorest Jewish Areas in Israel. However, this is not due to the cities or their locations, but to the fact that around 50% of ultra-Orthodox men in particular did not invent work, which affects the productivity of entire neighborhoods / districts or even complete cities, which in turn is detrimental to the Israeli economy as a whole. In 1984, the Development Towns project was awarded the Israel Prize for its special contribution to society and the State of Israel. For architecture enthusiasts, on the other hand, they are more of an impertinence than study objects.   read more…

Theme Week Israel – Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba

8 October 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

Marina of Eilat © Mickeyh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marina of Eilat © Mickeyh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city, a busy port and popular resort located for domestic tourists at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. The city’s port is Israels only port on the Read Sea, with a coast line of about 12 km. Home to about 47,700 people, Eilat is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arabah, adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba to the south, the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to the east, and within sight of Saudi Arabia to the south-east, across the gulf.   read more…

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