Sunday, 18 November 2018

Choosing a community in Israel - Comparisons

Choosing you Aliyah or other community. What are the pros & cons?

choosing a community in israel modiin

Modiin is a popular destination for English speaking olim

So you are planning your Aliyah and relocation and  you need to make one of the biggest decisions of your life - choosing a community in Israel.  There are many to choose from and how can you make sure to choose the right one? First try to figure out what you're looking for. Do research and find a neighborhood that best describes you. What would make your happy? Living in a religious community, a primarily English speaking community, special schools, an easy commute to work, a place where all the action is or a pastoral setting perhaps?  Your Aliyah organization, family and friends have probably made numerous suggestions and you are still confused.  Raanana, Modiin, Bet Shemesh, Tel Aviv, Tzfat, the Golan perhaps? The choice is endless.  The decision could be easier if you had inside information.  Each community has its own unique character and it would be great to know that you neighbors, share your views. We asked members of our Facebook group, what they loved and what they disliked about their specific community.  Remember,  these are just opinions and everyone has their own. What might be a pro to one could be a con to another.

As you will see few found nothing wrong with their communities and few felt nothing was right. These are the results:

Aderet

Aderet is centrally located in the heart of the Israeli countryside near Beit Shemesh. Train station in nearby Bet Shemesh. Warm, caring community. Great place to bring up kids.

Need a car. Hard for teenagers as public transport is limited to 5 buses a day to Beit Shemesh

Amirim village

Amirim is a vegetarian community in Northern Israel near Tzfat. It's quiet and spacious but has a small English speaking community.

Ariel - university town

Ariel has a lot of pros: a cool climate with dry and clean air. Diverse population. Religious and not religious. Good education and a great University. National center of leadership - the only one in Israel. Center of performing arts. Two industrial areas (Ariel and Barkan). Personal assistance for new Olim. Hebrew Ulpan and many special projects and discounts for some city services for Olim.

Ariel has a growing Anglo community but there are limited opportunities for singles

Ashkelon - great beaches

Ashkelon has great beaches. It's not far from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Good transport.  A growing English speaking community.  Affordable housing.  Lots of community activities.  Relaxed atmosphere.

Not enough parking for a growing city but that is common in all of Israel's major cities and towns

Beer Sheva or Be'er Sheva

Beer Sheva is laid back with a small town atmosphere. Active Mayor improving facilities. Small Anglo community means faster integration into Israeli lifestyle.

Lack of street life.  Lots of sandstorms.

Beit Shean - one of the oldest cities in Israel

Hot and dry

Efrat - close to Jerusalem

Well stocked English library. Good schools. Family focused. High cost of rentals.

The Golan- Ramat HaGolan - Pastoral living

The Golan is home to lots of warm, friendly and great people.

Haifa - Israel's 3rd largest city

Haifa has great views and wonderful beaches. Laid back family living.  Housing is cheaper compared to other big cities.  Decent work opportunities.

Lots of hills.  Smallish (but growing) English speaking community, so learning and mastering Hebrew must be a goal. Growing community of international students at Haifa University and the Technion

Hod HaSharon - The splendor of the Sharon

Hod HaSharon has a small-town feel. Lots of open green space. Playgrounds. Sports and cultural activities. Good schools. Warm people. Not too many Anglos. Rush-hour congestion but new roads on the drawing board.

Jerusalem - religious capital of the world

Jerusalem is very cosmopolitan. The Kotel. Great cultural activities. A growing young Anglo community. Lots of English and Hebrew speakers - choose what you prefer. Good public transport. The evening breeze. All out of town guests will want to crash on your couch. Religious tension.

Kadima, an agricultural moshav

Kadima is an agricultural Moshav predominantly growing strawberries The smell wafts over the area making our mouths water. Sometimes, though the stench of the fertilizer is overpowering. Friendly community. Lots of new development (but quite a bit of noise in the process). We are close enough to the sea to be able to take time out for a swim or a tanning session. Centrally located and TA is only a 30 minute drive south

The post office is so tiny that there is always a queue out into the street. Time they built an new one. Small Anglo community - mostly Israelis with young kids. There is a big rich/poor divide between the 'new' part and the old the kvar. As we are in a valley (The Sharon Plain) the views are unimpressive. Public transport is severely limited. You really need a car to get anywhere

Karmiel in the heart of the Beit Kerem valley

Karmiel, finally on the railway route. Natural beauty. Expensive housing but not enough jobs.

Kochav Yaakov (Tel Zion)

Kochav Yaakov is close to Jerusalem. Decent sized, tight knit and supportive Anglo community. Not enough green space. Heavy traffic to and from Jerusalem at peak hours.

Maaleh Adumim - 7km from Jerusalem

Maaleh Adumim has a large English speaking community. Lots of traffic jams. Hard to integrate into a Hebrew speaking community.

Modiin/Maccabim/Reut

Modiin is close to the beach and mountains. Central. Close to work opportunities in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Supportive English speaking community. Housing is expensive but less expensive than Jerusalem and the central region. English speaking neighborhoods and Hebrew speaking ones if you prefer. Clean. Modern. Close to Ben Gurion international airport. Great parks and pretty good amenities. Mild winters. Great quality of life. You don't get much bang for your buck especially in the Anglo neighborhoods. Hard to find a nice backyard. Lots of hills and steps.

Netanya - capital of the Sharon plain

Netanya has great beaches.  Great shopping and markets.  Great for retirees.  Easy walking.  Good transport.  Very cosmopolitan.  Good sized Anglo and French speaking community

Bad storm drainage, lots of puddles and "rivers" to cross in the winter rains.  Noisy traffic.  Not courteous.  Not enough parking. Over building. Traffic issues.

Petach Tikva (Petah Tiqwa)

Petach Tikva has a good mix of dati and non-dati. Healthy mix of all economic classes. Lots of options for schools. No tourist appeal.

Ra'anana

Raanana has lots of English speakers. High standard of living. Clean. Great services. Religious tolerance. Very expensive housing. Two new train stations.

For those in the know, South Africans affectionately call it Raananafontein.

Beit Shemesh & Ramat Beit Shemesh

Anglo ultra-orthodox schools.  A very big English speaking community you can manage without Hebrew but it slows down your integration with Israelis. Affordable rentals. Crowded. Lots of employment opportunities that require you to work USA hours - you need a car for that as buses stop before midnight.

Ramat Gan - home to one of the world's major diamond exchanges

A stone's throw to Tel Aviv. Lots of public transport. Great zoo. Great shopping. Mostly good transport. Not too many Anglos. Lots of hills. Lots of buildings in a bad state of repair but lots of new ones too.

Rechovot or Rehovot

Rehovot is easily accessible by train. Attracts a specific type of person i.e those involved with the Weizmann Institute and other research and hi-tech projects. Good religious mix and good mix of Anglos and Israelis. Close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. No tourists. Not much night-life.

Shiloh

1/2 hour by car to Jerusalem. Insufficient public transport. Property is difficult to find.

Tel Aviv - the city that never sleeps

Tel Aviv is avibrant city for singles and families. Great for beach lovers. Lots of culture. Thumbs down for schools in some areas. Lots of stress.

Tel Mond - founded by Alfred Mond

Supportive English speaking community. Very suburban atmosphere. Close to Raanana but more value for your money.

Tiberias - one of the 3 holy cities

Very hot and humid in the summer

Tzfat or Safed

Excellent English library. Lots of singles. Lots of stairs. Fabulously cool in the summer.

Zichron Yaakov - views and vineyards

Good middle road between urban living and something a bit more cosmopolitan than a small moshav. Good for families with teens. Good choice of schools. Large Anglo community. Close to everywhere and everything. Sea views and lots of nature.

Other options

If city life does not appeal to you, you might want to move to and live on a Kibbutz instead.... 

To sum up - look for the good and you'll find it where-ever you are.

Tell us what you like or dislike about your community and we'll add it to the list.