Choosing a community in Israel - Comparisons
Choosing you Aliyah or other community. What are the pros & cons?
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 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 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
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.