Sitting 500 meters above sea level, Nazereth Illit (also spelled “Nazeret Illit”) overlooks the Lower Galil, and is one of the few Israeli cities which receive snowfall a few days each winter. Founded in the mid 1950’s, Nazereth Illit was envisioned as a Jewish “counterpart” to the predominantly Arab Christian and Arab Muslim city of Nazareth. It was established as part of the national mission to strengthen the Jewish character of the Galil as a whole, and to address the demographic, political and economic challenges emanating specifically from Nazareth.
The city has grown tremendously over the past twenty years, and today is a vibrant and bustling city, with a large Russian and Ethiopian veteran immigrant population, alongside the more veteran Israeli residents of the city.
Nazereth Illit offers a variety of opportunities in established businesses, industries and services. The city is home to the Northern regional government offices and courthouse. There are industrial areas in the city, including the famous Elite-Strauss chocolate factory, which employs more than 600 workers. City industries include commercial and tourist businesses. In addition, Nazereth Illit is a 10-minute drive to Afula, a 5-minute drive to Migdal HaEmek, and a 50-minute drive to Haifa.
Education / Youth
The city has a wide variety of pre-school frameworks, covering an entire spectrum of religious and non-religious options. There are 12 elementary schools, which include one state-religious school and one Habad school, two middle schools and two high schools in the city. The religious educational system is expanding, with a new school for boys and girls. In addition, the Yeshivat Hesder of Ma’alot, which combines army service with years of learning in the Yeshiva, has opened a branch in Nazereth Illit. Other options for religious high school students include the Habad School in Nazereth Illit, or commuting to nearby Afula or Migdal HaEmek. The city has a warm and helpful Garin Torani (seed group of religious-Zionist families), which among other goals, has set its aims at improving the religious educational frameworks within the city, and which is growing each year.
Nazereth Illit also has a regional college, which serves as an Engineering School for the area. There is a wide variety of after school activities and classes available to the youth.
Both inner-city and intra-city buses service Nazerat Illit. Nazareth United Bus Services and Nazareth Travel and Tourism both operate lines in the region. A car is not necessary for inner-city travel, but many residents rely on a private car for personal needs and for easier accessibility to employment.
With a very large percentage of the city’s population comprised of Olim from all over the Diaspora, Nazereth Illit is well adapted to absorbing new immigrants. The city offers an Ulpan.
Amenities / Services
The city offers a variety of centers for the elderly, immigrant clubs for the large Ethiopian and Russian immigrant communities, and community centers. There is a heated swimming pool, country club, fitness center, and a large municipal library. The city has a large shopping center, offering a wide variety of stores, and a weekly market place where great deals can be found.
Community and Religious Life
The population in Nazereth Illit is extremely varied, and truly reflects the ingathering of the exile, including new and veteran immigrants from Russia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Romania, Caucasia, Morocco, Georgia and many other countries.
Synagogues of different types may be found in the various neighborhoods.
There is an active and growing Garin Torani “Orot Illit”, comprised of a number of families dedicated to raising the religious level in Nazereth Illit, and to preserving the Jewish make-up of the city. A group of more than ten families (including veteran Anglo Olim), graduate students of Harav Tal, Rosh Yeshiva “Yeshivat HaChaim” formerly of Gush Katif and currently located in Central Israel at Yad Benyamin, joined the Garin in the summer of 2010. The Garin is actively seeking additional families to join and strengthen the city, and would very warmly welcome Olim with open arms. There are different Torah Shiurim offered each day of the week and on Shabbat.
Nazereth Illit is defined by the government as Development Area A, which means that residents receive a discount on the purchase of land (and other discounts). Please speak to the municipality regarding exact tax benefits.
Nazereth Illit divides into twelve neighborhoods, with the largest being Har Yonah, situated in the far most northern part of the city.