Afula was founded with a vision of becoming a hub city for residents of Emek Yizrael. The city has a relaxed and friendly feel, which complements the quality of life it offers its residents. Its mix of old and new is reflected in its architecture, which includes historic buildings alongside new construction.
Afula provides social services, commercial centers, cultural activities and employment opportunities. Located near the Emek Yizrael and Galil areas of the country, Afula offers access to famous hiking trails and the beautiful scenery of the region.
Local hospitals and healthcare centers, factories, schools, and shops are all sources of employment.
Local shops and “cottage industries” are thriving based on local community support. Residents are employed in every kind of commerce and industry.
The industrial area between Afula and Kfar Tavor is home to factories that produce items such as plastics, window shades, and the Keter and StarPlast industries. In addition, plans are underway to develop a green technology park in the area for hi-tech startups.
Education / Youth
Within Afula, secular and religious educational facilities are available. The philosophy of the city’s mayor is that all students should excel in math, music and art, and his philosophy is felt in every educational institute. For example, starting in 5th grade, every student in the school system chooses a musical instrument and receives musical instruction, which can continue until students complete high school.
Maonot (daycare centers), Ganim (preschools) and elementary schools are located in each of Afula’s neighborhoods. There are 10 elementary schools, largely concentrated in the lower city, 7 of which are Mamlachti (secular), and 3 of which are Mamlachti Dati (religious). Busing is available to each of these schools. In addition, there are Chabad schools for all ages in the close vicinity (in Kfar Gideon and Moshav Avital).
Afula has 2 Mamlachti high schools, and 2 Mamlachti Dati high schools (where boys and girls learn separately). High school students from Afula may also choose to attend Yeshiva Tichonit (boys only), Ulpana Tzvia (girls only), the ORT school or Amal (a vocational high school).
Afula also has 2 schools which specialize in special education.
Within Afula, Emek Yizrael College provides an opportunity for higher education, where students may choose to live in the dormitories.
Afula also has 2 schools which specialize in special education.
In the vicinity of Afula, Emek Yizrael College provides an opportunity for higher education, where students may choose to live in the dormitories.
There are both inner-city and inter-city buses that service Afula, as well as Moniot Sheirut. Local service is provided by Kavim and Egged bus lines, which operate regionally with frequent service to Beit Shean, Natzrat Illit, Migdal HaEmek and Yokneam.
Afula is about an hour’s travel distance from Haifa and Tiberias respectively, 1.5 hours from Tel Aviv and 2 hours from Jerusalem and Beer Sheva. Buses run daily, on a frequent basis, to and from these major centers, as well as to other towns and cities. A train will be up and running in 2016 providing a short ride to Haifa.
Afula has successfully absorbed and integrated approximately 15,000 new Olim since 1990, including Olim from the Former Soviet Union, South America, and Ethiopia. Olim from these areas comprise about 33% of the population. While the city lacks experience with English-speaking Olim, its leadership is enthusiastic about embracing a new community, and recognizes the need for a native English-speaking Oleh Coordinator to facilitate English-speaking Aliyah to the area.
The English-speaking community in Afula has taken a step forward over the past year, with several new Olim and an attempt to become more organized. There have already been a few encounters, attended by about 30 people each. In addition, there are English-speaking Chareidi communities in Afula Illit and Givat HaMoreh. There is an Ulpan available, which is located (based on registration) in either Afula, Kibbutz Merhavia, Upper Nazareth, or Migdal HaEmek.
Programming is available to assist Olim, primarily for adults. Programming includes sponsorship of Oleh artists. Recently, the city sponsored a Bar/Bat Mitzvah for Olim in cooperation with WIZO and there is also an extensive enrichment program for Oleh children from Ethiopia.
Amenities / Services
Afula is a city with thriving commerce and offers health clinics, shopping centers, supermarkets, hair salons, clothing stores, tailors, fabric and craft shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and a complete selection of other businesses and stores. The upscale downtown district of the city boasts cafes and shops located along gentrified boulevards.
All of the Kupot Cholim are represented in Afula, with Klalit having the widest variety of services available.
Haemek Hospital is the regional hospital, located in Afula. It is a substantial and well equipped medical center, with 25 departments. There are also several other healthcare and medical centers located throughout the city.
Afula has several government offices and facilities, including Misrad Haklita, Bituach Leumi and Misrad HaPnim. All banks have branches in the city. There is also a court, and many lawyers have offices in the city.
Community and Religious Life
Afula offers a variety of leisure facilities. The jewel of the city is the city park which has bike paths, work out equipment, 8 km of marked walking trails, and an amphitheater with 3,000 seats. The city’s Sports Center hosts a swimming pool, soccer fields and basketball and tennis courts.
Afula has a Music Center which hosts concerts and classes appropriate for a range of ages, a municipal conservatory choir, 3 adult choirs, 2 youth orchestras and 3 dance troupes. Heichal Hatarbut, the cultural center, has a 650 seat auditorium, which is used throughout the year for concerts, shows and other events.
The city has a country club, municipal and private art galleries, and a public library with a central branch and two smaller branches (in Afula Elite and Givat HaMoreh).
Afula offers city-sponsored concerts and cultural programs during the summer and holidays. Each neighborhood has a local Matnas (community center) which hosts after-school activities and adult education programs. There is also a Senior Center, which is open year-round, and an active Golden Age Club. The major community centers are Beit Eshkol, Beit Posnak and WIZO.
There is a center for youth ages 18-35 that serves Afula and its surrounding area. The center provides advice regarding career choices, employment, higher education and community volunteer programs. See www.yaic.org.il or phone 04-652-4111.
Afula has both religious and secular communities. There are Chareidi communities in Afula Elite and Givat HaMoreh. Rabbi Menachem Gold, the community leader, is prominently involved in the process of building the religious community. With his help and municipal support, the community has facilitated the building of religious Ganim, and separate elementary school classes for boys and girls. There are 100 synagogues throughout the city, which cater to a variety of religious denominations.
Afula is home to an active and growing Garin Torani, with twenty five young Garin families living in the center of Afula. They are a part of the new Hesder Yeshiva in Afula, and in addition to acting as adoptive families for the Yeshiva students, the Garin runs a wide variety of outreach activities for the general Afula population. The Garin is actively seeking new families to enlarge and strengthen the Torani community, and are happy to absorb Olim families as well.
For information about Afula’s Garin Torani, contact Noga Ben Iluz firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 052 – 8109349.
Afula has homes available for both rental and purchase and the city hopes to triple its population within the next 20 years. Additionally, it plans on extending the new Yizrael neighborhood, an expansion which will unite the upper and lower sections of the city. The allocation of this land will be primarily for housing development, and will create new residential areas. The cost of building a new home is around 900,000 – 1,250,000 NIS depending on the size and location of the residence. Apartments can be rented for around 2,000-3,000 NIS per month. In addition to new projects, existing housing is available for purchase including both apartments and villas. Costs vary between 360,000 – 1,000,000 NIS