City Type: Small City-Large Town
Population: approx. 20000
Affordability: Up to 600,000 NIS
Demographic Charicteristics: Families, Retirees, Young Couples & Families
Affiliation: Chabad, Chardal, Conservative, Dati Leumi, Haredi, Secular
Arad borders on the Judean Desert and the Negev. It is 48 km East of Be’er Sheva and 24 km west of the Dead Sea. The city was founded in 1962 as the first planned city in the State of Israel, and it offers its residents a high quality of life and a vibrant, lively community. It is known as a safe city and an ideal place to raise children.
Currently numbering 27,000 residents, Arad expects to expand to 50,000 residents by 2020.
Arad has both a beautiful desert landscape and a dry climate, known for its healing properties. Its canyons, cliffs and hidden caves attract thousands of hikers. The city is located in proximity to the Judean Desert, Masada, the Dead Sea and important archaeological sites such as Tel Arad. The city is also part of the National Israel Trail.
Many of the city’s residents work in the tourism industry or are employed by local industries including Motorola Darom, Arad Towels, Telma, Ams and Luxembourg Chemical Industries,Israel Chemicals (located in Sedom and Mishur Rotem), Pelcode, the Nuclear Research Center, the Omer Industrial Park and Ramat Hovav Chemical Center.
In addition, many residents work in education. There is a particular need for English teachers in the area.
Beer Sheva, 45 minutes away, is also an employment center for Arad.
As a further aid for income, the city has set aside an area for business people to open boutique hotels.
Education / Youth
Arad has made the educational system a priority; the municipality invests in educationally innovative programs and in the creation of an excellent educational climate.
Arad has 27 preschools, open to children ages 3 to 6, which operate on an extended school day and include supplementary informal education programs.
Arad’s elementary schools include Reform, Orthodox, Chabad, Beit Yaakov, and one of the South’s only Democratic schools. The city’s high schools include an ORT school, a business school and an Ulpana for girls. Boys looking for Dati (religious) education generally attend the Yeshiva high school in Beer Sheva.
The city is home to several youth groups, including Madatzim, Beitar, Noar Oved v’Lomed, Bnei Akiva and Hashomer Hatzair.
Arad is located about 45 minutes from Beer Sheva, 25 minutes from the Dead Sea, and 90 minutes from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Buses run to these areas regularly. A brand new bus station recently opened in Arad.
Route 31 has made driving to other parts of the south faster and more direct.
There is a strong network of support amongst former Olim. A women’s group meets weekly, and there are two Aliyah coordinators to assist in the transition. An adoptive family is part of the absorption program.
40% of Arad’s population are Olim Chadashim (mostly from the Former Soviet Union), so the city understands Aliyah issues well.
Amenities / Services
Arad provides residents with all of the amenities one might expect to find in a small city. Supermarkets, banks and all four Kupot Cholim are available. There is also a city emergency room.
The national archives are in the process of being moved to Arad.
Arad has a mall, an open air market on Mondays, restaurants and pubs. An artists’ quarter has recently opened in Arad, which serves craftsmen and artists from various creative fields. Most galleries are open Thursday – Saturday and workshops are offered from time to time.
Arad’s Matnas (community center) hosts a theater, Israel folk dancing group, stand-up performances, and Shira B’Tzibur (sing-alongs) once a month. There is also a library and a tennis center. Arad’s well-developed sports association hosts sports activity groups, swimming lessons, sports arenas, cycling and field racing, the Arad march to Masada, basketball tournaments and football, handball and summer camps.
The city’s Country Club includes a heated swimming pool, outdoor swimming pool in the summer, sauna, jacuzzi, gym and various community programs.
Community and Religious Life
Arad is home to many clubs and associations, including the Environmental Unit, a Lion’s Club, an Animal Association and an active Seniors Club. The local Young Adults Center provides services to young adults aged 18 – 35 in the fields of employment, vocational training, higher education, culture and leisure, and social involvement. There is a push to bring more young families into the community.
The city has 21 Synagogues including Ashkenazi, Sepharadi, Yemenite and Ethiopian. There is also the Ma’aleh Center – Arad Center for Study of Judaism.
Baseball is one of the major sports in the city, and they are equipped with a full baseball field.
There is a very strong Gur Chassidishe community in the city, as well as an active Chabad congregation. Recently, a Garin Torani has moved into Arad.
Arad is also home to Beit Gilad, a day center for the elderly.
As a reflection of its “small town” feel, there are no traffic lights in Arad.
4 room (3 bedroom) apartments rent for 1700-2000 NIS/month. Private homes rent for 3-5,000 NIS/month.
4 room apartments sell in the 500-600,000 NIS range. Private homes are in the 700,000- 1.5 million NIS range. Every house in the city has the option of building two holiday (rental) units on the grounds of the house.
New plots of land are becoming available for construction of private homes. Preparation of the plots costs approximately 150,000 NIS.
Chalamish neighborhood is a mixture of both relgious and non-religious residents. Yoshafat is a new developing neighborhood with a variety of housing options. Shaket neighborhood has a style that is appealing to those coming from Western countries.
Updated: May 2013
Go South launches new project in Arad:
Nefesh B’Nefesh Go South has launched its participation in a project that will benefit the Southern city of Arad and our own Olim in the South. A large residential building in the center of Arad has been renovated and designated as a center for young adults in their 20s and 30s who are dedicated to community development and Tikkun Olam. Groups residing in the building include Ayalim college students, MASA participants, and returning Arad residents. Last month, five young and idealistic NBN Olim moved into the building and began their personal journey in Arad. The NBN participants are excited about this unique opportunity to work, volunteer, and integrate with young native Israelis. They have started planning and training for the English afternoon program they will run for the city’s youth. Ella King, one of our Arad participants, explained “we’re not just sharing a space but we are building a life together and sharing resources. We came here to experience the Negev from its source; we came here together to build a community.”