Afula was founded with the vision of becoming a hub city for residents of Emek Yizrael – and so it is. 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, regional medical center (Ha’Emek Hospital) and large Clalit and Maccabi health service network, 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.
Afula is a 15-minute train ride from Yokneam, with its growing hi-tech and a 35 minute train ride from Haifa, with its varied employment opportunities. It also is in recent completion of 3 hi-tech buildings, with more to come, in efforts to create its own hi-tech hub. Afula is also a 45-minute drive from Caesarea, with its hi-tech center.
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
Daycare centers, preschools and elementary schools both secular and religious 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 and Beis Yaakov 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 the Yeshiva Tichonit (boys), Ulpana Tzvia (girls), the ORT school or Amal (a vocational high school).
Afula also has 2 schools which specialize in special education with an additional one under construction. Afula has a school for nursing along with an engineering college.
There are both inner-city and inter-city buses that service Afula, as well as taxis. Local service is provided by Kavim and Egged bus lines, which operate regionally with frequent service to Beit Shean, Nof HaGalil, Migdal HaEmek and Yokneam.
The Emek Yizrael train line runs through Afula, connecting the city with stops in Migdal Emek, Yokneam, Haifa, and with Beit Shean to the east. Connecting lines take you to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the rest of the country.
Afula is about an hour’s travel distance from Haifa, 40 minutes from Tiberias, 30 minutes to Beit Shean, and 75 minutes – 2 hours to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, depending on traffic. Buses run daily, on a frequent basis, to and from these major centers, as well as to other towns and cities.
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, neighboring Kibbutz Merhavia, and neighboring towns of Nof Galil, or Migdal HaEmek.
Amenities / Services
Afula is a city with thriving commerce and offers health clinics, shopping centers, supermarkets, hair salons, clothing 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 Clalit having the widest variety of services available. New buildings have been constructed in the past 2 years for both Maccabi and Clalit health services.
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 Haklitah, 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 and walking trails, work out equipment, playground, an amphitheater with 3,000 seats which hosts various Israeli musicians and entertainers during the warm months, and a small petting zoo with goats, birds, deer, and even a camel.
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.
In December 2019, construction began for a new large synagogue in the growing Rova Yizrael neighborhood. More new synagogues are planned for construction in Afula’s newest neighborhood.
Afula is home to an active and growing Garin Torani, with over 40 young Garin families living in the center of Afula. They are a part of the 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.
In the past 10 years, Afula has built an entirely new neighborhood, Rova Yizrael (the Jezre’el Quarter), with 500 state of the art apartment buildings, duplex homes, and single standing houses. Rova Yizrael includes a large city park, dog walking area, restaurants, groceries, malls, and easy access to the 65 highway without disruption to your quality of life.
Next to the Rova neighborhood is large shopping center which include the main Israeli mall stores. Inside the neighborhood is a local supermarket and many pre-school, nursery and kindergartens, as well as an elementary school and a youth center.
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 RovaYizrael neighborhood, an expansion which will unite the upper and lower sections of the city.
The cost of building a new home is ranges from 900,000 to 1,250,000 NIS, depending on the size and location of the residence. Apartments can be rented for 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