Written by on May 30, 2013


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The ancient Biblical city of Ashkelon is today a beautiful community of 110,000 residents, nestled on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Ashkelon is 48 km South of Tel Aviv, approximately 50 minutes by train, 40 minutes by car. Providing a high standard of living at low cost, Ashkelon is an excellent community in which to start a new life in Israel.

In the early 1950’s, a large number of South African Jews immigrated to Ashkelon, followed by successive waves of Olim from the UK – definitely bringing a touch of their culture to this beachside city.


Local Employment

Hubs of employment are very accessible to residents of Ashkelon. The city is centrally located, with frequent buses and trains that travel all over the country. Keep in mind that, like most places in Israel, the local employment options will require some knowledge of Hebrew.

Education / Youth

Ashkelon offers religious and secular schools at every level. The students in the city have benefited from some forward-looking programs. For example, in order to familiarize students with the computer sciences, computer systems were installed in schools from the elementary level upwards, as well as in some nursery schools. The computers were purchased as part of a community computerization program, which is a joint venture of Ben-Gurion University, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Ashkelon Municipality. Schools such as Omanuyot (1-12, Secular) and Madaaim (1-7, Religious/Science) have won several awards.

All first-grade students in the city study music, and fourth-graders enjoy tennis and swimming lessons as part of their regular school curriculum. Due to its location on the Mediterranean, pupils also receive sailing lessons.

Ashkelon also offers opportunities for higher education, as it is home to the ever- expanding Ashkelon Academic College.


Tel Aviv is accessible by frequent buses, trains, and Sherut (shuttle)services. Buses take around 50 minutes of travel time, and trains take around 40 minutes. There is also a bus line to Jerusalem, with buses leaving every hour; the trip takes approximately 1 1/4 hours. Within Ashkelon itself, it takes around 5 minutes to travel from any part of the city to the city center, and a car is not necessary for inner-city travel. There are plenty of cab companies and an extensive inner-city bus line.

Olim Services

Ashkelon has offices of Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior) and Misrad Haklita (Ministry of Absorption) located in the center of town. There are Ulpan options available for new immigrants. In addition, local English speakers started their own private Ulpan course. Several English speakers work in the municipality and help interface with municipal offices. There is an active English speaking organization, community library and book clubs, Chesed (charity) organizations, as well as Shiurim (Torah study groups) and craft groups.

They have a volunteer committee that answers all inquiries from Anglos about Ashkelon. They have also put together a comprehensive 18 page Aliyah and Klitah guide to Ashkelon.

ESOA (English-Speakers of Ashkelon) –
Lorna Szefler & Raphi Block (co-chairs)
Jayme Yehye (Local guide and ESOA Committee member) –

Amenities / Services

Municipal buildings are located in the city center, which also has three malls and a center for the performing arts. Every neighborhood has its own Matnas (community center), with dedicated activities for residents of all ages. Shopping centers are conveniently located throughout the city and twice a week there is a large open air market.

Ashkelon has a major hospital, Barzilai, which is the only large hospital in the region.

Being on the cost, Ashkelon has a beautiful Marina with a variety of restaurants where you can choose from many different cuisines.

Community and Religious Life

Ashkelon’s communities are as diverse as Israel itself, with families from all over the Diaspora and large numbers from Ethiopia, Russia and Morocco.  The English-speaking community is comprised of both retirees who wanted a higher standard of living at a lower cost, and young families who wanted to start off in a more Israeli community.

Ashkelon has more than 160 synagogues, the majority of which are Sephardi.

There are a number of Ashkenazi synagogues; the most popular with the English speaking community are:

Central Synagogue, Afridar, Contact: Gary Donovan – 08-684-3171

Barnea Synagogue, Contact: 052 637 4667

Chabad is very active in the city and the Chabad Rabbi, Rabbi Lieberman, is an English speaker.

Phone: 08 675 4913

There is also an active Conservative Synagogue with many English-speakers:
Kehillat Netzach Israel, 8 Harel Street, POB. 5041 Ashkelon 78150
Phone: 08-6711370/1


Real Estate

Type of Property Rent Purchase
Studio, 1 BR, 2 BR Apartment 1,800-3,500 550,000-1 million
3 BR-5BR Apartment & Private Homes 2,500-5,000 900,000-1.6 million
Please note, the following factors will likely result in the price of the property costing on the higher end of the price range:

– Neighborhood
-Ground/First Floor
-Safe Room

Due to location; apartments close to the Marina/beach can be pricier.

As of May 2016

Community contacts:
ESOA (English-Speakers of Ashkelon)

Lorna Szefler & Raphi Block (co-chairs)
Jayme Yehye (Local guide and ESOA Committee member) –

Asher Schwartz
Asher is a member of the Barnea community- a community of young dati leumi families residing in the Barnea and Afridar neighborhoods. Check out their Facebook page:

Anna Schnitzer
Klita coordinator for English-speaking Olim at the Ashkelon Municipality

Facebook groups:

E.S.O.A. –

“The Ultimate Guide to Ashkelon”:

A Day in the Life of Ashkelon –





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