Haifa: Wikis


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Panorama haifa.jpg
View from Mt. Carmel of the Shrine of the Báb and the city.
Haifa coa.svg
Emblem of Haifa
Haifa is located in Israel
District Haifa
Government City
Hebrew חֵיפָה
(Translit.) Heifa
Arabic حَيْفَا
Population 264,900 (city)
1,039,000 (metropolitan area) (2007)
Area 63,666 dunams (63.666 km2; 24.582 sq mi)
Mayor Yona Yahav
Coordinates 32°49′0″N 34°59′0″E / 32.816667°N 34.983333°E / 32.816667; 34.983333Coordinates: 32°49′0″N 34°59′0″E / 32.816667°N 34.983333°E / 32.816667; 34.983333
Website [1]

Haifa (Hebrew: חֵיפָהAbout this sound Ḥeifa ; Arabic: حَيْفَاAbout this sound Ḥayfā [2]) is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 264,900.[3][4] Haifa has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs. The Arab population used to be predominantly Christian, while some of the Jewish population arrived from Russia.[5] It is also home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6][7]

Haifa, built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, has a history dating back to Biblical times. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE).[8] In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, Egyptians, and the British. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality.

Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6 sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, and the city plays an important role in Israel's economy. It has several high-tech parks, among them the oldest and largest in the country,[9] an industrial port, and a petroleum refinery. Haifa was formerly the western terminus of an oil pipeline from Iraq via Jordan.[10]



The origin of the name "Haifa" is unclear. According to historian Alex Carmel, it may come from the Hebrew verb root חפה (hafa), meaning to cover or shield, i.e. Mount Carmel covers Haifa.[11] Another possible origin of the name is the Arabic word حفَّ ("haffa") which means "beach", or the word حيفة meaning the "suburb" or "side of the city".[12] In turn some see a resemblance to the Hebrew word חוֹף (hof), also meaning beach, or חוֹף יָפֶה (hof yafe), meaning beautiful beach.[13] Some Christians believe that the town was named after the high priest Caiaphas, or Saint Peter (Keiphah in Aramaic).[11]

Early history

Jars excavated at Tell Abu Hawam

Tell Abu Hawam, existed in the Haifa region in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE).[8] The 6th century BCE Greek geographer Scylax told of a city "between the bay and the Promontory of Zeus" (i.e., the Carmel) which may be a reference to Haifa.[8] By Hellenistic times the city had moved to a new site south of what is now Bat Galim because the port's harbour had become blocked with sand.[8] About the 3rd century CE, the city is first mentioned in Talmudic literature, as a small fishing village and the home of Rabbi Avdimos and other Jewish scholars.[8][14][15] A Greek-speaking population living along the coast at this time was engaged in commerce.[16]

Haifa was located near the town of Shikmona, a center for making the traditional Tekhelet dye used in the garments of the high priests in the Temple. The archaeological site of Shikmona is southwest of Bat Galim.[17] Mount Carmel and the Kishon River are also mentioned in the Bible.[18][19] A grotto on the top of Mount Carmel is known as the "Cave of Elijah", traditionally linked to the Prophet Elijah and his apprentice, Elisha.[18] In Arabic, the highest peak of the Carmel range is called the Muhraka, or "place of burning," harking back to the burnt offerings and sacrifices there in Canaanite and early Israelite times[20]

Early Haifa is believed to have occupied the area which extends from the present-day Rambam Hospital to the Jewish Cemetery on Yafo Street.[21] The inhabitants engaged in fishing and agriculture.[21]


Byzantine, Arab and Crusader rule

Panorama of Haifa at sunrise

Under Byzantine rule, Haifa continued to flourish, although never assumed major importance.[22] In the 7th century, the city was conquered by the Persians. Later the Rashidun Caliphate was established over the Middle East. This brought about developments in the city; in the 9th century under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, Haifa established trading relations with Egyptian ports and the city featured several shipyards. With the Caliphate in control of government and civil administration, Arabs and Jews engaged in trade and maritime commerce, and Haifa again prospered by the 11th century. Glass production and dye-making from marine snails were the city's most lucrative industries.[23]

Prosperity ended in 1100, when Haifa was besieged and blockaded by the Crusaders and then conquered after a fierce battle with its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants.[11][23] Under the Crusaders, Haifa was reduced to a small fishing and agricultural village.[23] It was a part of the Principality of Galilee within the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Following their victory at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's Ayyubid army captured Haifa in mid-July 1187.[24] The Crusaders under Richard the Lionheart retook Haifa in 1191.[25] The Carmelites established a church on Mount Carmel in the 12th century.[26] Under Muslim rule, the building was turned into a mosque, later becoming a hospital. In the 19th century, it was restored as a Carmelite monastery over a cave associated with Elijah, the prophet.[27]

Mamluk, Ayyubid, Ottoman and Egyptian rule

The city's Crusader fortress was destroyed in 1187 by Saladin.[8] In 1265, the army of Baibars the Mamluk captured Haifa, destroying its fortifications, which had been rebuilt by King Louis IX of France, as well as the majority of the city's homes to prevent the European Crusaders from returning.[28] For much of their rule, the city was desolate in the Mamluk period between the 13th and 16th centuries.[29] Information from this period is scarce.[29] However, during Mamluk rule in the 14th century, al-Idrisi wrote that Haifa served as the port for Tiberias and featured a "fine harbor for the anchorage of galleys and other vessels.[30]

Modern history

monument to Napoleon's soldiers at Stella Maris Monastery

In 1761 Dhaher al-Omar, a Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, demolished the city and rebuilt Haifa in a new location, fortifying it with a wall.[29][31] This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After al-Omar's death in 1775, the town remained under Ottoman rule until 1918, with the exception of two brief periods. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Haifa during his unsuccessful campaign to conquer Palestine and Syria, but soon had to withdraw. Between 1831 and 1840, the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali governed Haifa, after his son Ibrahim Pasha had wrested its control from the Ottomans.[32][33]

19th and early 20th century

German Colony in the 19th century
Haifa in 1915

After the Egyptian occupation ended, Haifa grew in population and importance as Acre suffered a decline. In 1854 the population was 2,012 inhabitants; 2,070 Arabs (1,200 Muslims, 870 Christians) and 32 Jews.[34] The arrival of the German Templers in 1868, who settled in what is now known as the German Colony of Haifa, was a turning point in Haifa's development.[33] The Templers built and operated a steam-based power station, opened factories and inaugurated carriage service to Acre, Nazareth and Tiberias, playing a key role in modernizing the city.[35]

The first European Jews arrived at the end of the 19th century from Romania. The Central Jewish Colonisation Society in Romania purchased over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) near Haifa. As the Jewish settlers had been city dwellers, they hired the former fellahin tenants to instruct them in agriculture.[36] In 1909 Haifa became central to the Bahá'í Faith, when the remains of their prophet, the Báb, were moved to Acre and a shrine built on Mount Carmel by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Haifa is thus an important site of worship, pilgrimage and administration for members of the faith. The Bahá'í World Centre (comprising the Shrine of the Báb, terraced gardens and administrative buildings) are all on Mount Carmel's northern slope. Haifa is also important to the Bahá'ís because the founder of the religion, Bahá'u'lláh, had been imprisoned there by the Ottomans.[37] The Bahá'í shrine and gardens are one of Haifa's most visited tourist attractions, and in 2008 were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6][38]

British Mandate

Buchenwald survivors arrive in Haifa to be arrested by the British, July 15, 1945

At the beginning of the 20th century, Haifa emerged as an industrial port city and growing population center. The Hejaz railway and the Technion were built at this time.[33] Haifa District was then home to approximately 20,000 inhabitants, 96 percent of them Arabs (82 percent Muslim and 14 percent Christian), and four percent Jews. Over the next few decades the number of Jews increased steadily, due to immigration, especially from Europe. By 1945 the population had shifted to 53 percent Arab (33 percent Muslim, 20 percent Christian) and 47 percent Jewish.[39] In 1947 about 70,910 Arabs (41,000 Muslims, 29,910 Christians) and 74,230 Jews were living there.[40] The Christian community were mostly Greek-Melkite Catholics.

1948 War of Independence

Haifa Oil Refinery

The 1947 UN Partition Plan designated Haifa as part of the proposed Jewish state. When the Arab leadership rejected the UN's plan, Haifa did not escape the violence that spread throughout the country. On December 30, 1947, members of the Irgun, a Jewish underground militia, threw bombs into a crowd of Arabs outside the gates of the Consolidated Refineries in Haifa, killing six and injuring 42. In response Arab employees of the company killed 39 Jewish employees in what became known as the Haifa Oil Refinery massacre.[41] The Jewish Haganah militia retaliated with a raid on the Arab village of Balad al-Shaykh, where many of the Arab refinery workers lived, in what became known as the Balad al-Shaykh massacre.[42] Control of Haifa was critical in the ensuing 1948 Palestine War, since it was the major industrial and oil refinery port in British Palestine.[41] British forces in Haifa redeployed on April 21, 1948, withdrawing from most of the city while still maintaining control over the port facilities. Two days later the city was invaded by Jewish forces in Operation Bi'ur Hametz, by the Carmeli Brigade of the Haganah, commanded by Moshe Carmel.[41] The invasion led to a massive displacement of Haifa's Arab population. According to The Economist at the time, only 5,000-6,000 of the city's 62,000 Arabs remained there on October 2, 1948.[43]

Benny Morris and other scholars have said Haifa's Arabs left due to of a combination of Zionist threats and encouragement to do so by Arab leaders, but mainly because of the shelling of Arab villages and neighborhoods. Ilan Pappé writes that the shelling culminated in an attack on a Palestinian crowd in the old marketplace using three-inch mortars on April 22, 1948.[44][45][46] Shabtai Levy, the Mayor of the city, and some other Jewish leaders urged Arabs not to leave, whereas Jewish loudspeakers could be heard in the city ordering Arab residents to leave "before it's too late."[47][48]

Some contemporaneous sources emphasized the Arab leadership as a motivating factor in the refugees' flight. Time Magazine wrote on May 3, 1948: "The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by orders of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city ... By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa."

Establishment of the State of Israel

Panoramic view of Haifa, with Haifa bay in the background

After the state of Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, Haifa became the gateway for Jewish immigration into Israel. Thousands of immigrants were resettled in Arab houses vacated when Jewish forces invaded. New neighborhoods, among them Kiryat Hayim, Ramot Remez, Ramat Shaul, Kiryat Sprinzak, and Kiryat Eliezer, were built to accommodate them. Bnei Zion Hospital (formerly Rothschild Hospital) and the Central Synagogue in Hadar Hacarmel date from this period. In 1953, a master plan was created for transportation and the future architectural layout.[33]

In 1959, a group of Mizrahi Jews, mostly Moroccans, rioted in Wadi Salib, claiming the state was discriminating against them.[49] Their demand for “bread and work” was directed at the state institutions and what they viewed as an Ashkenazi elite in the Labor Party and the Histadrut.[50]

Tel Aviv gained in status, while Haifa suffered a decline in the role as regional capital. The opening of Ashdod as a port exacerbated this. Tourism shrank when the Israeli Ministry of Tourism placed emphasis on developing Tiberias as a tourist centre.[51]

Nevertheless, by the early 1970s, Haifa's population had reached 200,000. Mass immigration from the former Soviet Union boosted the population by 35,000.[33]

Many of Wadi Salib's historic Ottoman buildings have now been demolished, and in the 1990s a major section of the Old City was razed to make way for the municipal center.[33][50]

In 2006, Haifa was hit by 93 Hezbollah rockets during the conflict with Lebanon, killing eleven civilians and leading to half of the city's population fleeing at the end of the first week of the war.[52] The oil refinery complex was also struck by a rocket.[53]


Haifa today has a population of 266,300. Eighty percent are defined as Israeli Jews.[citation needed] Immigrants from the former Soviet Union constitute 25% of Haifa's population.[54] According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Arab citizens of Israel constitute 9% of Haifa's population, the majority living in Wadi Nisnas, Abbas and Halissa neighborhoods.[54]

Haifa is commonly portrayed as a model of co-existence between Arabs and Jews in Israel, although tensions and hostility do still exist.[55] Several Palestinian organizations have been established to fight perceived discrimination in the allocation of resources, to protest the displacement of the Haifa Arabs whose homes were occupied by Jews, and to halt the destruction of Arab cultural property in the Haifa region.[56]

City of Haifa
Population by year[57][58]
1800 1,000
1840 2,000
1880 6,000
1914 20,000
1922 24,600
1947 145,140
1961 183,021
1972 219,559
1983 225,775
1995 255,914
2005 267,800

Haifa is Israel's third-largest city, consisting of 103,000 households.[3] The city has an aging population compared to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as young people have moved to the center of the country for schooling and jobs, while young families have migrated to bedroom communities in the suburbs.[59]

Religious and ethnic communities

The population of Haifa today is 80% Jewish, 4% Muslim, 6% Christian Arab, and 10% members of other faiths or nonreligious (the vast majority being immigrants from the former Soviet Union). As the Jewish residents age and youth leave the city, the proportion of Christians and Muslims is growing.[59] In 2006, 27% of the Arab population was aged 14 and under, compared to 17% of the Jewish and other population groups. The trend continues in the age 15-29 group, in which 27% of the Arab population is found, and the age 30-44 group (23%). The population of Jews and others in these age groups are 22% and 18% respectively. Nineteen percent of the city's Jewish and other population is between 45 and 59, compared to 14% of the Arab population. This continues with 14% of Jews and others aged 60–74 and 10% over age 75, in comparison to 7% and just 2% respectively in the Arab population.[57]

By national standards, Haifa's Jewish population is relatively secular. In 2006, 2.9% of the Jews in the city were Haredi, compared to 7.5% on a national scale.[57] 66.6% were secular, compared to a national average of 43.7%.[57] A small portion of the immigrants from the former Soviet Union lack official religious-ethnic classification as they are from mixed-marriage families of Jewish origin.[54] In 2008, roughly a quarter of the city's residents were Russian-speaking immigrants.


Haifa is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean Coastal Plain, the historic land bridge between Europe, Africa, and Asia.[60] Located on the northern slopes of Mount Carmel and around Haifa Bay, the city is split over three tiers.[61] The lowest is the center of commerce and industry including the Port of Haifa.[61] The middle level is on the slopes of Mount Carmel and consists of older residential neighborhoods, while the upper level consists of modern neighborhoods looking over the lower tiers.[61] From here views can be had across the Western Galilee region of Israel towards Rosh HaNikra and the Lebanese border.[61] Haifa is about 90 kilometers (55.9 mi) north of the city of Tel Aviv, and has a large number of beaches on the Mediterranean.[62]

Panorama of Haifa. View from Mt. Carmel


Haifa has a mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters (Köppen climate classification Csa).[63] Spring arrives in March when temperatures begin to increase. By late May, the temperature has warmed up considerably to herald warm summer days. The average temperature in summer is 26 °C (79 °F) and in winter, 12 °C (54 °F). Snow is rare in Haifa, but temperatures around 6 °C (43 °F) can sometimes occur, usually in the early morning. Humidity tends to be high all year round, and rain usually occurs between October and April. Annual precipitation is approximately 524 millimeters (21 in).

Climate data for Haifa Bay
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 26
Average high °C (°F) 18.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.4
Average low °C (°F) 10.7
Record low °C (°F) -2
Precipitation mm (inches) 175
% Humidity 61 60.5 59 58.5 60.5 66.5 69 69.5 66.5 66 60 61 69
Avg. precipitation days 13 11 7 4 1 0 0 0 0.2 2 7 11 56.2
Source: Temperature - Israel Central Bureau of Statistics[64][65]
Source #2: Precipitation, Precipitation Days, Humidity - BBC News[66]


Bat Galim neighborhood

Haifa has developed in tiers, from the lower to the upper city on the Carmel. The oldest neighborhood in the modern Haifa is Wadi Salib, the Old City center near the port, which has been bisected by a major road and razed in part to make way for government buildings. Wadi Salib stretches across to Wadi Nisnas, the center of Arab life in Haifa today. In the 19th century, under Ottoman rule, the German Colony was built, providing the first model of urban planning in Haifa. Some of the buildings have been restored and the colony has turned into a center of Haifa nightlife.[61]

Central Haifa

The first buildings in Hadar were constructed at the start of the 20th century. Hadar was Haifa's cultural center and marketplace throughout the 1920s and into the 1980s, nestled above and around the Haifa's Arab neighborhoods. Today Hadar stretches from the port area near the bay, approximately halfway up Mount Carmel, around the German Colony, Wadi Nisnas and Wadi Salib.[67] Hadar houses two commercial centers (one in the port area, and one midway up the mountain) surrounded by some of the city's older neighborhoods.

Neve Sha'anan, a neighborhood located on the second tier of Mount Carmel, was founded in the 1920s. West of the port are the neighborhoods of Bat Galim, Shikmona Beach, and Kiryat Eliezer. To the west and east of Hadar are the Arab neighborhoods of Abbas and Khalisa, built in the 1960s and 70s.[68] To the south of Mount Carmel's headland, along the road to Tel Aviv, are the neighborhoods of Ein HaYam, Shaar HaAliya, Kiryat Sprinzak and Neve David.

Above Hadar are affluent neighborhoods such as the Carmel Tzarfati (French Carmel), Merkaz HaCarmel, Romema, Carmeliya, Vardiya, Ramat Golda, Ramat Alon and Denya. While there are general divisions between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods, there is an increasing trend for wealthy Arabs to move into affluent Jewish neighborhoods.[59] Another of the Carmel neighborhoods is Kababir, home to the National Headquarters of Israel's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community;[68] located near Merkaz HaCarmel and overlooking the coast.

Urban development

A restored Templer building

Recently, residential construction has been concentrated around Kiryat Haim and Kiryat Shmuel, with 75,000 m2 (807,293 sq ft) of new residential construction between 2002–2004, the Carmel, with 70,000 m2 (753,474 sq ft), and Ramot Neve Sha'anan with approximately 70,000 m2 (753,474 sq ft)[69] Non-residential construction was highest in the Lower Town, (90,000 sq m), Haifa Bay (72,000 sq m)) and Ramot Neve Sha'anan (54,000 sq m).[69] In 2004, 80% of construction in the city was private.[69]

The Palace of the Pasha, a Turkish bathhouse, and a Middle Eastern music and dance club in Wadi Salib have been converted into theaters, and offices.[50] The Haifa Economic Corporation Ltd is developing two 1,000 square metre lots for office and commercial use.[70]


The phrase "Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, and Tel Aviv plays" refers to Haifa's reputation as a city of workers.[71] The industrial region of Haifa is in the eastern part of the city, around the Kishon River. Haifa is home to one of the two oil refineries in Israel (the other located in Ashdod). The Haifa refinery processes 9 million tons (66 million barrels) of crude oil a year.[72][73] Its twin 80-meter high cooling towers, built in the 1930s, were the tallest buildings built in the British Mandate period.[74]

Matam (short for Merkaz Ta'asiyot Mada - Scientific Industries Center), the largest and oldest business park in Israel, is at the southern entrance to the city, hosting manufacturing and R&D facilities for a large number of Israeli and international hi-tech companies, such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Google, Yahoo!, Elbit, Zoran, Philips, and Amdocs.[75] The campus of the University of Haifa is also home to IBM Haifa Labs.[76]

The Port of Haifa is the leader in passenger traffic among Israeli ports, and is also a major cargo harbor, although deregulation has seen its dominance challenged by the port of Ashdod.[77]

Haifa malls and shopping centers include Hutsot Hamifratz, Horev Center Mall, Panorama Center, Castra Center, Colony Center (Lev HaMoshava), Hanevi'im Tower Mall, Kanyon Haifa, Lev Hamifratz Mall and Grand Kanyon.[78]


Shrine of the Bab and terraces on Mount Carmel

In 2005, Haifa had 13 hotels with a total of 1,462 rooms.[79] The city has 17 kilometres (11 mi) of beaches, 5 kilometres (3 mi).[80] Haifa's main tourist attraction is the Bahá'í World Centre, with the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb and the surrounding gardens. Between 2005 and 2006, 86,037 visited the shrine.[79] The restored German Colony, founded by the Templers, Stella Maris and Elijah's Cave also draw many tourists.[81]

Located in the Haifa district are the Ein Hod artists' colony, where over 90 artists and craftsmen have studios and exhibitions,[82] and the Mount Carmel national park, with caves where Neanderthal and early Homo Sapiens remains were found.[83]

A 2007 report commissioned by the Haifa Municipality calls for the construction of more hotels, a ferry line between Haifa, Acre and Caesarea, development of the western anchorage of the port as a recreation and entertainment area, and an expansion of the local airport and port to accommodate international travel and cruise ships.[84]

Arts and culture

Despite its image as a port and industrial city, Haifa is the cultural hub of northern Israel. During the 1950s, mayor Abba Hushi made a special effort to encourage authors and poets to move to the city, and founded the Haifa Theatre, a repertory theater, the first municipal theater founded in the country.[85] The principal Arabic theater servicing the northern Arab population is the al-Midan Theater. Other theaters in the city include the Krieger Centre for the Performing Arts and the Rappaport Art and Culture Center.[85] The Congress Center hosts exhibitions, concerts and special events.[86]

The New Haifa Symphony Orchestra, established in 1950, has more than 5,000 subscribers. In 2004, 49,000 people attended its concerts.[80][87] The Haifa Cinematheque, founded in 1975, hosts the annual Haifa International Film Festival during the intermediate days of the Sukkot holiday. Haifa has 29 movie theaters.[80] The city publishes a local newspaper, Yediot Haifa,[88] and has its own radio station, Radio Haifa.[89]


National Museum of Science, Haifa

Haifa has over a dozen museums.[80][90] The most popular museum is the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, which recorded almost 150,000 visitors in 2004. The museum is located in the historic Technion building in the Hadar neighborhood.[91] The Haifa Museum of Art houses a collection of modern and classical art, as well as displays on the history of Haifa.[92] The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art is the only museum in the Middle East dedicated solely to Japanese art.[93] Other museums in Haifa include the Museum of Prehistory, the National Maritime Museum and Haifa City Museum, the Hecht Museum, the Dagon Archeological Museum, the Railway Museum, the Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum, the Israeli Oil Industry Museum, and Chagall Artists' House.[80] As part of his campaign to bring culture to Haifa, Mayor Abba Hushi provided the artist Mane-Katz with a building on Mount Carmel to house his collection of Judaica, which is now a museum.[94]


As an industrial port city, Haifa has traditionally been a Labor party stronghold. The strong presence of dock workers and trade unions earned it the nickname 'Red Haifa.' In addition, many prominent Arabs in the Israeli Communist Party, among them Tawfik Toubi, Emile Habibi, Zahi Karkabi, Bulus Farah and Emile Toma, were from Haifa.

Haifa court building

In recent years, there has been a drift toward the center.[95][96][97] This was best signified by, in the 2006 legislative elections, the Kadima party receiving about 28.9% of the votes in Haifa, and Labor lagging behind with 16.9%.[98]

Before 1948, Haifa's Municipality was fairly unique as it developed cooperation between the mixed Arab and Jewish community in the city, with representatives of both groups involved in the city's management. Under mayor al-Haj, between 1920 and 1927, the city council had six Arab and two Jewish representatives, with the city run as a mixed municipality with overall Arab control. Greater cooperation was introduced under Hasan Bey Shukri, who adopted a positive and conciliatory attitude toward the city's Jews and gave them senior posts in the municipality.[99] In 1940, the first Jewish mayor, Shabtai Levy, was elected. Levy's two deputies were Arab (one Muslim, the other Christian), with the remainder of the council made up of four Jews and six Arabs.[100]

Today, Haifa is governed by its 12th city council, headed by the mayor Yona Yahav. The results of municipal elections decide on the makeup of the council, similarly to the Knesset elections. The city council is the legislative council in the city, and has the authority to pass auxiliary laws.[101] The 12th council, which was elected in 2003, has 31 members, with the liberal Shinui-Greens ticket holding the most seats (6), and Likud coming second with 5.[102] Many of the decisions passed by the city council are results of recommendation made by the various municipal committees, which are committees where non-municipal organs meet with representatives from the city council. Some committees are spontaneous, but some are mandatory, such as the security committee, tender committee and financial committee.[103]

Mayors of Haifa

Haifa mayor Abba Hushi (1951-1969)
  • Najib Effendi al-Yasin (1873–77)
  • Ahmad Effendi Jalabi (1878–81)
  • Mustafa Bey al-Salih (1881–84)
  • Mustafa Pasha al-Khalil (1885–1903)
  • Jamil Sadiq (1904–10)
  • Rif'at al-Salah (1910–11)
  • Ibrahim al-Khalil (1911–13)
  • Abd al-Rahman al-Haj (1920–27)
  • Hasan Bey Shukri (1914–20, 1927–40)
  • Shabtai Levy (1940–51)
  • Abba Hushi (1951–1969)
  • Moshe Flimann (1969–1973)
  • Yosef Almogi (1974–1975)
  • Yeruham Zeisel (1975–1978)
  • Arie Gur'el (1978–1993)
  • Amram Mitzna (1993–2003)
  • Giora Fisher (interim mayor, 2003)
  • Yona Yahav (2003–present)

Medical facilities

Rambam Medical Center

Haifa medical facilities have a total of 4,000 hospital beds. The largest hospital is the government-operated Rambam Hospital[104] with 900 beds and 78,000 admissions in 2004. Bnai Zion Hospital and Carmel Hospital each have 400 beds. Other hospitals in the city include the Italian Hospital, Elisha Hospital (100 beds), Horev Medical Center (36 beds) and Ramat Marpe (18 beds).[105] Haifa has 20 family health centers.[105] In 2004, there were a total of 177,478 hospital admissions.[105]

Rambam Medical Center was in the direct line of fire during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and was forced to take special precautions to protect its patients.[106] Whole wings of the hospital were moved to large underground shelters.[107]


Technion, called "Israel's MIT"

Haifa is home to two internationally acclaimed universities and several colleges. The University of Haifa, founded in 1963, is at the top of Mt. Carmel. The campus was designed by the architect of Brasilia and United Nations Headquarters in New York, Oscar Niemeyer. The top floor of the 30-story Eshkol Tower provides a panoramic view of northern Israel. The Hecht Museum, with important archeology and art collections, is on the campus of Haifa University.

Rappaport Faculty of Medicine

The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, described as Israel's MIT, was founded in 1924. It has 18 faculties and 42 research institutes. The original building now houses Haifa's science museum. The first technological high school in Israel, Basmat, was established in Haifa in 1933.[108]

Rabin Building, University of Haifa

Other academic institutions in Haifa are the Gordon College of Education and Sha'anan Religious Teachers' College, the WIZO Design Academy and Tiltan College of Design. The Michlala Leminhal College of Management and the Open University of Israel have branches in Haifa. The city also has a nursing college and the P.E.T Practical Engineering School.[109]

As of 2006–07, Haifa had 70 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, 28 academic high schools and 8 vocational high schools. There were 5,133 pupils in municipal kindergartens, 20,081 in elementary schools, 7,911 in middle schools, 8,072 in academic high schools, 2,646 in vocational high schools, and 2,068 in comprehensive district high schools. 86% of the students attended Hebrew-speaking schools and 14% attended Arab schools. 5% were in special education.[109] In 2004, Haifa had 16 municipal libraries stocking 367,323 books.[80]


A Cable Car descending from Mount Carmel to Bat Galim

Haifa is served by six railway stations and the Carmelit, Israel's only subway system. The NahariyaTel Aviv main line of Israel Railways runs along the coast of the Gulf of Haifa and has six stations within the city. From south-west to north-east, these stations are: Haifa Hof HaCarmel, Haifa Bat Galim, Haifa Merkaz HaShmona, Lev HaMifratz, Hutzot HaMifratz and Kiryat Haim. Together with the Kiryat Motzkin Railway Station in the northern suburb Kiryat Motzkin, they form the Haifa - Krayot suburban line ("Parvarit").[110] There are direct trains from Haifa to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion International Airport, Nahariya, Akko, Kiryat Motzkin, Binyamina, Lod, Kiryat Gat, Beer Sheva and other locations.

Haifa's intercity bus connections are operated almost exclusively by the Egged bus company, which operates two terminals:

Lines to the North of the country use HaMifratz Central Bus Station and their coverage includes most towns in the North of Israel. Lines heading south use Haifa Hof HaCarmel Central Bus Station.

The Carmelit, Israel's only subway

Destinations directly reachable from Hof HaCarmel CBS include Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, Raanana, Netanya, Hadera, Zikhron Ya'akov, Atlit, Tirat Carmel, Ben Gurion International Airport and intermediate communities. There are also three Egged lines that have their terminus in the Ramat Vizhnitz neighborhood and run to Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Ashdod. These are mehadrin lines.

All urban lines are run by Egged. There are also service taxis that run along some bus routes but do not have an official schedule. In 2006, Haifa implemented a trial network of neighborhood mini-buses – named "Shkhunatit" and run by Egged.[111] In the future, Haifa and the Krayot suburbs will be linked by the Metronit, a Phileas concept bus rapid transit system.[112] Meanwhile, some sections of the Metronit have already been opened and are served by regular Egged buses.

Haifa is one of the few cities in Israel where buses operate on Shabbat.[113] Bus lines operate throughout the city on a reduced schedule from late Saturday morning onwards, and also connect Haifa with Nesher, Tirat Karmel, Yokneam, Nazareth, Nazareth Illit and intermediate communities. Since the summer of 2008, night buses are operated by Egged in Haifa (line 200) and the Krayot suburbs (line 210).[114] During the summer of 2008 these lines operated 7 nights a week. During the winter their schedule is limited to Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, making them the only buses in Israel to operate on Friday night. Haifa is also the only city in Israel to operate a Saturday bus service to the beaches during summer time. Egged lines run during Saturday mornings from many neighborhoods to the Dado and Bat Galim beaches, and back in the afternoon.[115]

Headquarters of Egged Bus Company

The Haifa underground railway system is called Carmelit. It is a subterranean funicular on rails, running from downtown Paris Square to Gan HaEm (Mother's Park) on Mount Carmel.[116] With a single track, six stations and two trains, it is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world's shortest metro line. Haifa also has a touristic cable car. The Stella Maris gondola lift cable car consists of six cabins and connects Bat Galim on the coast to the Stella Maris observation deck and monastery atop Mount Carmel; although mainly for tourism purposes.[117]

The Haifa Cable Car serves mainly tourists, running from Bat Galim to the top of Mount Carmel however there are currently plans to expand this, to become an integrated part of Haifa's public transport system running from Check point junction at the foot of Mount Carmel to the Technion, and then onto the University of Haifa.

Air and sea transport

Haifa Airport serves domestic flights to Tel Aviv and Eilat as well as international charters to Cyprus. There are currently plans to expand services from Haifa. Cruise ships previously operated from Haifa port to Greece and Cyprus.[113]


Travel between Haifa and the center of the country is possible by road with Highway 2, the main highway along the coastal plain, beginning at Tel Aviv and ending at Haifa.[113] Furthermore, Highway 4 runs along the coast to the north of Haifa, as well as south, inland from Highway 2.[113] In the past, traffic travelling along Highway 2 to the north of Haifa would have to pass through the downtown area of the city, however, the Carmel Tunnels, currently under construction will re-route this traffic through tunnels under Mount Carmel, cutting down on congestion in the down-town area of the city.[118]


The city's two main football clubs are Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Haifa who both currently play in the Israeli Premier League and share the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium as their home pitch. Maccabi has won eleven Israeli titles, whilst Hapoel has won one.

The city has several clubs in the regional leagues, including Beitar Haifa and Hapoel Ahva Haifa in Liga Bet (the fourth tier) and Hapoel Spartak Haifa and Maccabi Neve Sha'anan Eldad in Liga Gimel (the fifth tier).

In 1996, the city hosted the World Windsurfing Championship.[72] The Haifa Tennis Club, near the southwest entrance to the city, is one of the largest in Israel.[119]

Haifa has a professional basketball club, Maccabi Haifa. Maccabi Haifa was recently promoted to Israeli Basketball Super League, the top division. The team plays at Romema Basketball Arena, which seats 3,000.

The main stadiums in Haifa are the 14,000-seat Kiryat Eliezer Stadium and Thomas D'Alesandro Stadium. Neve Sha'anan Athletic Stadium seats 1,000. A UEFA-approved stadium to seat 30,000 is planned for south-west Haifa, due to be completed in 2012.[120]

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Plaque of twin cities outside Haifa city hall

Haifa is twinned or has sister city agreements with the following cities:[121]

See also



  • (Hebrew) Carmel, Alex (2002). The History of Haifa Under Turkish Rule (4th ed.). Haifa: Pardes. ISBN 965-7171-05-9.  (in Hebrew)
  • (Hebrew) Shiller, Eli & Ben-Artzi, Yossi (1985). Haifa and its sites. Jerusalem: Ariel. 


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  117. ^ "Haifa". Weizmann Institute. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20080119220607/http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~bazlov/israel/haifa.html. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  118. ^ "Carmel Tunnels". Israel MOF. http://ppp.mof.gov.il/Mof/PPP/MofPPPTopNavEnglish/MofPPPProjectsEnglish/PPPProjectsListEng/TashtiotTaburaEng/Carmeltunnels/. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  119. ^ "IC Members Facilities". ic-tennis.org. http://www.ic-tennis-gb.org/ReciprocalFacilities/tabid/69/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  120. ^ "Future Stadiums". World Stadiums. http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_menu/past_future/future_stadiums.shtml. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  121. ^ "Twin City acitivities". Haifa Municipality. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. http://web.archive.org/web/20071009084809/http://www.haifa.muni.il/Cultures/en-US/city/CitySecretary_ForeignAffairs/EngActs.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  122. ^ Portsmouth City Council. Twinning. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  123. ^ "Sister Cities of Manila". © 2008-2009 City Government of Manila. http://www.manila.gov.ph/localgovt.htm#sistercities. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  124. ^ Haifa agreement with partner
  125. ^ "Twin Towns". www.amazingdusseldorf.com. http://www.amazingdusseldorf.com/community-local/people/twin-towns.html. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  126. ^ "Boston" (in Hebrew). Haifa Municipality. http://www.haifa.muni.il/haifa/pages/boston.aspx. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Haifa

Haifa [1] (Hebrew חֵיפָה Ḥefa; Arabic حَيْفَا Ḥayfā) is the third largest city in Israel and the major city in the north of the country with a population close to 300,000. It is a seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean shoreline, below scenic Mount Carmel.


Haifa is first mentioned historically around the 3rd century CE as a small town near Shikmona, the main Jewish town in the area at that time and a center for making the traditional Tekhelet dye used for Jewish Priests' temple cloth. The archaeological site of Shikmona lies southwest of the modern Bat Galim neighborhood. The Byzantine ruled there until the 7th century, when the city was conquered — first by the Persians, then by the Arabs. In 1100, it was conquered again by the crusaders after a fierce battle with its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants. Under crusader rule, the city was a part of the Principality of Galilee until the Muslim Mameluks captured it in 1265.

Shrine of the Báb
Shrine of the Báb

In 1761 Daher El-Omar, Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, destroyed and rebuilt the town in a new location, surrounding it with a thin wall. This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After El-Omar's death in 1775, the town was under Ottoman rule until 1918, except for two brief periods. In the years following, Haifa grew in terms of traffic, population and importance, as Akko suffered a decline. The development of Haifa increased further with the arrival of members of the German Protestant Temple Society in 1868, who settled a modern neighbourhood near the city, now known as the "German Colony". The Templers greatly contributed to the town's commerce and industry, playing an important role in its modernization.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, Haifa had emerged as an industrial port city and growing population center, reflected by the establishment of facilities like the Hejaz railway and Technion. At that time Haifa District was home to approximately 20,000 inhabitants, comprised of 82% Muslim Arab, 14% Christian Arabs, and 4% Jewish residents. The Jewish population increased steadily with immigration primarily from Europe, and by 1945 the population had shifted to 38% Muslim, 13% Christian and 47% Jewish.

Today, Haifa is home to significant populations of Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs, Ahmadis (in Kababir), Druze (in Daliyat al-Carmel), Bahá'ís, and others, and has often been characterised as a mosaic of peaceful coexistence between the communities. The city has an industrial area to the north, where one of Israel's two oil refineries is located, and a high-tech south, where R&D Centers are located for a large number of Israeli and international hi-tech companies including Intel, Elbit, Zoran, Microsoft, Philips, Google and Amdocs. IBM has R&D labs on top of Mount Carmel at Haifa University and HP has a lab at the Technion, Israel's leading technological university.

Get in

By plane

Haifa has its own airport, Haifa Airport which serves flights to Tel Aviv and Eilat, although the closest international airport is Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, where flights arrive from all over the world. From Ben Gurion, you could connect on a flight to Haifa, although, chances are you'll have to transfer between terminals, or even airports, to Sde Dov Airport. The better option is to travel straigt on to Haifa - its only about a maximum of two hours to drive, and buses, trains, taxis, and sheruts, operate the route.

By train

Haifa is well connected to Tel Aviv, Akko (Acre), Beer Sheva and the Ben Gurion International Airport by a train line. The trip takes a little over an hour and during peak hours there are as many as 3-4 services hourly. There are 4 train stations in Haifa:

  • Hof ha-Carmel — close to bus terminal that serves the lines connected to the cities south of Haifa and local buses.
  • Bat Galim — close to Elija's Cave and the cable car to Stella Maris Carmelite monastery.
  • Haifa Merkaz - Ha-Shmona — near city downtown and Carmelit underground funicular.
  • Lev ha-Mifraz — close to bus terminal that serves the lines connected to the North area of Israel.

By car

From the south, route 2 is the coastal highway which links Haifa with Tel Aviv. This journey takes up to one and a half hours. Other more minor roads link Haifa to the East and North, although chances are, if you're up there, you've come close to or past Haifa to get there in the first place.

By bus or taxi

Alternatively, you can take Egged buses from Tel Aviv (910), Jerusalem (940,947), Afula (301) or almost any city in the region to Haifa. During the Sabbath, you'll have to resort to a shared taxi (sherut), most of which leave from near Tel Aviv's central bus station.

From Haifa (the Hadar neighborhood, i.e. the uphill part of downtown), sheruts provide cheap frequent service to the cities of Akko, Naharia, and Karmiel, as well as to Haifa and its suburbs.

Get around

A high-resolution map of Haifa (in PDF vector format) is available here. The map is in Hebrew.

Unlike other major cities in Israel, local buses (but not the Carmelit subway) run on Saturday and other Jewish holy days. However, they don't operate on Friday evenings. Haifa Has two main bus terminals where passengers can switch between inter-city buses and trains to the local routes operated by Egged bus company. The two stations are:

  • Mercazit Ha-Mifratz — (bay area hub) connecting Haifa with the Krayot (northern suburbs) and the Galilee. Located near Lev ha-Mifraz train station.
  • Mercazit Hof Ha-carmel — (Carmel coast hub) connecting Haifa with southern destinatons . Located near Hof ha-Carmel train station.

Haifa has a subway: the Carmelit funicular. It is the only subway in Israel. It is useful for getting up or down the mountain from downtown. However, it only extends to a small part of Haifa. So, if you need to go further, you can buy a ticket which includes a transfer to a bus for the remainder of your journey.

Due to its weird angled structure (made necessary by the steepness of the mountain) it is worth taking for fun even though it may not reach a useful destination. The Carmelit has few riders, so you'll always find a seat.

The Carmelit has 6 stations listed here as they go downhill:

  • Gan Ha'em — in the Carmel Center, adjacent to the Haifa zoo, a panoramic promenade, the Haifa Auditorium, and many shops and hotels.
  • Bnei Zion — in Golomb street, Near the Bnei Zion (Rothschild) hospital and the Bahá'í World Centre (see below).
  • Massada — upper Hadar Hacarmel in a residential area, on Massada st. Not far from Nordau st. Close to the National Science Museum.
  • Hanevi'im — near Hanevi'im, Herzl and Hachalutz streets, and their shops, offices. Close to the Haifa Museum of Art and Vadi Nisnas pedestrian area.
  • Solel Boneh — near Ha'atzmaut park, and the Haifa city hall.
  • Kikar Paris — downtown. Near government building and courthouse, Ha'atzmaut street, walking distance to Haifa Merkaz train station and Haifa port.
The bay of Haifa by night
The bay of Haifa by night

Haifa is largely a modern city.

  • Bahá'í Gardens and World Center, +972-4-831-3131 (fax: +972-4-831-3132), [2]. Every day but Wednesday. The gardens and world centre on Mount Carmel's northern slope area a must-see for any visitor to Haifa. Comprising the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, terraced gardens and administrative buildings, the World Centre is the holiest site of pilgrimage for the members of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as the faith's central administrative center. The gardens are stunning and well worth visiting if you are in Haifa. The tours are free and no reservation is required, unless you are a group of 25 or more..  edit
  • Cave of Elijah. Elijah is considered a prophet by both Judaism and Islam. The Carmelites have a tradition that they were founded by Elijah at this time. According to tradition Elijah lived in a cave on Mt. Carmel during the reign of King Ahab. The site itself may disappoint many tourists. One enjoyable and scenic option for good walkers is to walk down to the cave from Stella Maris (monastery) at the top of Mt. Carmel.  edit
  • Stella Maris. A French Carmelite church, monastery and hospice. This is the founding place of the Carmelite Order, a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Located atop Mount Carmel, there is a hiking trail connecting it to the Cave of Elijah below.  edit
  • German Colony, Centered around Ben Gurion Boulevard. All Hours. In 1868 members of German Templar Society (not to be confused with the Knights of the Templars) purchased land that was far from the city and set out to build the first planned agricultural community in the Holy Land. Many of the original templar houses have preserved and undergone restoration in the last decade of XX century. Now the main street of the former colony (Ben Gurion Boulevard) is a promenade, with many restaurants and coffee shops. Some example of good place in the German Colony are; Havana plus is a Hooka bar with a full service bar. Milagro is a restaurant that provides great beer on tap and live Music after 8PM and Isabella is one of the finer restaurants in the area. The City History Museum and the local Tourist Board are located here. Free.  edit
  • Haifa University. Located at the top of Carmel, the campus was originally designed by the architect of Brasilia and UN building in New York City, Oscar Niemeyer. Newer buildings were added later. The top 30th floor of the Eshkol Tower, provides an incredible view of almost the entire North of Israel. The campus is also a home of Hecht Museum with its rich archeology and art collections. Entry to both of these attraction is free.  edit
  • Druze Villages. 30min by sherut or longer by bus to the top of Mt. Carmel. The tourist-oriented bazaar has inexpensive shops and you can top off the visit in one of the excellent Mid-Eastern restaurants.  edit
  • National Museum of Science - MadaTech, 12 Balfour Street, +972-4-8614444, [3]. Established in 1984, MadaTech - the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space is housed in two historic landmark buildings in mid-town Haifa. Designed, at the turn of the century, by renowned German Jewish architect, Alexander Baerwald, these were home to the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel’s first institution of higher education.  edit
  • National Maritime Museum, 198 Allenby Street, +972-4-8536622.  edit
  • Haifa Museum of Art, 26 Shabtai Levi Street, +972-4-8523255.  edit
  • Hecht Museum, University of Haifa campus, +972-4-8257773 (, fax: +972-4-8240724), [4]. Featuring large archaeological exhibits and an art wing with 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture, including works by Corot, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Van-Gogh, Soutine and Modigliani. Free.  edit
  • Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, 89 Hanassi Ave., +972-4-8383554. The museum was founded in the year 1959, at the joint initiative of Felix Tikotin, a known collector of Japanese art. The museum present rotating exhibitions of old and modern Japanese art.  edit
  • Haifa Zoo and Botanical Gardens, [5].  edit


Go to the beach. It's right next to the Hof Hacarmel bus and train stations. Haifa has many kilometers of beautiful beach on its southwest side. Part of the beach has a boardwalk with cafes and restaurants that are always bustling -- day or evening.


Haifa's mountainous location makes it quite unfriendly for the pedestrian, therefore shopping avenues are rare. The shops that are found in the city center offer a cheap and essential variety.

On the other hand, Haifa is known for its wide variety of shopping malls including the Kiryon, Kastra Center, Kanyon Haifa and Cinemall. In addition, the 'Grand Kanyon' is considered to be the newest and biggest mall, including international brand names such as Armani, Lacoste, Benetton and Zara as well as local brands and a wide food court. "Kanyon" is Hebrew for mall, and the "Grand Kanyon" is located in a deep valley in central Haifa, hence the pun in its name.


Haifa is not a gourmet center like greater Tel Aviv, but it still has plenty to offer.

Falafel and other street food. Some good falafel can be found in: Orion (at hadar & ziv), Ha-zkenim (wadi nisnas area; this is a Haifa institution!), Michel (also in wadi nisnas), and at Paris square, the lowest Carmelit station. There is a huge concentration of falafel stands & shawarma at yafo st. downtown, near the egged bus terminal building (about 400m from it). The food is cheap and authentic (about 10-15 Nis for a falafel pita, and around 20-22 for a shawarma).

Another cheap street food is the burekas which is almost as common as the falafel. Its prices are also cheap, and it usually comes filled with cheese or potatoes.

Further up the food chain are the Middle eastern/Arabic restaurants. Most are located downtown: Abu-Yousef (there are two with no relation ), Humus Farage (on Hameginim St.), Maza (a good place in a gas station near the shopping mall "Grand Kenyon"). They are all famous for their high quality Hummus (which is thought of as the best of the best in Israel). Expect to pay 50-80 per person for a complete meal

There are several Romanian-style restaurants (this cuisine is a hybrid of Middle Eastern and Romanian), most are located downtown: Ma'ayan habira (beer fountain), Cafe (coffee) Glida (icecream) Younek. Expect to pay 50-100 per person for a meal.

Jako - one of the best fish restaurants (Downtown near Natanson St.). It was a working class restaurant until it got famous, and increased the prices a bit, but its still at large. ( 80-120 per person )

Isabella is a restaurant at the entrance of the German colony. Isabella provides great seafood that caters to a western palate at a mid-range price. Their house wine is pretty good and overall the service was good. I ordered a plate of Grouper with rissoto and two glasses of wine for 109 Shekels.

Restaurant and cafe clusters:

Moria Avenue, starting from Horev center (shopping center) all the way to the Carmel center along 'Moriyah' street. Some good places alongside this 3km road are: Tatami (oriental japanese), Frangelico (sushi bar), Sinta-bar, Kanibar (burgers), lechem erez (bread oriented, but gourmet foods), mandarin (coffee), giraffe(oriental), litchi (mixed Japanese/Thai), ha-bank (coffee). You can find good food in the local bars around Moria St., e.g: the Duke, Brown, Barbarosa. Good traditional restaurant is Ma'ayan Habira, where home style dishes are served.

Ben Gurion Avenue, right below the Bahai gardens. (at a straight line below it, thus completing an imaginary line from the gardens into the sea. the street is at the downtown near the port). This cluster holds some fancy restaurants ( hashmura, isabela ) and some ordinary mixed styles of restaurants: Captain nemo (seafood).

Dado beach. Last but no least is the beach strip cluster which has several restaurants. The food is ok, but the reason to go there is to relax while looking at the beach from 15 meters away. Or for the fun people-watching.

All these clusters of restaurants are very vibrant with youth at about 9pm further into the small hours of the night, almost at any day of the week, but on Fridays, it may get too crowded on the most popular places. Unfortunately the medium prices places usually take the 'all the people you can squeeze' approach, thus you might get into noisy crowded place and your order may take a long time.

TIP is 10% at all places that you sit down and get served. (falafel, shwarma, and burekas stands/small restaurants do not usually get tipped, unless you request somthing more than just a drink and a menu item) If you feel the service was poor, tip less, if it was outstanding tip a little more..


Central Mount Carmel offers a decent selection of mid class restaurants, cafe's and bars, such as Fusion noodle house 'Giraffe', Japanese 'Tatami' and trendy cafe's such as 'Greg' and 'tut'. 'Frangelico' and 'barbarossa' Nipples are consindered to be the most popular bars in the city's chic carmal area while the legendery old fashioned 'Maayan Habira' on the lower part of it city is more popular among adult crowd

  • Tambayan (Ate Lisa), 2 Balfur, Hadar (Neer McDonalds), +9724-8669996 052-8789990, [6]. 10am-12pm. 6 Computers, wireless, Karaoke bar  edit
  • Milagro, 21 Ben Gurion, Blvd, German Colony, [7]. Internet Bar Cafe and Restaurant Friday Night Club with "Euro Russian" Music  edit
  • Port Inn, Yafo Road (in Old City), [8]. 70 NIS/night w/o breakfast, for a dormatory room bed.  edit
  • Rutenberg Institute, Hanassi Avenue 77 (in Merkaz HaCarmel), P.O.B. 6015, 34642 Haifa, +972-4-8387958 (, fax: +972 - 4 - 8387865), [9].  edit
  • Haddad's Guest House, 26 Ben Gurion Ave.- German Colony, 052-2354283, fax 077-2010618, [10]. Family run guest house.
Hotel Dan Gardens Haifa
Hotel Dan Gardens Haifa
  • Dan Gardens Haifa Hotel, 124 Yefe-Nof St., +972-3-5202552 (, fax: +972-3-5480111), [11]. The Dan Gardens Haifa is a modern bed and breakfast hotel for guests who want to enjoy Haifa's special charms and stay within budget. Set on Mount Carmel in an exclusive neighborhood featuring richly wooded areas and a tranquil ambience, the hotel offers dramatic views of Haifa Bay. With its compact size and highly personalized attention, the Dan Gardens Haifa welcomes guests in true Dan Hotels tradition which means Israel's finest hospitality.  edit
  • Hotel Beth Shalom, 110 Hanassi Blvd, +972-4-8377481 (fax: +972-4-8372443), [12]. From US$60.  edit
  • German Guest House, 105 Yafo Street, +972-4-8553705 (fax: +972-4-8514919). checkout: 10 am. Very clean and comfortable rooms. Run by the Rosary Sisters (Roman Catholic nuns) who seem to take great care of the guests. A free breakfast is included and it's a very central location near the Haifa HaShmona central railway station and the Haifa port. The only downside is that you have to be back in the guesthouse by 10 pm. ILS 180/night including breakfast.  edit
  • Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel, 85-87 Hanassi Avenue, +972-3-5202552 (, fax: +972-3-5480111), [13]. The Dan Carmel has panoramic views of the bay and the city of Haifa. Private gardens, verdant hillsides and endless coastline.  edit
  • Dan Panorama Haifa Hotel, 107 Hanassi Avenue, +972-3-5202552 (, fax: +972-3-5480111), [14]. Contemporary in style and young in spirit, the Dan Panorama rises high above Mount Carmel, offering good views of Haifa bay and miles of coastline. The hotel is directly linked to a mall.  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Haifa, +972-3-5390808 (), [15]. On Mount Carmel, near Carmel Center and the Bahai Gardens. Health club has a covered pool, wet and dry sauna, Jacuzzi and gym. 600 NIS/night.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HAIFA, a town of Palestine at the foot of Mt. Carmel, on the south of the Bay of Acre. It represents the classical Sycaminum, but the present town is entirely modern. It has developed since about 1890 into an important port, and is connected by railway with Damascus. The population is estimated at 12,000 (Moslems 6000, Christians 4000, Jews 1500, Germans Soo; the last belong for the greater part to the Unitarian sect of the "Templars," who have colonies also at Jaffa and Jerusalem). The exports (grain and oil) were valued at £178,738 in 'goo. Much of the trade that formerly went to Acre has been attracted to Haifa. This port is the best natural harbour on the Palestine coast.

<< Haiduk

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Haifa [1]

  1. Haifa (the main city of northern Israel).


Simple English


חֵיפָה (Hebrew)

حَيْفَا (Arabic)
—  City  —
View of Haifa from Mount Carmel
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 32°49′0″N 34°59′0″E / 32.816667°N 34.983333°E / 32.816667; 34.983333
District Haifa (Mehoz Heifa)
 - Mayor Yona Yahav
 - Total 63.7 km2 (24.6 sq mi)
Elevation 5 - 525.4 m (-1,719 ft)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 264,800
Time zone Israel Standard Time (IST) (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) Israel Summer Time (IDT) (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +972 (Israel) + 4 (Haifa)
Website haifa.muni.il (English)

Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country.


  1. "CBS 2008 estimate" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www1.cbs.gov.il/shnaton60/st02_15.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 


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