Friday, January 28, 2011

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Israel Views: Netanya

In the middle of the coast of Israel sits Netanya, a beautiful beach resort grown into a medium sized city.

Netanya is unusual in Israel for it’s intense mix.  A sephardi community, a charedi community, a large number of French immigrants and Russian immigrants, a significant tourist industry, food manufacturing, high tech (Cisco has an R&D office there among others), and one of Israel’s two Ikea stores is there.

But when one says Netanya, the first thought is the beaches (which include a religious beach – segregated hours for men and women, on the north side of town)…

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Some parts of Netanya are a residential dream land of pretty and colorful buildings facing the sea.  Warm sea breezes and incredible ocean sunsets are part of every day, with the actual shoreline beautified in semi-tropical style.

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Though one shouldn’t think that doesn’t include synagogues.  For a city classified as a not-religious-majority city (such as Jerusalem or Bnei Brak), Netanya has the highest number of synagogues per capita in Israel.

Pictured – Chabad of North Netanya

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The center of town is all stores, malls, entertainment and small businesses.  (Industry is packed into a large and growing industrial park on the southeast side of town.)

Pictured – Netanya downtown.  On the left is a performance theatre, the regional courthouse, and a mall in the distance.  On the right are a series of storefronts, these 3 blocks are mostly hair stylists.

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But of course, the major draw is…the sea.

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