‘Red City’ Pleased by Religious Influx (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Maayana Miskin 05/04/12)
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Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, has a strongly secular image and
has been dubbed the “red city” for its decades of uncontested Labor
rule. However, according to mayor Yona Yahav, the reality is very
Haifa welcomes religious Jews to the city, he said. In fact Yahav,
who once ran with the staunchly secular Shinui party, has actively
encouraged religious migration to Haifa.
“I’m the first mayor who grew up here, and I remember that in my
youth, religious Zionists were a significant force in the city,”
Yahav told Arutz Sheva.
“Over the years they disappeared. So when I was elected, I decided to
bring them back."
Yahav contacted Rabbi Rahamim Nissim, who heads the Shaalei Torah
movement. Together, the two led the formation of a Garin Torah “Torah
seed group,” a group of religious-Zionist families that settled in
the Hadar neighborhood. Hadar, formerly among Haifa’s most
prestigious neighborhoods, had become an area known for its poverty
and high crime rate.
Since then both the neighborhood and the religious Zionist community
have flourished. Yahav met recently with families in the area. “The
people in the Garin are very active in the city on a social and
cultural level, and we see their work as a blessing,” he said. The
group has succeeded in revitalizing several synagogues that had been
closed for lack of use, he noted.
Religious families live peacefully alongside the wide variety of
other communities in the city, Yahav said.
“The image of the ‘red city’ stuck to us over the years, but there
has always been ‘Yiddishkeit’ in the city and that continues today.
This is a pleasant city where religious and non-religious lifestyles
coexist peacefully, in unity and friendship,” he concluded.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/04/12)
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