Thinking of moving to Israel? Perhaps you're aching for a place near the beach? You could join the hundreds of thousands who have flocked to live in cities near the Mediterranean Sea. Or maybe you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle and are lusting after a quaint and quiet suburban hideaway in the central hills. Whatever your housing preferences are, there are several wonderful communities in Israel to suit your fancy.
Founded in 1953, the town of Savyon is the Beverly Hills of Israel. This upper-middle-class community includes about 3,400 residential structures, mainly multimillion-dollar luxury villas with lush gardens. It is home to some of the wealthiest citizens in the country. While the average annual salary in Israel in 2008 was about $24,700, the figure is about $77,300 among residents of Savyon, according to the Israeli women's magazine Laisha.
This upscale community, part of the greater municipality of the 84,000-people-large Herzliya, also boasts multimillion-dollar homes and was dubbed by BusinessWeek as "the epicenter of Israel's tech industry" or Israel's "Silicon Coast," due to the booming high-tech industry in the city. Indeed, many computer technology executives live in the area.
Massive iron gates, adorned with top-of-the-line security systems, surround some of the giant estates, many of which are located a few hundred feet from the ocean. It contains some of the central region's most popular high-end restaurants.
As in many major cities, parts of Israel's most famous coastal city are rather gritty and people from both the lower and upper ends of the socio-economic scale have made it their home. But the appeal of Tel Aviv, home to more than 390,000 people, lies in its location, a bustling night life, ample commerce and shopping opportunities, and proximity to the ocean. Some parts scream luxury.
The elite neighborhood of Ramat Aviv Gimmel, for example, is one of the most sought-after residential areas. In Tel Aviv, condominiums or duplexes in high-rises that offer views of the city and of the sea are highly coveted and often acquired by wealthy foreigners to be used as investment properties or as holiday rentals.
In the center of town, unique and coveted architecture stands out from among the rows of otherwise drab concrete apartment complexes. The asking price for a three-bedroom duplex in a renovated Bauhaus-style building was $1.72 million in July 2009, the New York Times reported.
Home to some 73,000 mainly middle-class people, the central city of Ra'anana is often a favorite among native English-speakers in the country, including immigrants and visitors from South Africa, the United States, Australia and Great Britain. The city boasts private homes with gardens as well as condominiums and duplexes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Kfar Saba, located east of Ra'anana, is popular for its central location. Home to some 81,600 mainly middle-class people, including hundreds of academics and high-tech workers, Kfar Saba boasts many luxury condominiums worth an average of more than $400,000. The city also houses the Beit Berl Academic College, one of Israel's most renowned institutions for would-be teachers.
Maccabim and Re'ut
Located near the West Bank border on the Israeli side, the towns of Maccabim and Re'ut resemble a typical Northern California suburb. The upper-middle-class community of Maccabim is home to many high-tech workers, CEOs of corporations, such as the popular FOX clothing chain, and members of the International Maccabi Organisation. Its sister town, Re'ut, houses mainly military officers, and several chiefs of staff used to live there. Both towns boast about 2,000 red-roofed villas with gardens and one of the best school systems in the country.
The towns are part of the municipality of the nearby city of Modi'in, but they have retained their distinctively quiet and suburban character. Maccabim is also home to supermodel Shiraz Tal and tennis star Shahar Pe'er.
The largely middle-class city of Modi'in, established in 1996, is home to some 65,000 residents and is one of Israel's largest cities. Its appeal lies mainly in its location. Nestled in the center of the country, it takes only about 40 minutes by car to reach either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, and the city is not far from Ben Gurion International Airport. This makes it ideal for commuters who work in either of those cities but want to live in a more affordable area and maintain the same quality of life.
The city contains villas as well as condominiums and duplexes in both small buildings and high-rises. The city received its first large indoor shopping mall in 2009 and also contains minimalls and a movie theater.
Many English-speaking immigrants have chosen to make Modi'in their home. The city even has a baseball league, which is rare in Israel, where soccer and basketball are the most popular sports.
Official Site of the Modi'in Miracle baseball team: http://www.israelbaseballleague.com/teams/modin/
This hilly, suburban community is home to more than 23,600 people, including both blue-collar and white-collar workers. Located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Mevaseret Zion possesses some of the best views of the holy city. Many people who work in Jerusalem enjoy the tranquility of living in one of the many villas located in Mevaseret Zion, away from the noise and pollution, and then commuting 10 to 20 minutes to work.
Omer, which contains more than 6,500 middle-class residents, is considered by many one of Israel's best kept secrets. Located in the Negev Desert, not far from the city of Beer Sheba, the middle-class town of Omer is often called Israel's Oasis. It is only a few miles away from Ben Gurion University, a popular college among international students due to its vibrant student life.
Omer Municipality http://www.omer.muni.il/hadover/omer/GreenOasis.htm
Notable for being the home of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the town of Kochav Ya'ir was founded in 1986 and is considered a middle to upper middle class suburban community. It also boasts some of the strongest high school students in the country, according to figures released by Israel's Education Ministry in 2009. Kochav Ya'ir is part of the same municipality as neighboring town Tzur Yigal, and the two towns have a combined population of about 11,700.