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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Haifa

First settlements - Greece - Byzantium - Christian Crusade atrocities - Saladin, Franks, and Turkish rule - Egypt, trade and steam boat times - racist Zionism and withdrawal of the Muslims

from: Haifa; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol.7

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<HAIFA, port in Israel and commercial and administrative center of the north of the country, with about 200,000 inhabitants in 1970. The city extends over the northwest side of Mt. Carmel and the coastal strip at its northern slope, and over the southern end of the Zebulun Valley and the northern edge of the Carmel Coast.

Early History. [Fist settlement Tell Abu Hawam - Hellenistic Shikmonah - Persian times - Byzantine times]

The earliest settlement in Haifa's vicinity was located at Tell Abu Hawam, a small port town founded at the beginning of the 14th century B.C.E. (Late Bronze Age) and was in existence until the Hellenistic period. The city was not a part of the area regarded as sanctified by the exiles returning from Babylon (see *Israel, Historical Boundaries). Haifa is possibly mentioned in the Persian period in the list of cities attributed to the geographer Scylax, between the bay and the "Promontory of Zeus" i.e., the Carmel.

In the Hellenistic period the city moved to a new site, south of Bat Galim (the old port had apparently become blocked by sand). Tombs from the Roman period, including Jewish burial caves, have been found in the vicinity.

The (col. 1133)

major city in the region was Shikmonah, which Eusebius even identifies with Haifa (Onomastikon, ed. by E. Klostermann (1904), 108:31). Haifa is mentioned in Jewish sources as the home of R. Avdimos (Avdimi, Dimi) and other scholars (Tosef., Yev. 6:8). It was a fishing village whose inhabitants, like the people of Beth-Shean and Tivon, could not distinguish between the pronunciation of the gutturals het [[ḥet]] and ayin (TJ, Ber. 2:4).

According to the Talmud, the murex (shellfish yielding purple dye used for the tallit [[prayer shawl for morning service]]) was caught along the coast from Haifa to the Ladder of Tyre (Shab. 26a). Politically Haifa throughout this period belonged to the district of *Acre. Its Jewish inhabitants were on hostile terms with the Samaritans in neighboring Castra, a fortress built by the Romans.

A kinah [[dirge (sad poem) or elegy, recited on Tisha B'Av, contemplating the destruction of the Temple of 70]] speaks of the destruction of the Jewish community, along with other communities, when the Byzantines reconquered the country from the Persians in 628.

Haifa is not mentioned in the sources dealing with the first 400 years of Muslim rule in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel). It appears again only in the mid-11th century: in 1046 the Persian traveler Nasir-i Khusrau relates that large sailing ships were built there. He also mentions date palms that he found there and the sand used by goldsmiths.

In 1084, the gaon [[Talmud interpreter]] *Elijah ha-Kohen went from Tyre to Haifa to proclaim the New Year on the soil of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) and to renew  the ordination of rabbis and the gaonate there.

[Crusades and Haifa: destruction of the Jewish community - Crusader family Alvarez - Saladin, Franks, and Ottomans - the town is destroyed]

On the eve of the First Crusade Haifa is described as an important and well-fortified city. The Crusaders pushing southward initially spared the city but later laid siege and conquered it with the help of the Venetian navy (summer 1100). Al Haifa's Jewish defenders (who comprised the majority of the city's population) and its Egyptian garrison were slaughtered, bringing to an end another brief but flourishing chapter in Haifa's history.

During the Crusader era Jews apparently did not resettle in Haifa. The city remained a small fortress and an insignificant port under the shadow of its mighty neighbors, Acre and Caesarea; during this period it was the capital of a seigniory held by a Crusader family, Garcia Alvarez.

The fortress of Haifa was destroyed in 1187 when Saladin dealt a crushing blow to Crusader rule.

[[Before the Crusader states had been formed a coalition with the Husars against Saladin]].

It [[Haifa]] was returned under the peace treaty of 1192 to the Franks during the Third Crusade (1192-1265).

In the mid-13th century the city's fortifications were rebuilt by Louis IX, king of France, but in 1265 Haifa again fell, this time to the Mamluk sultan Baybars who drove the remaining Crusaders from the country. During Baybars' systematic destruction of the coastal cities of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) and Syria (to prevent their reoccupation by the Franks), Haifa was also razed (1291) and did not revive throughout the period of Mamluk rule.

The Carmelite Order was destroyed by the Muslims in 1291. From the time of its conquest by the Muslims until the 15th century, Haifa was either uninhabited or an unfortified small village. At various times there were a few Jews living there, and both Jews and Christians made pilgrimages to Elijah's cave on Mt. Carmel.

Ottoman Rule. [little settlement - expansion by trade - Carmelites - wars and destruction of the whole town - a new port]

Haifa was apparently deserted at the time of the Ottoman conquest (1516). The first indication of its resettlement is contained in a description by the German traveler Raowulf who visited Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) in 1575. Haifa is subsequently mentioned in accounts of travelers as a half-ruined, impoverished village with few inhabitants.

The expansion of commercial trade between Europe and Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) from the beginning of the 17th century improved Haifa's position. More and more boats began anchoring at the safer Haifa port in preference to the plugged-up bay at Acre. Haifa's revival as a flourishing port city is also to be credited to the emirs of the Turabay family, who ruled part (col. 1134)

of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) at that time, and also Haifa. These local rulers also gave permission to the Carmelite monks to reestablish themselves in 1631, but only four years later the Muslims turned their church into a mosque. Later the monastery was rebuilt; in 1775 it was ransacked, and in 1821 it was destroyed by Abdullah, pasha of Acre. It was reestablished in 1828 and exists to this day.

At the beginning of the 18th century a new local ruler Zahir al-'Umar gained control of northern Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) and set up his capital in Acre. In 1742 Haifa again came into existence as a village or a small town located at the foot of Mt. Carmel near the present-day Bat Galim quarter. It had a small Jewish community and a synagogue. In the middle of the century Zahir annexed Haifa as well. Unfortified and spread over a wide and vulnerable plain, Haifa was almost captured in 1761 by the Turks. To prevent its falling into his enemies' hands, Zahir ordered his soldiers to raze the city to the ground and scatter boulders in the anchorage; thus the ancient city of Haifa was demolished.

Zahir provided his growing capital with a safe alternative port of call 1 1/3 mi. (2 km) southeast of ancient Haifa, on a strip of coast at the foot of the Carmel at an easily defensible point. Unlike the ancient city of Haifa, the new port was situated on the crossroad from Acre to Jaffa. Zahir walled in the area and built another fortress on the slope above (known as the Burj, located on the site of Castrum Samaritanorum). The new city of Haifa grew up within these walls - retaining its old name.

18th-19th Centuries. [Carmelites - Muslim majority and Christian Arabs]

Haifa gradually recovered and increased from an estimated 250 settlers in old Haifa at the beginning of the 18th century to 4,000 a century later. R. Nahman (Naḥman) of Bratslav spent Rosh Ha-Shanah [[Jewish New Year]] of 5559 (1798) with the small Jewish community of Haifa. The (col. 1135)

composition of the population changed, mainly due to the growing influence of the Carmelite monks, so that in 1840 about 40% of the city's inhabitants were Christian Arabs living alongside the Muslim majority. Despite severe difficulties and opposition from the local inhabitants and the authorities, the Carmelite monks, with the aid of France, managed to hold on to the dark crypts above "Elijah's Cave" and also erected nearby the Stella Maris monastery. Its cornerstone was laid in 1827 and construction was carried out without incident under the Egyptian rule in force in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) at that time (1831-40) which was well-disposed to Christians in general and especially to those under French protection.

[Egyptian conquest - steam boat times and new trade - development by German sect colony - railway development and more trade]

The Egyptian conquest of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) lent much impetus to Haifa's development, which was especially to the disadvantage of its rival Acre. The steamboats, which made their appearance at this time in eastern Mediterranean ports and contributed to the economic rebirth of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel), used Haifa rather than Acre as their port of call. The consular representatives therefore began leaving Acre (which was also dominated by Muslim extremism) to settle in Haifa, with its large Christian population and better climate; the latter took over more and more of Acre's export trade, which had consisted largely of grain, cotton, and sesame seeds.

[[Muslim extremism was provoked by Egypt nationalism and European colonialism]].

In 1858 the walled city of Haifa was already overcrowded and the first houses began to be built outside the ancient city on the mountain slope. Ten years later the first German Templars arrived in the country from Wuerttemberg and built a colony, which became a model residential suburb, just west of Haifa. The members of this sect made important contributions to Haifa's development - they introduced the stagecoach, paved roads, and set up a regular coach service to Acre and Nazareth. The (col. 1136)

Templars also established Haifa's first industrial enterprises and applied modern methods in agriculture, crafts, and commerce. Toward the end of the century the Germans enlarged their settlement and built the first residential quarter on the top of the Carmel (near the present-day Merkaz ha-Carmel). In 1905 Haifa's position and importance was further strengthened when it was connected up with the Hejaz railroad which was then being laid between Damascus and the Arabian Peninsula; most of the exports from the fertile lands of the Hauran now passed through Haifa.

Revival of Jewish Settlement. [settlement - emigration waves - racist Herzl]

Haifa's Jewish community expanded gradually. Very few Jews had apparently settled there when the ancient city was rebuilt at the beginning of Turkish rule. In 1742 it contained a small Jewish community, composed mainly of immigrants from Morocco and Algeria.

In 1839 there were 124 Jews in Haifa; in 1864, 384; in 1871, 760; and in 1901, 1,041.

Up to this time North African Jews still comprised the majority of the community, which also contained some Sephardi Jews from Turkey and a few Ashkenazim. (In 1917 the number of Jews rose to 1,400 of whom a third were of North African origin, a third Sephardi, and a third Ashkenazi).

In the last quarter of the century, the Jews comprised about one-eighth of the total population. They lived in the Harat al-Yahud (Ḥarat al-Yahūd) ("Jewish quarter") inside the poor Muslim district in the eastern part of the lower city. Most of them barely subsisted by petty trade and peddling in Haifa or nearby villages. The importance of the Jewish community in the city increased with the arrival of members of the First and Second Aliyah from East Europe, mostly from Russia.

From the 1880s onward, and especially in the early 20th century, extensive Jewish commercial and industrial activity sprang up [[when the Russian tsar was murdered and the Jews were blamed for it there were Jewish emigration waves. In 1896 racist Herzl came out with his booklet "The Jewish State" with the statement that a racist state of Israel with Arabs as slaves - and eventually gold mines detected as in South Africa - this would be the solution of the worldwide "Jewish problem" and Christian hatred against the Jews would be stopped by this. Vatican and the Bible as the major sources of anti-Semitism are not mentioned as also Arab anti-Semitism was never taken into account]].

During his visit to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) in 1898-99, Theodor Herzl recognized Haifa's numerous potentialities as the future chief port and an important inland road junction. In his [[book]] Altneuland (1902), the description of Haifa occupies a central place in his vision of rebuilt Israel. The laying of the cornerstone of the *Technion in 1912 marked the high point of the intensified Jewish activities and was a signal for further development projects.

[[The Herzl plan of a "Jewish State" has it's base on "Zionist" idea of a "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates according to First Mose chapter 15 phrase 18. Arab resistance against any racist Herzl plan and racist Zionism started after 1896 because the Arabs did not wanted to be driven away as the natives in the "USA" had been driven away. But racist Jewish organizations in Europe never mentioned Arab resistance and aliyah propaganda went on and on and even was supported by European racists at the end. This is never mentioned in the European school books either]].

On the eve of World War I, Haifa with more than 20,000 inhabitants and a constantly expanding export-import trade, was the key city of northern Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel). A progressive European minority added to its cosmopolitan character and an extensive network of schools, most of them Catholic, provided a high standard of education. New residential quarters were added in the east and west and on the southern slopes of the Carmel and eventually embraced the ancient site of the city. (col. 1137)

British Mandate Period. [Jewish dominance in Haifa under British rule - infrastructure work]

On September 23, 1918, after four centuries of Turkish rule, Haifa was captured in fierce battles by the British forces. During the British Mandate, Haifa rapidly grew into a large modern city in which the Jewish population played an increasingly predominant role. In 1919 the Haifa-Lydda railroad was added to the narrow gauge Haifa-Zemah-Dara line (Haifa-Ẓemaḥ-Dara line). In the 1920s and 1930s the road network which linked up the various parts of Haifa was greatly improved and extended.

The 1922 census recorded a population of 25,000 in Haifa, of whom more than 9,000 were Muslims, slightly fewer Christian Arabs, and more than 6,000 Jews. According to the 1931 census, it contained 50,403 residents, including about 20,000 Muslims, 15,923 Jews, and about 14,000 Christians.

[[Since the 1920s the oil boom was working in the Arab world organized by English and French oil giants and a pipeline was projected to Haifa and the profits should only be in the local Jewish hands. The local Arabs should be direct victims of European-Jewish oil imperialism and should be driven away by local Jewish oil capital. This provoked another wave or local Arab resistance in Palestine which is never mentioned in Europe and in the "USA" and is missing in the European school books]].


The completion of the large harbor in 1934 produced a great burst of prosperity and Haifa became the main and practically only port of international repute in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel), taking precedence over Jaffa. Haifa's economy was further strengthened by completion in 1939 of the oil pipeline from Iraq to its Mediterranean terminus at Haifa and the large oil refineries near the city.

At this time the port facilities encouraged many new industries, some of them the largest in the country (textiles, glass, bricks, petroleum products, cement, metal, ceramics, etc.), in Haifa and the vicinity, especially in the Zebulun Valley. Tension between the city's Arab and Jewish residents, in the Mandate period, however, impeded Haifa's development. The riots of 1936-39 in particular adversely affected the city's economy and business dwindled between the conflicting sides as well as trade with Syria and Lebanon.

The Arab population mainly concentrated in the lower city, obstructed the Jews on their way to the adjoining industrial areas and to the port and services adjacent to it (marine shipping companies, banks, transport, insurance, etc.), as more and more Jews from the 1920s onward settled in the Hadar ha-Carmel section (the continuation of the Herzliyyah district founded before World War I). Hadar ha-Carmel developed rapidly around the Technion, which was inaugurated in 1925. The Mandate authorities granted some municipal autonomy to the new Jewish quarter. The Jewish settlement in this period also climbed higher up on the slope around Merkaz ha-Carmel, in the Ahuzzat (Aḥuzzat) Herbert Samuel quarter, and in Neveh Sha'anan.

When the land in the Zebulun Valley on the coast of the bay was purchased in 1928, the [[racist Free Mason Herzl]] Zionist movement made its first venture into comprehensive urban planning for which it engaged the British city planner Patrick Abercrombie. The area stretching from the south-east corner of the bay up to Acre was divided into functional regions - and industrial zone in the south near the port; a residential area in the center in which from 1930 onward the Kerayot were built (Kiryat Hayyim (Kiryat Ḥayyim), Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Yam); and an agricultural belt in the north.


By 1944 the number of inhabitants had grown to 128,000 of whom 66,000 were Jewish, 35,940 Muslim, 26,570 Christian, and 3,000 Bahais. [[At the same time the guerrilla war was coming up and Jewish racist guerrilla destroyed a big part of the English railway lines]].


Toward the end of the British Mandate, both the Jews and the Arabs attempted to gain control over the city. The hostilities which broke out at the end of 1947 reached a peak on April 21-22, 1948, when the British suddenly decided to evacuate the city. In a lightning military action, the Haganah captured the Arab quarters and took over the city. Only about 3,000 of Haifa's 50,000 Arab residents chose to remain in the city; the rest, in response to the Arab High Command's orders, refused to accept Jewish rule and abandoned their homes.

[[as a protest against a racist Jewish state which has the aim to drive the Arabs away and to enslave them as it is prescribed in the Herzl book. Add to this racist Free Mason Zionist Herzl Israel was also collaborating with the criminal CIA so the "Soviet Union" felt encircled and the Arab states got all support against racist Free Mason Zionist Herzl Israel by the "Soviet Union", which for itself was financed by the "USA" again. The Herzl book is not forbidden until now, and the Arabs are not allowed to come back until now (2008)]].


At the end of the Mandate (1948) the Jews comprised nearly two-thirds of the population (about 100,000 out of 150,000).

1948-1970. [Jewish dominance and developments: rebuilt center, industry, port]

Late in 1948 Haifa's population numbered (col. 1138)

97,544, of whom 96% were Jews. At the end of 1950 there were 140,000 inhabitants; at the end of 1952, 150,600; at the end of 1955, 158,700; in 1961, 183,021; and at the end of 1967, 209,900 inhabitants.

The city was the second largest in the country (until the unification of Jerusalem in 1967). The built-up area of Haifa continued to expand along the shore area and on the slopes and ridges of the Carmel. The lower city (whose former nucleus had been largely left in ruins in 1948) was rebuilt as the "City" - Haifa's main business section. [[The railway system was not rebuilt]]. The population density on Hadar ha-Carmel (also a center for retail trade, services, and entertainment) increased until residents started moving to the upper Carmel. Housing projects on a large scale were erected, including extensive suburbs such as Kiryat Eliezer on the coast and southern Romemah on a ridge of the Carmel.

In the 1950s and 1960s a number of changes were made in the functional arrangement of the city with Haifa and Acre being conceived as the axes of a comprehensive regional scheme. In the Haifa Bay area the industrial zone extends north along the coastal dune strip up to Acre and constitutes the "Steel City". Residential quarters have been built east of this zone. On Mt. Carmel the crest and narrow spurs branching off to the west and east are reserved for building and parks and orchards fill the gorges. Downtown Haifa has extended westward, spilling over southward into the Carmel Coast area.

After the establishment of the [[racist Free Mason Herzl CIA]] State of Israel, the port was greatly expanded and modernized and became the home port of Israel's fast-growing navy. The piers were tripled in number, the water level deepened, and many port facilities added, such as the Dagon storage silos with a 75,000 ton capacity. In 1954 an auxiliary port was built at the Kishon River outlet, its pier was lengthened in 1964 to 2,099 ft. (640 m). A shipyard for building and repairing ships, a floating dock, and a jetty for Israel's fishing fleet were also built in the Kishon area (1959).

In 1951, 1,370 ships called at Israel ports (excluding oil tankers), of which 1,168 entered Haifa port. In 1967, 2,372 ships called, including 1,545 at Haifa and 765 at Ashdod port (which began operations in 1966). Haifa continued to be almost the exclusive embarkation and debarkation sea point in Israel (about a quarter of a million passengers passed through Haifa in the peak year of 1965).

Haifa's industry continued expanding in this period, especially in the bay area. Two factories in Israel for the production and assembly of cars were set up there, as well as large chemical and petrochemical industries, an industrial and craft center, a plant for producing organic fertilizers from waste, a plant for purifying sewage water, and numerous other industrial enterprises. Also located in Haifa are the national offices of the Israel Railways (including their large workshops [[the rest of the English railway system]]), the Israel Electric Company, Solel Boneh (Israel's largest contracting company), Zim (the largest shipping company), and others.

Employment in the port area, which provides work for a tenth of the city's population, and in Haifa's varied industry, even in the Mandate period drew a very large working force to the  city, which is the best organized in the country.

[Mayors - Bahai sect - schools and culture]

From 1951 until his death in 1969, the mayor of Haifa was Abba *Khoushi, formerly the secretary of the Haifa labor council. He did much to develop and beautify the city. The annual city budget rose from IL 86,000 ($346,775) in 1948-49 to IL 86,000,000 ($24,571,428) in 1968-69.

The *Bahai sect, with its world center in Haifa, built a gold-domed sanctuary and cultivated one of the finest and largest gardens in the country. Another unique feature of the city is the "Carmelit", Israel's only subway, which was set up in 1959. (col. 1139)

The educational system has received particular attention. Haifa University College was founded in 1963 by the municipality under the academic supervision of the *Hebrew University. It was granted independent status and in 1970 it offered courses in the humanities and social sciences and had a department for training high school teachers. Enrollment in 1969/70 totaled 3,600 and the academic staff numbered 340. In the previous year 189 degrees were conferred. In 1967 the college was transferred to the university campus (designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer) on the summit of the Carmel. Various cultural and social centers, public buildings, and museums have been built to house among others, the naval museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Japanese Art Pavilion, the *Haifa Municipal Theater, and the Haifa Symphony Orchestra. One of the best-known community centers is the James de Rothschild Center. In 1963 a Jewish-Arab youth center, Bet Gefen, was opened through the efforts of Abba Khoushi, to help integrate the minority youth.

[[Well the racist policy, the Jewish atomic bomb stores and the announcements of the Jewish Free Mason presidents after Six-Day-War gave another reality for the Arabs than an "integration"...]].


-- R. Hecht: Sippurah shel Heifah (Ḥeifah) (1968)
-- Z. Vilnay, in: Sefer ha-Shanah shel Erez Yisrael, 1 (1923), 125-9
-- idem: Heifah be-Avar u-va-Hoveh (1936)
-- J. Schattner, in: IEJ, 4 (1954), 26ff.
-- Hamilton, in: QDAP, 4 (1935), 1 ff.
-- J. Braslavski (Braslavi), in: BJPES, 12 (1945/6), 166-7
-- idem: Le-Heker Arzenu (1954), index
-- E.G. Rey: Les colonies fraques de Syrie... (1883), 431
-- Prawer, Zalbanim, index
-- V. Guérin: Description géographique... Samarie, 2 (1875), 252 ff.
-- Mann, Egypt, index
-- EIS, s.v.
-- L. Oliphant: Haifa, or Life in Modern Palestine (1887)
-- A. Carmel: Toledot Heifah bi-Ymei ha-Turkim (1969)
-- S. Klein: Toledot ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi be-Erez Yisrael (1935), index
-- [[S. Klein?]]: Heifah ba-Asor le-Yisrael (1959)


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Encyclopaedia Judaica: Haifa, vol. 7, col.
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