|• ISO 259||ʔelˁad|
|• Type||City (from 2008)|
|• Mayor||Israel (Srulik) Porush (UTJ)|
|• Total||2,756 dunams (2.756 km2 or 1.064 sq mi)|
El'ad, also spelled Elad (Hebrew: אלעד), is a city in the Center District of Israel. Located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Tel Aviv on Route 444 between Rosh HaAyin and Shoham. In 2009 the city had a total population of 36,300. El'ad is the only locality in Israel officially designated a religious municipality. The name El'ad means “Forever God”, but it's also named after a member of the tribe of Ephraim, who lived in this area (1 Chronicles 7:21).
The building of El'ad started in the late 1990s, following a government decision in 1990 to built a series of settlements along the seam line with the West Bank under then housing minister Ariel Sharon, and provide immediate housing for 50,000 residents. The town was built from scratch as a planned community according to urban planning paradigms not unlike Modi'in and nearby Shoham. While those towns were designed to suit a mixed population of non-religious and religious Jews, El'ad was originally planned to suit a mixed population of Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist Jews and ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews, offering a solution to the acute shortage of affordable housing for Haredi families. The majority of the population are Haredi Jews. Accordingly, El'ad is built in a way that suits their religious lifestyle with a larger selection of housing options offering larger than average apartments to accommodate religious families who tend to have more children than the average national population. Another characteristic is easy access and short walking distances to local education institutions to avoid the need for school transportation costs.
By 1998, El'ad had already achieved local council status, in February 2008 El'ad's official status was changed to a city. The city's current mayor is Israel Porush, a member of the United Torah Judaism party.
El'ad is one of the fastest growing towns in Israel with an annual population growth of 6 to 7 percent. Its population numbered 33.900 in 2008, 36.300 in 2009 and had reached 37.400 by the end of June 2009. The population density per squarekilometer is 13,1, median age is 11.
The support center of Ramat Gan-based Israeli company Daronet is located in El'ad. Its workers are ultra-Orthodox women. In 2012 Daronet signed a sales agreement worth NIS700,000 (US$180,000) with Saudi energy giant Yanar.
In August 2003, policemen responsible for maintaining law and order in the fast growing town, described El'ad as “a hornets' nest of crime, brimming with growing domestic violence, vandalism, juvenile delinquency and traffic violations”. The problems include religious-ethnic tension, frequently erupting in street brawls. A year later, child neglect was added to the list. At the same time, El'ad together with the mainly Arab town of Umm al-Fahm are among the Israeli cities with the lowest rate of police cases opened for violent crimes. In 2008 a local ultra-Orthodox school for girls was accused of discriminating against girls of Sephardic Jewish origines. The school did accept Sephardic girls, but only if their families agreed to abide by the stricter religious lifestyle that Ashkenazim are accustomed to.
The town's chief Ashkenazi rabbi is Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Grossman and the chief Sephardic rabbi is Rabbi Mordechai Malka. The two rabbis have a disagreement about the correct time for inaugurating the Sabbath, and for closing the gate to the city before the Sabbath begins, leading to tensions within the communities.
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- Bitan, Hanna: 1948-1998: Fifty Years of 'Hityashvut': Atlas of Names of Settlements in Israel, Jerusalem 1999, Carta, p.6, ISBN 965-220-423-4 (Hebrew)
- Shefer, Shlomi (2002-08-05). "A star settlement is born. In these hard economic times, Elad seems to be the only place that's booming as the ultra-Orthodox are flocking to its green spaces and relatively low house prices". Haaretz.
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- Ettinger, Yair (2011-12-05). "Ashkenazi and Sephardi rabbis battle over Sabbath hours in Elad". Haaretz.
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- Singer-Heruti, Roni (2003-08-08). "Haredi town's crime rate rises, and police are helpless. Rosh Ha'ayin policemen describe the nearby ultra-Orthodox town Elad as "a hornets' nest of crime," brimming with growing domestic violence, vandalism, juvenile delinquency and traffic violations". Haaretz.
- Rotem, Tsahar (2004-08-04). "Toddler found wandering around Elad". Haaretz.
- Kubovich, Yaniv (2011-10-09). "Police study: Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Ramle and Eilat Israel's most violent cities. Umm al-Fahm and Elad report lowest incidence of violent crime". Haaretz.
- Kashti, Or (2008-09-04). "Elad ultra-Orthodox school rejects Sephardi first-graders". Haaretz.
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