|• Hebrew||נָצְרַת עִלִּית|
|• Arabic||ناصيرات عيليت (Nasirat Illit) or الناصرة العليا (An-Nasira-l-ʻolya)|
|• Type||City (from 1974)|
|• Mayor||Shimon Gafsou|
|• Total||32,521 dunams (32.521 km2 or 12.556 sq mi)|
|Name meaning||Upper Nazareth|
Nazareth Illit (Hebrew: נָצְרַת עִלִּית) (Upper Nazareth) is a city in the Northern District of Israel. At the end of 2007 it had a population of 40,800. Nazareth Illit was founded in 1957. It was planned as a Jewish town overlooking the Arab city of Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley.
The establishment of Nazareth Illit was conceived in the early 1950s when development towns such as Karmiel and Beit She'an were founded. There were economic and security reasons for developing a town in this region, but according to Shimon Landman, director of the Interior Ministry's Department of Minorities, the municipal elections in 1954, in which the Israel communist party Maki became the largest faction, were a source of concern.
A parcel of 1,200 dunams of land, about half within the municipal boundaries of Nazareth, was expropriated in 1954, relying on a law that permitted expropriations for public purposes. Protests at this action reached the Supreme Court of Israel, which in 1955 accepted (HCJ 30/55) the government's word that the sole purpose of the land was to erect government facilities. However, it had already been decided that only 109 dunams would be used for that purpose and planning for residential neighborhoods continued. The first dwellings were completed in September 1956 and the first residents moved in later that year.
According to historian Geremy Forman, the director of the IDF Planning Department, Yuval Ne'eman, stated that the town would "safeguard the Jewish character of the Galilee as a whole, and... demonstrate state sovereignty to the Arab population more than any other settlement operation." Forman wrote that Upper Nazareth was meant to "overpower Nazareth numerically, economically, and politically."
Initially the settlement was referred to as the "Jewish neighborhood" of Nazareth, then as Kiryat Natzeret. The name Nazareth Illit was adopted in 1958. In 1961, Nazareth Illit was recognized as a municipal local council.
According to CBS, in 2001 the ethnic and religious makeup of the city was 91.0% Jewish and other non-Arabs, 9.0% Arab (2.3% Muslim and 6.7% Christian). In the 1990s, Upper Nazareth was the fastest developing city in the country with a growth rate of nearly 70 percent. Newcomers included new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and South America, as well as young couples. In 2012, Arabs accounted for 17 percent of the city's 40,000 residents.
In 2010, the city had 12 elementary schools and two high schools. A new high school for religious boys opened that year and the Yeshivat Hesder of Maalot, which combines army service with Torah study, planned to open a branch there. Nazareth Illit also has a regional engineering college.
Nazareth Illit's municipality cares for maintaining the city's green grounds and for the forestry of the city. Located by the city, is the "Churchill Forest" (the money for which has been donated by the Jewish community of Britain in memory of Sir Winston Churchill). The forest, which lies on the downslope between Nazareth and Izra'el Valley, provides observation spots on the valley view.
Christmas tree ban
In 2010, Mayor Shimon Gapso refused to allow Arab Christians to put Christmas trees in the town squares of the Arab and Muslim quarters, saying that it was "provocative" and that Nazareth Illit is a Jewish city. Arabs said that Jews, Christians and Muslims live there in harmony, and that the purpose of decorating a tree was just to share the happiness and cheer. The mayor has been accused of racism. He told a local Arab newspaper that if he had been around during the October 2000 Israeli-Arab clashes, more Arabs would have been killed.
Hapoel Nazareth Illit is the city's major football team. Having been promoted to the top division for the first time in 2003, the club was later relegated in 2006 to Liga Leumit, the second tier, where they currently play. The city's other Football team, F.C. Nazareth Illit, plays in Liga Gimel.
The city's main football stadium is Green Stadium. In addition to hosting matches of the city's two football teams, the stadium hosted in the past Israeli Premier League matches of Hapoel Acre and Bnei Sakhnin whose stadiums didn't meet Israeli Premier League. During 2013–14 the stadium also hosted Hapoel Afula matches.
The city's Table tennis team, Hapoel Nazareth Illit, plays at the Israeli Table-tennis Premier league. The team won both the championship and the state cup at the 2011–12 season.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Nazareth Illit is twinned with:
- San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
- Leverkusen, Germany
- Klagenfurt, Austria
- Győr, Hungary
- Detroit, United States
- Chernivtsi, Ukraine
- Saint-Étienne, France
- Alba Iulia, Romania
- Kikinda, Serbia
- A message from the mayor
- "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 2,000 Residents and Other Rural Population". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- A City with Character, Jerusalem Post
- G. Forman: Military Rule, Political Manipulation, and Jewish Settlement: Israeli Mechanisms for Controlling Nazareth in the 1950s, The Journal of Israeli History, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2006) 335-359.
- Forman, p349.
- Forman, p350.
- Forman, p351.
- Our Canadian friend, The Jerusalem Post
- Nazeret Illit
- About Nazeret Illit
- Christmas trees 'provocative:' Nazareth suburb's mayor, AFP, Dec 22, 2010
- Christmas Trees Are Still Banned in Nazareth Illit, Rebecca Greenfield, The Atlantic Wire, Dec 20, 2011
- Nazareth Illit municipal website
- Unofficial city news website «From Nazareth Illit»
- Satellite image of the city from Google Earth
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nazareth Illit.|