Nof HaGalil

Coordinates: 32°43′N 35°20′E / 32.717°N 35.333°E / 32.717; 35.333
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(Redirected from Nazareth Illit)
Nof HaGalil
  • נוף הגליל
  • نوف هچليل
View of Nof HaGalil
View of Nof HaGalil
Flag of Nof HaGalil
Coat of arms of Nof HaGalil
Nof HaGalil is located in Jezreel Valley region of Israel
Nof HaGalil
Nof HaGalil
Coordinates: 32°43′N 35°20′E / 32.717°N 35.333°E / 32.717; 35.333
Country Israel
City Status1974
 • MayorRonen Plot
 • Total32,521 dunams (32.521 km2 or 12.556 sq mi)
 • Total44,184
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
 • Jews and others71.3%
 • Arabs28.7%
Name meaningView of Galilee
^ From 1957 to 2019

Nof HaGalil[2] (Hebrew: נוֹף הַגָּלִיל, lit.'View of Galilee'; Arabic: نوف هچليل) is a city in the Northern District of Israel with a population of 44,184.[1]

Nof HaGalil was founded in 1957 as Nazareth Illit (Hebrew: נָצְרַת עִלִּית, romanizedNatzrat Ilit; Arabic: الناصرة العليا / نتسرات عيليت, romanizedAn-Nāṣira al-‘Ilyā / Natsrāt ‘Īlīt, lit.'Upper Nazareth'), it was planned as a Jewish town overlooking the Arab city of Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley.[3] In 1963, it was declared a local council, and in 1974, it formally gained the status of a city. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city saw a large influx of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet republics, which doubled the city's population and made it one of the centers of Russian Jewish culture in Israel.

In recent decades, the city also became a mixed city following significant Israeli Arab migration; today 29% of the city's population is Arab,[1] although they depend on neighboring Nazareth for many services as the municipality has refused to allow the building of any churches, mosques or Arabic-speaking schools.[4][5][6]

Its name was changed in 2019 to "Nof HaGalil" following a plebiscite in which 80% of voters, although with low turnout, approved the change.


The establishment of Nazareth Illit was conceived in the early 1950s,[7] 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 Nazareth municipal elections in 1954, in which the Israel communist party Maki became the largest faction, were a source of concern.[8]

Ronen Plot, mayor

A parcel of 1,200 dunams of land, about half formerly within the municipal boundaries of Nazareth, was allocated 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.[9]

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 Nazareth Illit was meant to "overpower Nazareth numerically, economically, and politically."[10]

Initially the city was referred to as the "Jewish neighborhood" of Nazareth, then as Kiryat Natzeret. The name Nazareth Illit (Upper Nazareth) was adopted in 1958. In 1961, Nazareth Illit was recognized as a municipal local council.[11]

In 2019 the city was renamed Nof HaGalil (Hebrew: נוֹף הַגָּלִיל‎, lit. View of the Galilee).[12][13]

Development plans[edit]

In 2021, seven housing projects were under construction in Nof HaGalil. Construction has begun on the Haifa–Nazareth Light Rail which will pass through Nof HaGalil, with 7 stations planned throughout the city. The development of a large municipal park is nearing completion. It includes a petting zoo, an ecological lake, a planetarium, an astronomical observatory, a skating rink, an extreme zip-line course, a musical park, a botanical garden, and an amphitheater. A new government complex is also under construction and there are plans for the expansion of three commercial centers and a hi-tech park.[14]

It has been reported that while the city's Arab population grew in recent years, the municipality has refused to allow the building of any churches, mosques or Arabic-speaking schools.[4][5][6]


Nof HaGalil city hall

According to CBS, in 2014 the ethnic and religious makeup of the city was 64.4% Jewish and other non-Arabs and 21.6% Arab (7.2% Muslim and 14.4% Christian).[15] In the 1990s, Nazareth Illit 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.[3] In 2012, Arabs accounted for 17 percent of the city's 40,000 residents.[16]

In recent years, the city has seen an influx of Bnei Menashe immigrants. 1,225 Bnei Menashe have now settled there, with 700 arriving in 2021 alone. The mayor, Ronen Plot has been an ardent supporter of the Bnei Menashe community moving into the city. [17] [18]


Strauss-Elite factory in Nof HaGalil

The Strauss-Elite chocolate factory in the city's industrial zone employs over 600 workers.[19]


In 2010, the city had 12 elementary schools and two high schools. In 2019, after a successful school fundraising, a scientific and ecological greenhouse was set up on a 500 square meters site in the Atzmon elementary school. The students of Atzmon not only grow vegetables and fruits, but also invent new varieties and experiment with the scientific process involved in their development.[20]

A new high school for religious boys opened in 2010 and the Yeshivat Hesder of Maalot, which combines army service with Torah study, opened a branch there. The city also has a regional engineering college, Nof HaGalil Technology College.[21]

Although Nof Hagalil have four Arabic-speaking private preschools, its municipality has refused to open any Arab schools, in order to discourage continued Arab immigration to the city.[22]


Nof HaGalil municipality cares for maintaining the city's green grounds and the forestry of the city. Located by the city is Churchill Forest (the money for which has been donated by the Jewish community of the United Kingdom in memory of Sir Winston Churchill). The forest, which lies on the downslope between Nazareth and Jezreel Valley, provides observation spots on the valley view.


Hapoel Nof HaGalil is the city's major football club. 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.[citation needed] The city's other football club, 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 did not meet Israeli Premier League. During 2013–14 the stadium also hosted Hapoel Afula matches.

The city's basketball team, Hapoel Nof HaGalil, plays in the IBA fourth tier, Liga Alef.

The city's table tennis team, Hapoel Nof HaGalil, 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[edit]

Nof HaGalil is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]

Aya Korem


  1. ^ a b c d "Regional Statistics". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^, p. 3.
  3. ^ a b A City with Character, Jerusalem Post
  4. ^ a b Emmett, C.F. (2012). Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth. University of Chicago Geography Research Papers. University of Chicago Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-226-92249-2. Retrieved 2022-05-15. There are no churches or mosques in Upper Nazareth and there are no schools (other than a neighborhood kindergarten) in which Arabic is the major language
  5. ^ a b "High above Nazareth, an Israeli mayor wants to keep his city Jewish 'now and forever'". Washington Post. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  6. ^ a b Kraus, V.; Yonay, Y.P. (2018). Facing Barriers: Palestinian Women in a Jewish-Dominated Labor Market. Cambridge University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-108-24560-9. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  7. ^ Ben-Arie, Ronnen (June 2020). Kedourie, Helen; Kelly, Saul (eds.). "The establishment of Natzrat Illit: Setting the foundations for the Israeli settlements project". Middle Eastern Studies. 56 (6). Taylor & Francis: 914–924. doi:10.1080/00263206.2020.1768076. eISSN 1743-7881. ISSN 0026-3206. LCCN 65009869. OCLC 875122033. S2CID 225678097.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Forman, p349.
  10. ^ Forman, p350.
  11. ^ Forman, p351.
  12. ^ "What's in a name? The background to the Nof Hagalil name-change". The Jerusalem Post |
  13. ^ Moskowitz, Israel (March 11, 2019). "Nazareth Illit changes name to differentiate from biblical Nazareth". Ynetnews. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  14. ^ A change of scenery in Nof HaGalil
  15. ^ "Oops, Something is wrong" (PDF).
  16. ^ Our Canadian friend, The Jerusalem Post
  17. ^ "A visit to the Bnei Menashe in Nof Hagalil". 2 March 2022.
  18. ^ "Israel Welcomes Thousands of Members of Lost Tribe of Israel" – via
  19. ^ Local Employment
  20. ^ "The grand opening of the Atzmon Ecological Greenhouse". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.
  21. ^ "Education".
  22. ^ This Israeli City Has 25% Arab Residents, but Won't Open a School for Them, Haaretz

External links[edit]