Although most of my clients enjoy the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem life, others prefer beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea, and the slower pace and charm of a coastal town. For many of these clients, Netanya is a good fit.
Netanya, which literally means “Given By G-d,” was established 85 years ago and named in honor of Nathan Straus, a merchant - who co-owned Macy’s and Abraham & Straus department stores - philanthropist and public servant. Straus had donated a majority of his personal fortune to Jewish causes in then-Palestine, and the hope was that by naming the city after him, Straus would bequeath additional funds to this new settlement. Alas, they came too late, as Straus had no more money to contribute. Nevertheless, the name Netanya remained in honor of this ardent supporter of the Jewish settlement.
Netanya’s famous waterfront is one of the longest coastlines in Israel with nine miles of beautiful beaches and promenades. The beaches have been a draw to paragliders, and Netanya has become the country’s hub of paragliding activity. The mix of strong offshore breezes and gentle cliffs provide the perfect setting for paragliding, and one often finds paragliders floating above the city’s beautiful beaches.
For many years, Netanya was a desirable seaside resort city. The city still has 20 hotels, but tourism has slowed down. The government has several significant development projects on the table, with the hope to lure back vacationers by turning its coastline into the “Israeli Riviera.”
With a population of almost 200,000 people, Netanya is located in Israel’s northern central district, less than 20 miles north of Tel Aviv and 35 miles south of Haifa. Under the leadership of its visionary mayor Miriam Feirberg, the city has created the infrastructure to accommodate a large influx of residents. Many new residential and commercial projects are in various stages of development, and Netanya is on track to expand to 350,000 residents by 2020. Much of the new construction is taking place in Kiryat Hasharon located on the city’s eastern end, based on its infrastructure of new schools, parks, sports centers, synagogues and roads, in addition to its easy access to the major national highways and the Netanya train station.
Netanya real estate is in strong demand as it is a relatively affordable housing alternative for Israelis who either work in greater Tel Aviv but cannot afford its expensive housing prices or prefer to live in a more suburban neighborhood. Over the years, many British, French, Russian and American families have moved into Netanya, yet the number of sabras greatly outweighs the immigrants, as over 60% of the city’s residents were born in Israel.
Netanya has an even mix of religious and secular residents, and the religious community is comprised of dati-leumi (national religious), Lubavitchers and Sanzer Chassidim, whose leader - the saintly Klausenberg Rebbe, Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam - founded the local Sanz Medical Center–Laniado Hospital in 1976.
Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home (www.myisraelhome.com), a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. To sign up for his monthly market updates, contact him at email@example.com.