Photoblogging Haifa- Jewel of Israel

Today our blogger delegation visited beautiful Haifa, the jewel of Israel on the Mediterranean.

We were met by City Councilman “Sol” who showed us around this spectacular city. We also met the Haifa Chief of Staff and city staff members.

Our meeting was at the Dan Carmel Hotel near the top of Mount Carmel. This is the place where Elijah hid in a cave and where the Carmelite Order of nuns was established in 1156.

This is also the city that just last year was under attack by rockets fired by Hezbollah during the 33 Day War. Haifa, with a population of approximately 250,000, is a mixed city of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druze who live in coexistence. But, this did not stop the Hezbollah terrorists from firing 200 rockets at the city during the war in 2006. 14 people were killed in the attacks- the last fatality passed away recently. 8 were killed at a railroad station. 2 other Muslims from Haifa were killed by a rocket fired into the Arab neighborhood.

Jewish virtual library has more on this beautiful city:

Although it does not appear in the Bible, Haifa is mentioned in Talmudic literature as a well-established Jewish community. Across from the National Maritime Museum on Allenby Road are steps to Elijah’s Cave. According to a Byzantine tradition, this is where Elijah the Prophet hid to escape the wrath of King Ahab. The site is revered by Christians and Muslims, as well as Jews. The first Sunday after Tisha B’Av, Oriental Jews recite Isaiah 40 and ask the prophet to bless their children, cure their illnesses and better their lives.

Relics found within the city limits date from the Stone Age to the Ottoman period. During the Middle Ages, the Jewish settlement in Haifa grew into a shipping center. In 1099, the city was conquered by the Crusaders, who slaughtered all the Jewish inhabitants. The Carmelite Order was established in 1156 over Elijah’s Cave. In 1265, Haifa fell to the Mamlukes, and in 1750 was captured by the Bedouin, Dahar al-Omar, who destroyed, then rebuilt and fortified it. From 1775 until World War I, Haifa was under Turkish control with two interruptions — in 1799, it was conquered by Napoleon and, from 1831-1840, it was under Egyptian rule. In the case of Napoleon, when he retreated from Palestine, he left his wounded soldiers at the Carmelites’ hospital at Stella Maris. As soon as the emperor was gone, the local Muslims murdered the Frenchmen he’d left behind.

Early in the 19th century, Jews from North Africa settled in Haifa. In 1868, German Templars established Haifa’s German Colony and in 1879 European Jews settled in the city.

In 1918, Haifa was taken from the Turks by the British. During the Mandate period, it was the scene of many dramatic confrontations between the British who sought to keep Jews from entering Palestine and the clandestine efforts of the Haganah to smuggle in immigrants and the survivors of the Holocaust. One of the ships used to run the British blockade, an old American tank-landing craft called the Af-Al-Pi-Chen is in the Clandestine Immigration and Maritime Museum.

The gold-domed Shrine of the Bab in Haifa.

A closer look at the spectacular gardens at the Shrine of Bab in Haifa.

This Arab Jewish Center located in an Arab neighborhood welcomes everyone including Arabs, Jews and Christians.

Haifa is the home of a major Israeli port.

In Israel the saying goes, “You pray in Jerusalem, you play in Tel Aviv and you live in Haifa.”
I can understand why- Haifa is a spectacular city.

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