Győr and Jewry

Nof HaGalil – Győr’s twin city

An Israeli town with an Indian Synagogue

View of Galilee

According to Wikipedia (1), Nof HaGalil (Hebrew: נוֹף הַגָּלִיל‎, lit. View of Galilee; Arabic: نوف هچليل‎), formerly called Nazareth Illit is a city in the Northern District of Israel with a population of more than 40 000. Founded in 1957, it was planned as a Jewish town overlooking the Arab city of Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley. Its name was changed to “Nof HaGalil” in 2019.

View of the Jezreel Valley from Nof HaGalil (© 1)

The establishment of Nazareth Illit was initiated in the early 1950s. There were economic and security reasons for developing a town in this region.

A parcel of 1 200 dunams of land, about half formerly within the municipal boundaries of Nazareth, was allocated to developments for public purposes in 1954, relying on a law permitting such expropriations. Protests against 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, only 109 dunams were used for that purpose and planning for residential areas continued. The first dwellings were completed in September 1956 and residents moved in later that year.

Nof HaGalil City Hall (© 1)

In 2014, the ethnic and religious composition of the city population was 64.4% Jewish and other non-Arabic, the rest Arabic. In the 1990s, Nazareth Illit was the fastest developing city in the country as to its population. Newcomers included immigrants from the former Soviet Union and South America including young couples.

The city’s population has been dwindling ever since, due to its deteriorating commercial and industrial basis. Thus, a large portion of the younger population has left altering the city’s demographic structure.

The Strauss-Elite chocolate factory, the most important employer in the city with over 600 workers (© 1)

In 2010, the city had 12 elementary schools and two high schools, one for religious studies and another one for engineering.

Nof HaGalil municipality strives to maintain the city’s parks and the surrounding Churchill Forest donated by the UK Jewish community in memory of Winston Churchill.

View on Nof HaGalil (© 1)

Hapoel Nof HaGalil is the city’s major football club. Basketball and table tennis are also popular local sports.

Nof HaGalil is twinned with San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina; Leverkusen, Germany; Klagenfurt, Austria; Győr, Hungary; Chernivtsi, Ukraine; Saint-Étienne, France; Alba Iulia, Romania and Kikinda, Serbia.

Meeting in Győr

A delegation from Nof HaGalil visited Győr in September 2022. Mayor Ronen Plot met Győr Mayor Dr. Csaba András Dézsi. (2) The Israeli delegation spent three days in Győr. The two Mayors discussed the functioning of the Győr city administration, the strengthening and development of their relationship as well as the refugee situation.

Two Mayors meet (© 2)

“We have similar problems and the solutions may also be similar. The aim of the visit was to build and revitalise cultural, sporting and other links” – said Dr. Csaba András Dézsi.

The two delegations in Győr (© 2)

According to Mayor Plot “we can talk seriously about cooperation between the two cities and have agreed to prepare an operational plan for this purpose, that will include the intensification of exchanges in the area of sport and culture”.

The Israeli delegation met Tibor Villányi, President of the Győr Jewish Community.

View on Nof HaGalil (© 1)

Indian community in Nof HaGalil

In November this year, a new synagogue was inaugurated in Nof HaGalil, an Indian synagogue, as the Eliayahu-Hanavi shrine was built by a community of Jewish immigrants from the Bnei Menashe tribe in India. This community believes that its members are descendants from one of the ten lost Jewish tribes that were taken as slaves from the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrian Empire around 721 BC. However, it is highly likely that they are a group of tribes that adopted Judaism in the 1950s.

Indian Synagogue in Nof HaGalil (© 3)