Ra'anana

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Ra'anana (Hebrew: רַעֲנָנָה‎‎, lit. "Fresh") is a city in the heart of the southern Sharon Plain of the Central District of Israel with a population of 82,450 (December 2009). Ra'anana is bordered by Kfar Sava on the east and Herzliya on the southwest. While the majority of its residents are native Israelis, a large part of the population are immigrants from English, French and Spanish speaking countries.

Ra'anana's high tech industrial park is home to many leading global companies and local start up companies. It has been named the city with the highest quality of life in Israel and the safest city in the Middle East.[1]

Contents

History

In 1912, the Company for Jewish Settlement in Israel formed the "Ahuza A – New York" group to purchase land in Palestine for agricultural settlement. The First World War delayed their plans but on April 2, 1922, two wagons left the corner of Lilienblum and Herzl Streets in Tel Aviv carrying 4 "Ahuza" members, 3 laborers and 2 armed watchmen. After a 5 hour journey, they unloaded their baggage at the place destined to become Ra'anana.

In its early days, the settlement was called "Ahuza A – New York." The Arabs of the region called it "Little America" as most of its residents were English speakers and came from New York. Later it was renamed "Ra'anania" and finally the founding settlers chose "Ra'anana" as its official name. By the War of Independence, it was a village of 3,000 residents.

By the late 1960s, it had a population of 85,000 spanning an area of 15,000 dunams. (1500 acres).[2] In the 1980s Ra'anana was declared a city.

Demography

Ra'anana has a large English-speaking population. The number of French immigrants is also on the rise.[3]

Religion

Though the majority of Ra'anana residents are secular, there is a sizable religious community, mainly consisting of Modern Orthodox Jews, many of whom are Western immigrants, in particular from the U.S., U.K., South Africa and France. There are a large number of synagogues around Ra'anana, in the east and center of the city and there is also a small Hasidic community of Clevelander Hasidim, led by the Clevelander Rebbe of Ra'anana, Rabbi Yitzchok Rosenbaum. The chief rabbi of the city is Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz.

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