Developing The Lakewood of Israel’s South

Rabbi Aharon Asayag shlit”a at the Beit Halevi site

In response to the growing need for affordable housing among young haredi families who live by the ethos of ‘Torato Omanuto,’ a new initiative has been launched in Netivot. Kiryat Beit Halevi, a community of 10,000 housing units slated to be built over the next few years, surrounded by multiple Talmud Torahs, Kollelim, Yeshivas Hanegev, shopping centers, and playgrounds – approximately the size of the entirety of Kiryat Sefer (Modiin Ilit) today. This, in addition to another 10,000 units to be built in the city in the near future. These homes will be priced significantly lower than similar properties in established haredi communities like Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Beit Shemesh, with a starting price around $200,000 less. The goal is to make Netivot an appealing and practical option for families seeking to continue their Torah learning and living as their families grow.

The project’s driving force includes prominent Torah supporters from the United States. This initiative, with endorsements from leading rabbanim in Eretz Yisrael, led by Rabbi Aharon Asayag Shlit”a, aims to create a thriving Torah community in Netivot, having coordinated the city’s education, Torah, and chessed initiatives for the past 20 years. By providing affordable housing and a supportive environment, the initiative seeks to place Netivot on the map of haredi real estate, transforming it into the next Lakewood of the South.

Putting Netivot on the Haredi Housing Map

Map of Netivot. In red, the existing haredi community. In blue and green, areas under construction. In yellow, Yeshivas Hanegev

To encourage families to make the move, several strategies have been put in place. A partnership with generous donors from the U.S. has resulted in a $10 million fund, offering grants of $50,000 to each family that relocates. Additionally, agreements with contractors ensure that the project’s first 300 units are reserved exclusively for families recruited through this initiative. Furthermore, leading yeshivas such as Ponevezh and Tifrach have already committed to sending some of their avreichim to Netivot, with 25% of the project’s units already sold to alumni of these esteemed institutions.

Netivot was chosen after careful consideration of several factors. These included the availability of 3,000 new housing units within five years, the city’s proximity to major haredi centers like Bnei Brak and Jerusalem (just an hour’s drive), and its existing infrastructure to support a haredi community with diverse, existing employment opportunities. Netivot scored the highest in these areas, making it the ideal location for this ambitious project.

The short-term goal is to attract 300 quality families from prominent yeshivot to establish a strong initial community. Over the next four years, the project aims to settle 1,500 families in Netivot, firmly establishing it on the haredi housing map.

Modern Apartments Designed With the Haredi Family in Mind

Apartments in the Beit Halevi project. For illustrative purposes only

This effort to strengthen the Torah community in Netivot is a collaborative endeavor, guided and coordinated with community leaders like Rabbi Aryeh Levy, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, and Rabbi Shmuel Montag, the community’s spiritual leader. Their involvement ensures that the project stays true to the values and needs of the haredi community.

Rabbi Aharon Asayag shlit”a and Rabbi Yissachar Meir zt”l

As such, the apartments being built in Netivot as part of the Kiryat Beit Halevi project promise modern living and are designed to meet the needs of young haredi families. The apartments feature spacious layouts kitchens with upgraded cabinetry and a double sink, and sukkah balconies. Common areas include luxurious lobbies, and each apartment has a designated private parking space.

These specifications ensure that families moving to Netivot will enjoy a high standard of living, with all the conveniences needed for a comfortable and fulfilling Torah lifestyle.

A Growing Kehilla, Week After Week

There are many apartments to choose from within the Beit Halevi project

Since its founding by Rabbi Yissachar Meir zt”l, the Netivot haredi community has grown into a diverse and vibrant kehillah. Yet, until now, it has remained in the shadow of other peripheral cities where haredi communities have developed more recently. The parallel growth of the haredi community alongside the city as a whole is necessary to preserve the unique character of the kehillah, following the spiritual foundations laid by great rabbis like Rabbi Yissachar Meir zt”l, Rabbi Reuven Yosef Gershonowitz zt”l, and Rabbi Chaim Friedlander zt”l.

Netivot is experiencing unprecedented growth, poised to become a city of 100,000 residents. The city’s expansion will include the construction of 1,500 new housing units around the haredi community, an upcoming agreement to add another 12,000 units city-wide, and the inclusion of 3,000 units designated for haredi families. Hundreds of young haredi couples have already purchased homes, and more families join the Beit Halevi project every week. 

This accelerated development in Netivot presents a unique opportunity for new haredi families to join and live Torah lives comfortably and surrounded by a growing and invested community. Additionally, the city offers developed transportation channels, shopping areas, employment opportunities, and quality educational institutions, making it an ideal location for a life of Torah and bracha.

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