Why is Yokneam a great city to live in?
The Israeli city of Yokneam is situated at the intersection of the country’s major highways that connect all of Israel with both Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The Yokneam train station (only five minutes from the high tech parks) is located at the center of the train line between Haifa and the Jordanian border.
With a population of around 22,000, this city has an inspiring history. Since its founding in 1950, it has grown into a small city with an affordable, but high quality of life and into Israel’s largest technology center outside of the Tel Aviv area. The city’s overall strategy of protecting and nurturing green spaces has earned it the “Green City” award in 2009 and again in 2014. Yokneam boasts five major public parks and 80 playgrounds and is surrounded by forests and Israel’s largest biosphere.
Yokneam, as a small city, managed to use the tax benefits it received in a cost-efficient way to create a strong hub. Yokneam has transformed itself into an industrial hub with a high concentration of companies that develop technologies which require long term R&D, such as medical devices, semiconductors, and network infrastructure. Two major universities: Technion and University of Haifa and the Neve Ya’ar agricultural research institute are all within a 20 minute radius.
Photo by Jacobs, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Yokneam is a less urban alternative to the Tel Aviv area with lower real estate prices. The higher quality of life and lower costs of living attract many entrepreneurs with different interests than those moving to Tel Aviv. Due to the city not being a major urban area, Yokneam is almost 50% cheaper than living in London. This city is an ideal location for those looking for a strong economy, industrial prospects and talented workforce. Besides being a promising industrial and entrepreneurial hub, Yokneam is one of the greenest cities in Israel with 65% of the city’s area covered in parks, forests and streams.
The city is also surrounded by the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve of the Megiddo Regional Council, which is currently in the process of becoming recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.
Yokneam sits at the intersections of Highway 70 and Highway 6, which connect all of Israel with both Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. One of the main stations of the new railway line is in operation since 2016. The line extends from the Jordanian border to the port of Haifa and is located only 5 minutes from the Yokneam’s high-tech parks. In addition, Yokneam is 20–25 minutes from Haifa Airport and 12 minutes from the Ramat David airbase.
The bus service in Yokneam is provided by 3 bus companies. Superbus provides the local service in Yokneam and intercity service to Haifa and Afula. Superbus also runs night lines (including Friday nights) to Haifa, Kiryat Tivon and Ramat Ishai.
The Yokneam Illit Municipality encourages the use of bicycles in the city. It currently has 13 km of bicycle paths that connect to public parks and buildings.
Yokneam allocates 42% of its budget to education. With 75% of its students passing the national matriculation exams and a dropout rate of only 0.8%, Yokneam Illit was awarded the National Education Prize and the Regional Education Prize several times in recent years. Yokneam’s preschools and kindergartens are considered among the best in the country, with free education from the age of 3.
The Environmental Protection Ministry (Israel) awarded a number of Yokneam’s kindergartens and elementary schools the “green label” because of the way they integrated study of the environment into the local curriculum.
In addition to Yokneam’s proximity to Technion (23.8 km), University of Haifa (22 km), and Oranim Academic College (7.5 km), Yokneam has a branch of the Open University for bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Image by Oranim College - Oranim College, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25101160
Blending the freshness of the Mediterranean with the heat and spice of Middle Eastern cuisine, Israeli foods offer flavor combinations few countries in the world can come close to.
Israel is notorious for its delicious salatim, an array of fresh salads, pickled vegetables, and spreadable dips.
The world-renowned hummus is pretty much the national anthem of food in the Mideast.
Other dishes not to miss include Shakshouka, Falafel, Shawarma, Sabich, Baba Ganoush, and others.
Yokneam’s industrial parks are home to more than 100 high-tech companies with exports of over USD 6 billion annually. Companies specialize in a wide range of technologies, including semiconductors, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
In addition to technology-based industry, Yokneam has a number of production facilities, including Osem, which established a plant in Yokneam in 1974; and a boutique winery, Morad Winery, known for its special wines made from Pomegranates, Passion Fruit, Red Grapefruits, Coffee, Coconuts, Carub and many other fruits.
Despite its rural surroundings, Yokneam has an active cultural life with two active local theaters with performers from all over Israel, a biweekly series of meetings with artists and performers held at the public library, summer performances held in an outdoor amphitheater, a children’s museum of science and media, and even a local drama-therapy group that performs in Hebrew and Amharic. Just outside the city limits, the auditorium at Kibbutz Ein HaShofet regularly hosts dance companies.
Each year, thousands of Israelis participate in Yokneam’s annual walking event which began in 1991. The event takes place in the Spring, with a short route of 6 km and a longer route of 11 km through the hills and valleys that surround Yokneam.
Yokneam has two indoor Basketball Courts (Dahari Sports Center and Hapoel Sports Center), a Tennis Association, a new Country Club including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, an additional community swimming pool, and a Soccer field, which is run by the Hapoel sports association and is very active with the school age children. Local teams compete in leagues for Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Water Polo and Bicycle Racing.
The Yokneam-Megiddo Region has two baseball teams that represent their Sister Cities (the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals).
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