The Southern Haifa district stretches from the southern slopes of Haifa to the Tulkarm-Netanya-Beit Lydd road. Let’s start in the centre, at Zichron Ya’akov: the conservation of the town is the flagship of the local council and The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, and signs of conservation can be seen all over town. The historic buildings along the main street were preserved and transformed into music rooms, restaurants, B&B guesthouses and a tourist centre teeming with life. The local council administered the plans for the town, led by the architect Gubi Kertesz, making sure to preserve its special ambience.
Noteworthy, too, is the Israel Government Tourist Corporation’s vital contribution to the planning and funding of the undertaking. In the north: the Atlit Illegal Immigrants Detention Camp (Mahane Hama’apilim) – this compound was one of the The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel's first projects, and the site was declared a national site. The immigrants’ huts, the fence and the disinfection building were rehabilitated, and a computerized information centre about illegal immigration set up.
In the south: the old Ein Shemer courtyard – four dunams surrounded by a stone wall, with a towering stone house and stone gateway. The site portrays the national revival from 1917. Here, for the first time, we involved visitors directly in the way life was lived here, by means of activities such as baking bread, producing olive at a reconstructed olive press and a ride on the train.
In between the two lie the glass factory at Nahsholim, the Khan Museum in Hadera, Ein Hod, Binyamina with its various sites, Giv’at Ada, the main street of Shfeya, sites in Emek Hefer, and Beit Habe’er in Netanya.
Further on, the conservation of the Heftziba Farm by the Israel Electric Corporation and the The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, the Palmah Cave in Mishmar Ha’emek, work in progress at Lange Court in Zichron Ya’akov, the Atlit salt factory, water towers, Beit Feinberg in Hadera and Beit Olga Henkin in Binyamin Bay.
And there are rumours about the Ma’apilim boat…meaning, of course, the Museum of the Ma’apilim Boat, which is proudly on display at the Atlit Illegal Immigrants (Ma’apilim) Detention Camp, representing the journey of the illegal immigrants to Israel.
There are achievements, but we also face problems, the first of which is the old-time settlement of Bat Shlomo, a charming site with a single street, as yet untouched by the frenzied wave of construction. You can find everything there: from 100-year-old feuds to struggles between lawyers. We won’t give up; we will rehabilitate the street and bring renewed life and livelihood to the residents.
In Hadera, many sites have not been protected, but we will rehabilitate the few remaining sites and restore to the city some small measure of the conservation it might have enjoyed.
We have described above some of our activities in the district. Every house and every site has a story to tell, without which we as a people cannot progress into the future.
Director, Southern Haifa and the Coastal Plain District