Acre (Akko) is a sleepy northern city with a unique sense of ancient history combined with the sophistication of modern amenities. The town places an emphasis on the arts, and festivals of every kind are held throughout the year. Acco is reinventing itself as it moves forward into the 21st. century, and the welcoming and encouraging of Anglo olim is part of that vision. The city is an approved enterprise zone A, which means that among other benefits, residents receive a 13% income tax discount.
Most of Acco’s residents work within the city itself. There are numerous factories and industries housed in the city, including Refael and Tambor. Many residents also choose to work in Haifa, a short commute away.
Accessibility to Employment
The city offers a wide variety of employment opportunties as well as frequent bus and train transportation to such cities as Haifa, Nahariya, Karmiel and Tel Aviv as well as to area office parks.
Education / Youth
Although Acco has a mixed Jewish/Arab population, there are no schools with a mixed student body. The city is home to 15 schools, both religious and secular, including Shuvu, Noam, Beit Yaakov, and Amit. There are also free day-care centers, and Ganim (pre-schools) located within the city, which generally charge around 300 NIS a month. Acco is also home to a Yeshivat Hesder and a Michlala where students can earn a BA or BS. The city also boasts a center for education for adults aged 18-40, which hosts psychometric tests, higher education for soldiers, and programming for every possible discipline.
The city has an active chapter of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, as well as a “NoarLomed V’Oved” group which provides recreational and group programs. About ten percent of Acco’s youth also study music in the city’s conservatory.
Acco is also home to a Yeshivat Hesder and a Michlala where students can earn a BA or BS. The city also boasts a center for education for adults aged 18-40, which hosts psychometric tests, higher education for soldiers, and programming for every possible discipline. Acco is also the proud home of the Western Galilee College, which serve 4000 students from the ethnically and religiously diverse population of the entire Western Galilee.
It is possible to live in Acco without a car. There is a fixed price of NIS 12 for taxi rides anywhere within the city, and minibuses provide inter-city transportation to other locations. Maalot is a 25 minute drive away, and Haifa is a 30 minute drive, and a 25 minute train ride away. An underground train is currently under construction which will further connect Acco to Haifa.
The city is well adapted to absorbing Olim from around the world. There is an existing Ulpan for adults, as well as one for youth. Yishai Rubin is a member of the municipality and Garin Aliyah, who is responsible for assisting new Olim with absorption.
Amenities / Services
Acco is home to all the amenities and shopping opportunites one would expect to find in a mid-size city. The nearest hospital is ten minutes away in Nahariya, or 25mintues away (by train) in Haifa. It is also home to a hotel, five old-age homes, assisted living apartments, and a branch of the Ministry of Absorption. The city’s social services department is particularly strong. Additionally, there is a 5 dunamArchaeological Park, a music conservatory which hosts the city’s choir, a large and beautiful sports and tennis park, and a country club which charges each member family 5000 NIS per year. The city’s coastal location provides for lots of beaches, including those with separate hours for men and women. There is a brand newcommuntiy center being built which will overlook the sea, in addition to the city’s existing four Matnasim (community centers).
Community and Religious Life
Acco is home to a mixed community of both Jews and Arabs. In the center of the city, the population is seventy percent Arab and thirty percent Jewish. While the Jewish residents are primarily secular, there is a growing religious community, bolstered by the religious Garin that moved into the community around ten years ago. The Garin has around 75 families, who are spread out primarily in the Eastern area of the city. Joining the Garin means joining a group which is dedicated to giving to the community. The Garin runs communal events and activites, has its own library, clubs, chesed organizations, charity and food distribution programs, and is involved with several of the city’s schools. Acco is able to provide residents with a quality religious life. Every type of synagogue is and religious affiliation is represented. There is also a large community of secular singles. Many cultural festivals and events take place throughout the year. The Mizrach (east) neighborhood, where about 97 percent of residents are Jewish, has both religious and secular residents with a very mixed atmosphere, and along with the religiousGanuf Tzafon neighborhood, is most ideal for Anglo Olim.
The eastern part of town has a 97% Jewish population. Garuf Tzafon is a religious neighborhood on the eastern side.
Where Old Meets New
Akko’s history is manifested through its walls, narrow alleys and labyrinthine streets, fortresses and slender towers. Though it is one of the world’s most ancient cities, it is also a vibrant one, owning a colorful market, offering beautiful merchandise, authentic cuisines and spices. Akko, once a center of trade, is today a center for arts and culture that constantly reinvents itself, hosting festivals that attract thousands of visitors and tourists from around the world.