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MISSION: COMMUNITIES

MISSION: COMMUNITIES

Evolving Hadar neighborhood became a destination for new immigrants and boasts the most colorful population in the city

When talking about a melting pot, one usually refers to a large group of heterogeneous people who after a while become a homogenous, unified group. In this respect, with the wide variety of populations living there, Hadar is not a melting pot: the different and diverse groups that compose the neighborhood maintain their uniqueness, despite and because of the constant interaction between them.

Yaacov Broder, Director of Hadar Community Center for the municipality, expands: "There are many new immigrants in the neighborhood, which has become a destination for new olim. Currently there are 55 new residents who came from English-speaking countries and 18 more who arrived a year ago, after eighteen years without Dror Habonim aliyah from Spanish-speaking countries, who chose Hadar as their destination. Today there is an amazing scene of young people here.

"One of the unique phenomena are the Urban Kibbutzim, where all the money goes into a common pot and the members conduct kibbutz life in the city. The biggest urban kibbutz in Israel is located in Hadar; all its members are graduates of the Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, a group of one hundred members—the oldest of which are 37—and 30 children. It started in February 2006, with 13 people. We also have a Hamahanot Haolim kibbutz, two smaller ones of Hashomer Hatzair, a large group of graduates of the students' village who remained here, fifty graduates of the Rabin preparatory program, etc.

"In General, Hadar became a very young neighborhood, mostly in its southern part. Currently we are working on reviving Hadar's northern part. The market area is teeming with new restaurants, a brewery, shops, and new blood. Hadar is quarter of forty-thousand inhabitants, and we want to turn it into a recreation area, to attract people to live here. Our vision is that it will be an attractive neighborhood for young families. And it will happen.

"Our contact is firstly with the residents, new and senior ones, but we are also in touch with all kinds of funds abroad, that help us in many activities. In the beginning, we were those who made sure the people would come here. For example, the first group founded here was the Dror Israel urban kibbutz. When I started working here six guys approached me to say they want to establish an urban kibbutz; they explained to me what it was, I really liked the idea, and said let's do it. I got them a small donation from abroad, to help them along, we hired a whole floor for them, the owner arranged the place, and by now, they have formed another kibbutz in western Haifa.

"In 2006, after the war, we established a students' village in collaboration with Haifa University; by now, the Technion and WIZO joined it. After that, a Nahal Kippot Srugot unit arrived here; all sorts of groups who heard something was going on came and stayed; we have established a group of graduate academics who live here and work for the neighborhood's betterment. Today we have the largest collection in Israel of organized communities, the so-called Mission Communities. We provide the model for how to make a change in a neighborhood with such mission communities.

"The most beautiful part of the story is that all those teams collaborate with each other. All are ideologically driven, but they sit and study together; they may not agree, but they continue to be friends and support each other. Tolerance is the main characteristic of this neighborhood. In fact, this year we received the President's Unity Award. I think we are the only ones who have received the award without it being their original intention: we deal supposedly with urban renewal, not with coalescing population groups.

"Hadar has a very active neighborhood council. In fact, this is the only neighborhood that conducts regular meetings with the Mayor every four months. The council has Arab members, new immigrants, secular and religious people, and young community members who initiating the establishment of the council, who all sit together and represent the interests of all various sectors. I wish we could export what we have here to the whole country, this incredible mutual responsibility."