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Israel’s principal port, situated where the mountains meet the sea. Metropolitan Haifa has a population of 475,000. The city extends over the foot, slopes, and crest of Mount Carmel. Greater Haifa also includes Haifa Bay between the Kishon and Naaman rivers, with its oil refineries and heavy industries, as well as a chain of suburbs and villages. The lower city, fringing the harbor, is the mercantile center. Hadar Hacarmel is the residential and shopping section, interspersed with parks and gardens. Mount Carmel with its splendid forests, terraces of Persian gardens, and white villas commands a matchless view of the city, the sea, and the broad sweep of the bay, with snow-capped Mount Hermon in the hazy distance.

Haifa is not mentioned in the Bible, and is referred to only casually in the Talmud as a fishing village. Herzl called it the “city of the future” when it was still a small town of twisted streets. Until recent times it was cast in the shade by its rival Acre.

Its first Jewish community consisted of Moroccan and Algerian Jews who settled there in 1833. Once, it was linked with Damascus by the Hedjaz railway, and later to Cairo. Haifa’s growth has been phenomenal, spurred by the construction of the deep sea harbor by the British mandatory government. When the British departed in 1948, the Jewish population took over the city, which has become the metropolis of northern Israel.

The city of Haifa has two institutions of higher learning, the Technion and the University of Haifa.

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