Attack on Haifa

Haifa is the main city of northern Israel and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of about 267,800. It and areas and towns around it are deemed to be in the Haifa District. It is a seaport, located below and on Mount Carmel, and lies on the Mediterranean coast.

The city's sole official romanization Haifa and the common English pronunciation /ˈhaɪ.fə/ are based on the Arabic name Ḥayfā, whilst the unused Standard Hebrew name is Ḥefa, and the local Hebrew pronunciation is typically /xei.ˈfa/.

The origin of the name Haifa is not clear. Some tie it to the Hebrew word חוף (hof, meaning "beach"), or חוף יפה (hof yafe, meaning "Beautiful beach"), or maybe the Hebrew verb root חפה (hafo, meaning "to cover or hide"). Christian pilgrims of the Middle Ages (and later the Crusaders) called the town Caiphas or Caifa. The Christians believe the name derives from Caiaphas, the High Priest of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, or from the Aramaic name of Saint Peter, Kepah (כפא). Additionally, the name Sycaminon or Sykaminos, meaning "wild strawberry", is also used.

Haifa is first mentioned in Talmudic literature around the 3rd century CE, as a small town near Shikmona, the main Jewish town in the area at that time. The Byzantine ruled there until the 7th century, when the city was conquered — first by the Persians, then by the Arabs. In 1100, it was conquered again by the crusaders, after a fierce battle with its Jewish inhabitants. Under crusader rule, the city was a part of the Principality of Galilee until the Muslim Mameluks attacked in 1265, leaving the city ruined and mostly abandoned until the 17th century.

In 1761 Daher El-Omar, Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, destroyed and rebuilt the town in a new location, surrounding it with a thin wall. This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After El-Omar's death in 1775, the town remained under Ottoman rule until 1918, except for two brief periods: in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Haifa as part of his brief and failed campaign to conquer Palestine and Syria, but withdrew the same year; and between 1831 and 1840, the Egyptian viceroy Mehemet Ali governed, after his son Ibrahim Pasha wrested control from the Ottomans.

Haifa was a primary initial target of Hezbollah rockets fired from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon crisis. On July 13, 2006 IDF sources reported that two rockets were fired. One shock injury has been reported. Three days later, on July 16, 2006, Hezbollah militants hit the city with several barrages of Katyusha rockets that killed eight Israelis in a train depot. July 17 saw further attacks upon Haifa as it withstood another withering assault from rockets.

It is noted by Jews for the Cave of Elijah and the historic Jewish town of Shikmona at the foot of Mount Carmel. On the top of the mountain is the Muchraka, the place where Elijah burned the emissaries of Baal. There is a Carmelite monastery there.

Haifa is also cherished by the Christian, Muslim, and Bahá'í faith. The Bahá'í World Centre (comprising the Shrine of the Báb, terraced gardens and administrative buildings on the Carmel's northern slope; is an important site of worship and administration for the members of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as providing the city with the most visited tourist attraction. Haifa was also a favourite monastic spot for the Carmelites in the 12th century; a 19th century monastery, Stella Maris, was rebuilt at Carmel's head. It is now a popular tourist and pilgrim's attraction.

Haifa is the site of two universities, the University of Haifa and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

In the past, Haifa's docks and industrial areas have made the city a consistent stronghold for the Israeli Labor party; these Socialist tendencies led to the nickname 'Red Haifa'. One ramification of this history is that Haifa is the only major city in Israel in which public transport operates on Shabbat.

Since then, Haifa's Labor-leanings have tipped in favor of centrist ideologies. In the 2006 legislative elections, the Kadima party received about 28.9% of the votes in Haifa, while Labor lagged behind with 16.9%.

The industrial region of Haifa is north of the city, near the Wadi Kishon. Haifa is home to one of the two oil refineries in Israel (the other located in Ashdod). The refinery in Haifa is capable of processing about 9 million tons (66 million barrels) of crude oil a year and is the center of a wide array of petrochemical industries located in and around Haifa. Its twin 76-meter cooling towers, built in the 1930s, have long symbolized the city of Haifa.

Matam (Mirkaz Ta'asiya v'Meida/Scientific Industries Center), the largest and oldest business park in Israel, is located at the southern entrance to the city, hosting manufacturing and R&D facilities for a large number of Israeli and international hi-tech companies, such as Intel, Elbit, Zoran, Microsoft, Philips and Amdocs. IBM has an office on top of Carmel at Haifa University.

The Port of Haifa has the most passenger traffic of Israeli ports. It is also a major cargo harbor.

For international travel, Haifa Airport, located on the Gulf of Haifa, serves flights to Eilat and Cyprus. Port of Haifa, which is Israel's main international passengers seaport, is located in the city as well.

For intercity transport, there are six Israel Railways railroad stations and three "central" bus stations. The Nahariya-Tel Aviv main line railway runs along the Gulf of Haifa; stations within the municipal boundaries of Haifa, from the direction Tel Aviv, are:

* Hof HaCarmel near Haifa Hof HaCarmel Central Bus Station
* Bat Galim near Haifa Bat Galim Central Bus Station
* Haifa Central near Haifa Seaport
* Lev Hamifratz near Lev Hamifratz Mall and Mifratz Central Bus Station
* Hutzot HaMifratz in the Hutzot HaMifratz Shopping Center
* Qiryat Haim

A seventh stop is in nearby Kiryat Motzkin, a Northern suburb. Haifa Mizrach (Haifa East), now out of passenger use, houses the Railway Museum.

The bus stations, again from Tel Aviv northwards, are: Hof HaCarmel, Bat Galim, and Mifratz. All of these stations are served by Egged city, suburban, and intercity buses.

Other intracity transport options include a funicular subway and a cablecar. The Carmelit subway runs from Kikar Paris downtown to Gan HaEm (Mother's Park) at the top of Mount Carmel. With a single track, six stations and two trains, it is among the smallest subway systems in the world. The cablecar connects Bat Galim on the coast to the Stella Maris monastery atop Carmel; it is chiefly a tourist attraction.

Maccabi Haifa is one of the most successful football clubs today in Israel, with 9 championships, 5 cups and 2 league-cups (as of 2005). Both Hapoel and Maccabi have football schools in Haifa suburbs and other villages (including Arab and Druze villages) in the northern part of Israel. Haifa also has basketball, volleyball, tennis, and handball clubs.

The city boasts some of the best surfing beaches in the country near Bat Galim, with kite surfing and sailing clubs. The tennis club located nearby the south-west entrance is one of the largest in Israel.

The main stadiums are Kiryat Eliezer, seating 14,000, and Kiryat Haim Stadium. The main basketball arena is Romema Sports Arena, seating 2,000; Neve Sha'anan Athletic seats 1,000. A UEFA-approved stadium is planned for south-west Haifa. It will seat 30,000 people.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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