«Jewish Observer»
June 2002
5762 Sivan

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At times they joke in Israel, "Jerusalem prays, Tel-Aviv entertains whereas Haifa works". Like any joke, this one is only partly a joke. The rest is absolutely true. Haifa is the biggest Israeli port, a very important industrial, trading, cultural and educational center of the country. Today it is third in size city of Israel - over 250, 000 inhabitants. Among other things, Haifa is known for its municipal theatre, symphonic orchestra and abundance of museums.

Haifa's history began in the Roman epoque. After one of the versions, the city's names goes back to the words "hof yafe" - "nice coast". There was a large Jewish settlement here already in early A. D., and in the XI century - a Mediterranean port. In the XX century, in the years preceding creation of the State of Israel the port of Haifa became a coveted goal for breaking through a blockade ships with hundreds of illegal repatriates aboard - future citizens of a future country...

All seaside towns are said to resemble one another in a way. They are, probably, alike not only in scenery - in openness to the world, particular inner freedom, brightness of faces and characters. There is, consequently, nothing surprising Haifa and Odessa are twin cities. Ten years of their friendship were marked by a short but solemn ceremony held in Odessa historical museum. The event was organized by the Israeli informational cultural center in Odessa. Shmuel Katsev, a Center director, is convinced: "Kinship ties" between Odessa and Haifa can "work" for the sake of both cities and bring about visible results rather soon. Specialists talk about multitude of directions for cooperation to be useful for both Ukrainian and Israeli sides. Projects in the sphere of tourism and health protection, education and culture are already under way. "Beside humanitarian contracts, exchanges of delegations we also work on commercial contacts, - says Shmuel Katsev. - We already have a sea-line Odessa - Haifa. There is a huge amount of Odessa residents who live in Haifa, there is a huge amount of guests who arrive in Odessa. This is only one of our new projects we jointly develop with the Odessa city administration, hotel "Kempinsky", air company "Aerosvit", touristic company "Londonskaya". I hope in the nearest future there will become more such concrete projects of cooperation between our cities.


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