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Kfar Yona (Hebrew: כְּפַר יוֹנָה) is a town (local council) in the Sharon Subdistrict in the Center District of Israel. It is about 7 km east of the Mediterranean sea shore city of Netanya, and about 15 km west of the border with Palestinian Authority-held Tulkarm. Surrounding it are many other small towns, kibutzes and villages. Its population in 2006 was 14,100, and its jurisdiction - 11,017 dunams (~11 km²).
History and etymology
Kfar Yona (meaning Yona's village) is named after Jean (Yona) Fischer, a Belgian Zionist. It was founded on Tu Bishvat, January 23, 1932 by Morris Fischer, Yona's son, a member of the World Jewish Congress, and was originally named Gan Yona ("Yona's Garden").
Yona and his best friend were in Europe during the time that nationalism was gaining political movement, for all ethnicities. They decided to fundraise and found a settlement in the Holy Land, to promote Zionism. This endeavor took a number of years, and they included Morris when he was old enough. Because Yona died just a few years short of seeing fruition of the dream, Morris and his father's friend decided to name the settlement after Yona.
Yona is Hebrew for dove (besides being the Hebrew form of Jonah), so while the town searches for new symbols, especially among school-age children in its quest to build up community feelings from a young age, the dove is a frequently used symbol.
In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Kfar Yona was on the front lines, and its defenders faced the Iraqi Army, which sought to reach Netanya and cut the Jewish forces in Israel in half. The new Israel Defense Forces repelled the Iraqi attacks and forced them back into the Samarian mountains, although Kfar Yona remained the easternmost Jewish settlement in the area. As a result of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, the border moved from Kfar Yona 6 km eastrward, to just west of Tulkarm.
When founded, Kfar Yona was surrounded by orchards, and its main income was from selling oranges. Until this very day, its symbol is an orange tree standing on a field. In recent years, due to the rapid growing of the town (now populated by roughly 14,000 people), most of these orchards were replaced by new neighborhoods of low apartment buildings and private houses.
Next to Kfar Yona is the Area 21 military base, named for Mota Gur, which includes paratroopers, Nahal, military police, and other small bases. In addition, Kfar Yona borders Pardesiya and the Lev HaSharon Regional Council.
Kfar Yona Alef
The original ten homes and the first community building. The homes are small, one-story, private structures, with an average of three rooms each. The community building stands today empty and is falling into ruin, though the town council is interested in maintaining it for its sentimental and historical value. Alef also includes a new neighborhood accessed from the western entrance to the village, with recently built family homes and more under construction. The main avenue of this section of Alef is a street where residents of the village can be found walking or jogging at any hour. For the past year, the west entrance has had a gate and guard that operates from 11pm to 6am. The whole village is policed by a volunteer guard force, supervised by a small professional security team, for which the town residents pay a small municipal tax.
Kfar Yona Bet
Cheaper apartment buildings, which are the first site of the village for visitors who enter from the eastern entrance. (Both entrances are on Highway 57, the eastern entrance is about 2km further down the road than the western entrance, when driving from Highway 2, Israel's main Coastal Road). The east entrance is completely shut and locked from 11pm to 6am. Bet also includes the New Project, which are lower apartment buildings, with bigger homes. The New Project on Menachem Begin Street faces the City Council building, the Community Center (funded by Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver sister-city fundraising activities), the community basketball courts and water park (also a gift from Vancouver), and the Hadar Elementary School (Grades 1-6). Beyond the New Project, Bet includes more expensive townhouses and private homes. It also includes the Betzali Park.
Between Alef and Bet is a small shopping center. This mall offers a pharmacy, a supermarket, a few clothing stores, two shoe stores, two beauty salons and the only hardware store in the village. There is a bank and an ATM, which offers Hebrew, English, and Russian service. A few snack bars are available, among them a pizza bar, which often holds children pizza parties. On Friday mornings, the mall houses independent vendors: spices, flowers, cakes, and cooked meals.
Down Menachem Begin Street, after the New Project, is the neighborhood known as Heftziba. This is not the official name of the neighborhood (which is actually a few neighborhoods together); it is called this because when first built, there was a sign for the Heftziba company which stood there for a long time and from which the entire neighborhood came to be known. Originally planned to be mainly for career army officers and their families, its bad planning has lowered its selling value and the contractors are ready to sell to anyone. However, rent in this neighborhood is very high, as lately the newer development of the area has given a push to investors and younger families from more established towns to settle here, due to the lower, more attractive and affordable prices. In the middle of Hefziba neighborhood is a lovely hill, managed by the city, with a grass lawn and well maintained park, offering play areas for children. On top of this hill is an old Arabic-style home of an Arab who lived in the area from which Kfar Yona was bought and founded had 5 villas and orchards. When he gave permission for the original settlement to be built, he fell in love with and married a Jewish woman. This house on the hill is the only one left standing. It is falling into ruin, though the city is hoping an investor will take it over, perhaps to build a cafe or some other business. It's a beautiful building, with some of the original mosaics left, but the city doesn't have the funds to refurbish it without a purpose.
Across Highway 57 is the new neighborhood of Alonim, also known as Kfar Yona Gimel. This neighborhood includes single-family homes, wide streets, and several parks. This pleasant neighborhood includes few commercial establishments. There is a pony ranch outside of Alonim, which offers several ponies and horses for corral rides, plus organized parties, and a bar for adults.
Nowadays this relatively small village serves as a community center for smaller neighboring villages as well. The community center includes the music conservatory, which is becoming a cultural home for many different types of music. This month, there was a 3-hour concert in honor of 250 years since Mozart's birth, in which several artists performed, including two pianists from abroad and the Ashdod Chamber Orchestra. The conservatory concerts have also included: Big Band, Spanish guitar, children composers, and full operas.
Kfar Yona is also building up its sports. In 2006, 250 grade-school students participated in the basketball program. The older student's league has won championships. Kfar Yona also offers programs in soccer, dance, and many other sports. The community center holds classes in tens of other subjects: photography, ceramics, pottery, cooking, and so on.
Kfar Yona schools: Hadar, Amal, Bar Ilan for grade school; and a new Junior High. High school students at this time must travel to Rupin, Netanya, or one of the other many schools in the area. Kfar Yona children who pass entrance tests attend after-school class in science, technology, maths, music, and so on, in the surrounding towns.
Health and services
Kfar Yona has two or three health offices, a few dentists, a few alternative health professionals. It is close to the Netanya train station, and to the fire station. Besides the volunteer security force, it has a mostly-defunct police station, though it is not far from the Netanya police station.
Kfar Yona residents gather their mail from post office box centers. A post office box is assigned to each family by the main post office. The post boxes have replaced home delivery which was available until the early 1990's.
Ethnicity of the residents includes a majority of native-born Jewish Israelis. Others are of Russian, Anglo-Saxon (American, British, etc), French, Argentinian, Kurdish, Tripolitan, Yemenite, Persian, and Ethiopian ethnicity.
- ↑ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2007-12-31. http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2009/table3.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- ↑ "Local Authorities in Israel 2005, Publication #1295 - Municipality Profiles - Kfar Yona". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/local_authorities2005/pdf/491_0168.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-14. (Hebrew)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Vilnai, Ze'ev (1976). "Kfar Yona". Ariel Encyclopedia. Volume 4. Israel: Am Oved. p. 3756. (Hebrew)
- Official website (Hebrew)