Afula

It is the roasted sunflower seed capital of Israel.

Afula is a small city located in the Jezreel valley in northern Israel. Several Arab villages stood on the spot: al-Affulah was built by Saladdin, it later became called al-Fulah. This village disappeared around the turn of the century.

In 1904 a train station was established for the “Rakevet Ha’emek” railway-line (the nowadays out of service old line from Haifa to Damascus, that was laid in 1905 as a supply route for equipment to build the Hijaz Railway). In 1913 Afula became an important railroad junction. The city was founded on 31 March, 1925 as “Yizrael City” near the “ValleyTrain”. The first Jewish settlers in Afula were new immigrants from Lithuania and Poland.

With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, masses of immigrants arrived and were housed in temporary dwellings (called “maabarot” in Hebrew) in the proper Afula and in Afula Elite, whose foundations were laid at around the same time.

In 1972 Afula was granted town status, and since then it has been developing constantly. In the more recent waves of immigration in the 1990’s, Afula absorbed thousands of immigrants from Ethiopia and the Former Soviet Union.

The town’s population is concentrated in three principal neighborhoods: Afula Elite, Givat Hamoreh, both of which are 250-450 meters above sea level and cut off from the proper Afula, which is the third main neighborhood, lying at 45 meters above sea level. The vision of the town’s founders was to establish a town in the heart of the Jezreel Valley, to serve as an anchor and an urban center for its rural, agricultural settlements and their citizens. Now it’s a municipality of about 150.000 people.