NAHARIYYAH (Heb. נַהֲרִיָּה), city in N. Israel, 6 mi. (10 km.) N. of Acre. Nahariyyah was founded in 1934 as a village (moshavah) by a group of middle-class immigrants from Germany. Their company, headed by the engineer Yosef Levi, bought the land, and thus gained the first Jewish foothold in the Acre Plain and Western Galilee. The settlers encountered difficulties in changing over to farming from their previous occupations in commerce and the professions. They also found themselves in an endangered and isolated position when the 1936–39 Arab riots broke out. By then beginnings were made to turn Nahariyyah into a seaside resort, in addition to developing agriculture. The population, with about 1,000 in 1941, increased to 1,400 in 1945 when manufacturing, particularly in the food branch, first began. In the years just prior to statehood, Nahariyyah served as a landing place for "illegal" immigrant ships. In the War of Independence (1948), Nahariyyah, together with ten other Jewish settlements in Western Galilee founded in the preceding decade, was completely cut off by Arab Acre, and only intermittently were communications with Haifa maintained by means of small motor boats going to Haifa. With the capture of Acre by Israel forces, Nahariyyah was able to resume contact with the rest of the country and was included in the State of Israel. Numerous immigrants from various countries, mainly from Romania, North Africa, and Iraq settled there. The population grew from 9,200 in 1953 to 20,700 in 1968, 37,100 in the mid-1990s, and 47,400 in 2002, occupying a municipal area of about 4 sq. mi. (10 sq. km.). The city's economy was based on tourism and recreation, industry, farming, trade, and services. In 1968 the city had over 30 hotels and pensions with a total capacity for 1,400 tourists. On the bathing beach a breakwater was built creating two bays, for swimming and for sailboats. There were also swimming pools. Farming was mostly for specialized export crops (strawberries, avocados, flowers). Local industry included textiles, asbestos cement, metal instruments, electrical appliances, fine mechanics, paper products, agricultural machinery, etc. A new industrial zone for large enterprises was added in the north to supplement the older industrial zone near the railroad station. The commercial center was laid out along the central avenue on both sides of the Ga'aton Stream. The hotel zone stretched mainly along the beach and the city had 21 public parks and ornamental gardens. At the turn of the 20th century, residents earned their living in industry (45%), services (40%), tourism (11%), and agriculture (4%). The city's name is derived from nahar ("stream"), referring to the Ga'aton Stream which passes through part of the city.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]