Flathunting in Elad
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El’ad, also spelled Elad (Hebrew: אלעד), is a city in the Center District of Israel. Located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Tel Aviv on Route 444 between Rosh HaAyin and Shoham, it had a population of 46,896 in 2017. El’ad is the only locality in Israel officially designated a religious municipality. The name El’ad means “Forever God”, but it is also named after a member of the tribe of Ephraim, who lived in this area (1 Chronicles 7:21).
The building of El’ad started in the late 1990s, following a government decision in 1990 to build a series of settlements along the seam line with the West Bank under then-housing minister Ariel Sharon, and provide immediate housing for 50,000 residents. The town was built from scratch as a planned community according to urban planning paradigms not unlike Modi’in and nearby Shoham. While those towns were designed to suit a mixed population of non-religious and religious Jews, El’ad was originally planned to suit a mixed population of Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist Jews and ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews, offering a solution to the acute shortage of affordable housing for Haredi families. The majority of the population are Haredi Jews. Accordingly, El’ad is built in a way that suits their religious lifestyle, with a larger selection of housing options offering larger than average apartments to accommodate religious families, who tend to have more children than the average national population. Another characteristic is easy access and short walking distances to local education institutions to avoid the need for school transportation costs.