Ashdod, Israel's fifth largest city, is a vibrant and dynamic city, with a meticulous urban planning, well-kept residential neighborhoods, modern public buildings and advanced infrastructures, which offers its residents and entrepreneurs a well-balances and updated master plan with a wide variety of industrial, commercial and recreational zones.
Since its establishment in 1956, Ashdod has a reputation of an immigrant absorbing city, which welcomed all immigrants with open arms and turned the variety of their social and cultural fabric into an asset. Thanks to this asset the city developed into a prominent art and culture center, home to a rich and diverse artistic creation that fosters innovation and originality along with preservation of folklore and tradition.
Ashdod became one of the most important economic centers in Israel and a local metropolis thanks to its location on an important crossroads, not far from leading urban centers such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva, as well as its port, a major economic and tourist artery, and its three industrial zones. The city offers it residents a wealth of economic opportunities. The numerous initiatives of the municipality and its institutions in fund raising, urban development and finding new sources of income, enable most of Ashdod residents to earn a living in the city and benefit from its first-rate municipal services.
Ashdod is evolving and renewing in all aspects of urban life: education, tourism, industry, accommodation, sports, art and culture.
The effective management of Ashdod municipality and its financial stability is reflected in the large number of awards the city receives each year from government offices and non-governmental organizations. For many years now that the municipality wins excellence awards for its financial and municipal management. You can also find in its medal display cabinet all possible awards from The Council for a Beautiful Israel, excellence awards for education ad sports, and awards for integration of city’s residents in prominent national and international projects. Ashdod Municipal Sports Authority won the Municipal Authority Prize of the Ministry of Culture and Sport in 2012, and lately the city was notified it won this year National Education Award.
Education – Looking to the Future
Ashdod coined the slogan, ‘From kindergarten to University’ and developed a unique model of educational continuum, allowing each and every student the tools and possibilities for self-realization and optimum preparedness for life’s challenges. All this comprehensive and complex local education system is based on Mayor’s four guiding principles: achievements, excellence, values and equality. Ashdod endorse some of the most innovative ideas in education, such as: ICT and distance learning, reducing the number of students per classroom, music education for all students, scientific kindergarten, chess studies as part of the curriculum, promoting youth, open registration areas, specialization at secondary schools and more. As part of Ashdod’s educational vision and in order to answer the residents’ needs, an extensive project of new academic campus was launched in 2010. The project was already praised for its environmental integration and for its thoughtful planning, allowing graduated, multilevel construction. Mayor’s policy to encourage higher education enables each young man and woman in Ashdod to benefit from scholarships and university loans with attractive interest rates and repayment periods.
Art, Culture and the City
Alongside a wide range of community cultural projects, Ashdod houses leading dance companies and orchestras which enrich residents' cultural life and represent the city in Israel and abroad. More than 40 cultural institutions operate in the city and give an artistic and cultural expression to a variety of tastes and artistic styles.
One of the most impressive projects that were recently completed is the Performing Arts Center, with its wavy, shell-like structure, which reminds the visitor its proximity to the sea. The building, a shining example of modern functional architecture, can accommodated comfortably and intimately more than 900 people, and is equipped with innovative and unique technical, lighting and stage facilities, first of their kind in Israel.
In addition, a new amphitheater, the largest in Israel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, was inaugurated not far from the coast. The amphitheater will greatly contribute to the artistic and musical life of Ashdod in particular and Israel in general. This new venture is designed to accommodate stadium performance of up to 9,500 people, and has both fixed seats and lawn areas. Throughout the year the amiptheatre will host cultural events, including the Spring Celebration, the Wine Festival, Spring by the River, the Mediterranean Festival, Mein Shtetele Festival, Piano Forever National Contest, Cinematheque, national and international conferences, original exhibitions, and theatre and performance events.
These enterprises, as well as others, place Ashdod in line with other major Israeli cities, and express its ability to host national and international events on the highest professional standards.
Israel's Sports City
The strategic plan of the Sport Authority truly revoulutinaised the city and made more and more residents actively engage in sports and other health maintenance activities. Healthy lifestyle and exercise became essential part of the city’s life, from kindergarten to golden age. Similar investments were made in infrastructure, including a sport promenade, cycling routs, and hundreds of fitness facilities spread out all over the city. For all these, and for the popular extended activities conducted in Ashdod, the city was awarded with the 2012 Ministry of Culture and Sport Prize. In addition, Ashdod hosts national and international competitions and takes part in every sport project in Israel, in all sports and at all ages. Ashdod Women Basketball Team won this year the National Cup.
Ashdod Port, Israel economic gateway, serves also as a harbor to thousands of tourists who arrive in large cruise ships to frequent Israel’s seashores and sites. Ashdod beach, consisting 7.5 km. of inviting Mediterranean sand, is one of the greatest assets of the city and serves as Ashdod’s Riviera, a coastline with luxury hotels, entertainment venues and a promenade. In order to answer the needs of the burgeoning tourism, Ashdod Tourism Development Company initiates projects, promotes new investments to build hotels, and develops tourism products and infrastructures for diverse touristic activities. Recently a five star suite hotel was inaugurated, as well as Ha-shemesh Square (Israel’s second largest square), with a huge illuminated colorful LED lamps monument at its heart. We also expect to inaugurate soon Ashdod-Yam Park, with artificial lake and sophisticated fountains.
Tens of thousands of tourists, arriving to Israel through Ashdod port, set Ashdod as a recreation place during their stay in Israel. The new West Hotel, recently inaugurated, is the first out of many planned hotels and an important milestone in the development of the city.
Man, Nature and Environment
For more than a decade Ashdod Is in the midst of a development boom in every aspect of urban life. All current projects emphasize modern design and respect of the environmental integration.
One of the most notable examples is the Special District plan, which was updated and approved in 2010, and received the blessing of environmental organization, thanks to its guiding lines which include conservation of the sycamore grove and the great sand dune, sustainability and reducing development cost of public spaces. The future campus in this district will meet green building standard and will be aiming for energy self-sufficiency. This also applies to the future public hospital, which is built to meet green building standards and maintain the natural environment.
Administrative Accessibility and Encouraging Entrepreneurship
All requests, either of companies or private entrepreneurs, are handled personally by municipal crews with the aim of encouraging investments in the city. The Industry Development Division accompanies the entrepreneurs at all stages; finding available plot or office space, assisting obtaining certifications, raising government grants, finding future employees, and connecting between entrepreneurs and various officials and authorities.
Other initiatives worth noting are investments in the existing industrial zones, construction of a new industrial zone north of the city, and development of port's hinterland area.
Development and Construction
Ashdod is one of the fastest-growing cities in Israel. The city, first established as an immigrant town, is currently one of the largest and most important cities in Israel, and the construction and development boom only continues with residential towers which are replacing the old building, as well as urban renewal and TAMA 38 projects. Two new quarters are built simultaneously in the last three years, one in the heart of the city and the other, a prestigious and luxurious one with an access to the Marina, in the south-west. All these projects give prominence to modern design, environmental integration, aesthetic and soft lines, and uncompromising commitment to quality and accessibility. Ashdod was also chosen to be the Israel's model city for public transportation, which will make it the first city in Israel to meet the European standard of transportation.