Nazareth Illit changes its name to Nof Hagalil

After years of confusion, the northern Israeli town gets an independent identity.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
June 22, 2019 16:26
Nazareth Illit changes its name to Nof Hagalil

Nof HaGalil city hall. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/BENY SHLEVICH)



After years of confusion, the city of Nazareth Illit finally changed its name. 

The new name, Nof HaGalil (literally the Galilee view) was decided by the residents to give the city “an independent identity,” the city’s Mayor Ronen Plot said.

The city, still formally named Nazareth Illit, which is a predominantly Jewish area, was regularly confused with its more famous neighbor Nazareth - which is known, according to Christian belief, as the biblical home town of Jesus.

“We live in an excellent neighborhood, but we are dealing with separate authorities with a completely different identity and character,” Plot told Yediot Aharonot  in March.

Nazareth Illit was first planned in 1954 and formally established in 1957 as part of a larger plan for Jewish settlement in the Galilee by the government of then -prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

The city established a public committee of 21 people of different ages and religions to choose the new name. It was headed by  municipal directorate Hava Bachar. Community members sent in name ideas, which were then vetted first by Bachar and then by the committee. The committee was asked to select a name that reflected the fact that Nazareth Illit, now Nof HaGalil, is the largest central city in the Galilee and that would also reference its geographic height and landscape.

According to the Hebrew daily Yediot, some 200 names advanced to the finals.

After the committee selected the final name, it had to go to the Prime Minister’s office for approval and needed a final sign off from the Interior Ministry.

Explaining the name change, Plot said that, "if after 62 years, Israelis have still not grasped the difference, there is no alternative but to change the name and give it a name that distinguishes it from Nazareth.”
 


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