Region: Judea and Samaria District
City Type: Settlement (Yishuv)
Demographics: Young Families, Families, Retirees
Religious Makeup: Chabad, Chardal, Dati Leumi
Affordability: $$$ (range 1 to 5)
Daytime relative humidity is generally in the 35-40% range.
Efrat is located in Gush Etzion (the Etzion bloc of settlement communities). It is a separate municipality, and is regarded as the capital of the Gush Etzion area. Efrat is a popular destination for Olim from English-speaking countries, who constitute a high percentage of the population that also includes native-born Israelis and Olim from other countries. Most residents have Dati Leumi and other Orthodox affiliations, with a small percentage of secular residents. Efrat’s local commercial enterprises and proximity to Jerusalem give residents access to big-city amenities with lower relative housing costs. Efrat is an open community that does not have any residency application process.
Apartments, semi-detached buildings, and single-family homes (villas) are all available, with apartments forming the majority of available housing. Real estate purchase and rental prices are lower than in major cities, making Efrat a more affordable alternative and popular destination.
Housing prices vary widely, based on location, features, and condition, but recent searches yielded these prices for apartment rentals and purchases:
|Type||Size (Sq. Meters)||Rent||Purchase|
Public bus service is available between Efrat and Jerusalem, with some lines making local stops within Efrat. While commuting to Jerusalem is relatively convenient, there are no direct routes to Tel Aviv. The train station in Beit Shemesh is about 30 minutes’ drive and Tel Aviv is about 35 minutes’ train ride from there.
Private car ownership is not an absolute necessity, but shopping locally or in nearby Jerusalem, and travel to other settlements in Gush Etzion is made easier. Because there are a large number of commuters, carpooling is a popular option.
Some residents have home-based businesses, telecommute, or work in the few local jobs, but Efrat is mostly a bedroom community for workers commuting to the Jerusalem area.
Many options exist for religious schooling from Gan through high school, both within Efrat and in the surrounding Gush Etzion region. No secular schools operate within Efrat at present. Gan programs for children with special needs exist in Efrat. Older students also have the option of commuting to schools outside the Gush Etzion region, including those in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.
Services for Olim
The local offices of government agencies are in Jerusalem’s city center, about 30 minutes’ drive away. There is a regional Ulpan program in the Gush Etzion region, and many options in Jerusalem, but none within Efrat.
Efrat’s many Orthodox congregations in Ahskenazi, Sefaradi, and Chabad tradition are also the center of a rich community life. There are many Chesed organizations, and a couple of Yeshivot, and Kollelim that serve the community. A variety of educational and other activities are available on weekdays and Shabbat. Connection within members of congregations, residents of neighborhoods, and those who participate in classes and activities is strong and the sense of community is noticeable.
Amenities & Attractions
Efrat is home to a number of local businesses including a pharmacy, post office and shops offering groceries, clothing, housewares, and prepared foods. The local library has a sizable collection of books in both Hebrew and English. Efrat’s community centers offer a large range of popular activities for residents of every age. Swimming and sports are available, as are classes in a wide range of subjects from computers and dance to martial arts and sculpture. Regional programs for seniors include transportation from Efrat and provide a variety of activities and services.
Efrat Municipal Website (Hebrew) – efrat.muni.il
Efrat Municipality Facebook Page – facebook.com/mmefrat
Gush Etzion Seniors Page (English) – baitisraeli.co.il/_klita/en/36
Olim Efrat Facebook Group – facebook.com/groups/163993630371483
Anglo List Gush Etzion Page – anglo-list.com/aliyah-information/destinations/gush-etzion