The Israeli Habitat: Neot Ashalim Neighborhood, Rishon Lezion

A new apartment, a private parking spot and a green park that surrounds a river-like water feature – the Israeli fantasy is being fulfilled in west Rishon Lezion, or “Rishon West”, a term that has since became synonymous with a specific genre of contemporary neighbrohood developement in the unofficial Israeli planning lexicon.

Fifteen years after its establishment, the Neot Ashalim neighborhood in west Rishon Lezion is filled with tall residential buildings, hundreds of cars and abundance of green vegetation. But the trees that were chosen to decorate the environment hardly provide any shade, and cannot protect the passers-by from the scorching sun. The reality does not match the picture perfect, family-oriented image of the neighborhood.

“Rishon Lezion – a city for the entire family” indicate signs that are spread across the park, and indeed, the park is the emblem of the Israeli dream: day after day, after nine hours of work and a long commute, the parents will come home and take their kids to play in the park, fly a kite, play ball or teach them to ride a bike. Or maybe they wouldn’t: in each of the entrances to the park a sign bearing a long list of instructions was posted: no playing with a ball, no riding a bike, no staying in the park after 10pm, no dogs allowed. Whoever breaks these rules, indicates the sign, will be punished.

Everything in Neot Ashalim is organized, controlled, clean. Very clean. Apparently, whoever wants to live the Israeli dream must leave his personality behind, somewhere outside the neighborhood’s wide perimeter roads, or push it into a hidden corner deep inside his home.

How to cite:
 ‘The Israeli Habitat: Neot Ashalim Neighbourhood, Rishon Lezion', Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design,
 Tel Aviv University, Israel, July 2011