Name of City/municipality: Yokneam

Population: 23,796 (2019)

Area: 7.39 km2

Yokneam is a city in northern Israel. It is located in a hilly region of the lower Galilee at the base of the Carmel Mountains, and overlooks the Jezreel Valley. It is 21 km from Haifa and 80 km from Tel Aviv.

Name of Mayor: Simon Alfasi

Contact: Dr. Anna Halasz:


Main features:

Yokneam is known as Israel’s “Startup Village” because its high-tech hub is surrounded by forest and small communities.

Yokneam Illit was founded in 1950 and became a local authority in 1967, and then a city in 2007. It is known for its religious tolerance, with many extended families consisting of a mixture of secular and religious Jews. Despite its small size, Yokneam Illit is an ethnically diverse city, with immigrants from all parts of the world and their descendants and many active synagogues, each with its own special character.

The policy of the municipality is to build low-density, spacious homes to preserve the landscape and views from every home. Although real estate prices are low relative to the Tel Aviv area, its high rate of growth in recent years has pushed prices up faster than in similar-sized cities.

Main economic activities:

Yokneam’s proximity to two major universities (Technion and University of Haifa), location at the crossroads between northern Israel and the major urban areas of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, tax benefits and investment grants associated with its status as a “National Priority Area A”, and its small-town surroundings and lower cost of housing all worked together to attract Israel’s highest concentration of R&D companies outside of Tel-Aviv and give it the nickname of Startup Village.

Yokneam’s industrial parks are home to more than 100 high-tech companies with exports of approximately 5 billion US dollars annually. Companies specialize in a wide range of technologies, including semiconductors, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Environmental conditions and challenges:

Yokneam is a very green city. Not just in terms of ecological activism, but also in terms of its physical surroundings. Roughly two-thirds of the land within Yokneam’s city limits are green space (parks, archeological digs, gardens, playgrounds). It has five major public parks, and outdoor amphitheater and over 80 playgrounds distributed throughout the city.

In 2009 and 2014, the Cleantech Authority of the Environmental Protection Ministry (Israel) awarded the city of Yokneam Illit a prize for its overall strategy of protecting and nurturing green spaces and encouraging environmental awareness and education.

The municipality invests both time and money to maintain the natural beauty of its green spaces. Its building codes have become stricter and greener as the demand for housing has increased. A “green” neighborhood is currently under construction which includes environment friendly lighting, irrigation and waste management. At the same time, the municipality has actively worked to make the older neighborhoods more attractive.