Netanya –The Riviera of Israel
Netanya (Hebrew for God gave, not to be confused with Netanyahu!) is the capital city of the Sharon plain in the central district of the country on the coastal highway between Tel-Aviv and Haifa. It was founded in 1929 and named after Nathan Straus, an American Jewish philanthropist. With a population of 215 thousand inhabitants it is the seventh biggest city in Israel after Ashdod and ahead of Beersheba, both leading chess cities as well. The city is known for its large immigrant population (some 30 percents) from former Soviet Union, France and Ethiopia as well as from English speaking countries. Its current (13th) mayor since 1998 is Mrs. Miriam Feirberg –Icar.
The 14 kilometres of beautiful beaches have turned the city into a highly popular tourist resort. More tourist attractions in the city may be seen here:
The municipal website: https://www.netanya.muni.il/eng/
Netanya is known as a sport city with teams in many branches and a pretty active and successful chess club too. The Netanya stadium, whose VIP hall serves as the venue of Netanya Chess Festival, is not just the permanent home ground of the local famous football Maccabi Netanya team, but also used as temporary home ground of other top teams such as Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Hapoel Raanana, as well as for some friendly home matches of the national Israeli football team. Since its opening on the 30th of October 2012 the stadium with its 13, 610 seats has served as one of the venues for a couple of UEFA European football junior championships.
In the end of June 2019 Netanya Stadium is to write a new chapter by hosting the strongest chess tournament to be held in Israel. Quite a milestone!