Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An apartment block 1/4 km long


Old apartment buildings like this in Beer Sheva are known as "batei rakevet," literally, "railway houses," because they seem to go on forever and ever.
I think this is the one known in the guidebooks as "the 1/4 kilometer long apartment building," an exceptionally long one and thus an architectural curiosity. 

After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 mass waves of new immigrants swamped the country.
Beer Sheva in the south was still small then, so housing had to be put up quickly and cheaply.

At least the apartment owners have some green trees out back to soften the view.


Alice said...

It was a nice place for people coming to their new home .

Sandi said...

This looks so sad! Is it abandoned?

William Kendall said...

The trees do seem to help.

Petrea Burchard said...

That top photo is dramatic. Is the building occupied? It looks so empty.

Hels said...

Thank goodness for saving the lives of asylum-seekers and desperate refugees. Bless Israel, back in 1948 and since.

I cannot tell if the walls were built from concrete or stone, but it should be possible (and cheap) to paint them in a light, fresh colour. New immigrants would love a smart external appearance.

Dina said...

Shalom friends. To answer y'all's questions:
Oh yes, the building is lived in. I saw For Sale signs in a few windows. Buying an apartment has become extremely, prohibitively expensive in Israeli cities. And the prices for new and used go up all the time. Nowadays a young married couple more or less expects their parents to dip into their pensions to enable them to get a mortgage on an apartment.

Yes, the size and condition of the old building are depressing. But we have to remember that for the early immigrants, decades ago, it was a blessing to have a roof over their heads. Many thousands had to start their life in young Israel in tent camps. Some waited for years to get out of these ma'abarot or transit camps.

Hels, all the neighborhoods were built with concrete. Remember, Beer Sheva is the "capital of Brutalist architecture." Painting the exterior is rare. Every apartment building is run by an elected or a rotating Va'ad Habayit, a house committee that takes care of the issues they have in common. Imagine getting every one of the residents to agree to pay for esthetic improvements. Nope.

Jackie @travelnwrite said...

So interesting this peek into history. The cost of housing there, sounds like the cost in the Puget Sound (Seattle) area of Washington State where our high-tech influx has taken prices sky-high and young people just starting out can come anywhere close to being able to afford a house.

crystal said...

What a long building. Are there still a lot of immigrants to Israel? Here in my neighborhood there are a lot of apartment buildings of all sizes and conditions. Glad I don't have to live in one presently :)

Dina said...

Crystal, the rate of aliyah (immigration to Israel) today is nothing like it was in the late 1940s and the 50s when Jews had to flee post-war Europe and Muslim countries. Then came the big waves of Ethiopian Jews starting in the 80s. And then the huge influx from the Former Soviet Union (844,139 came in 1990-2001 and 72,520 in 2002-2010).
Beer Sheva has many Ethiopians and Russians.
These days planes are chartered to bring whole families of Jews at a time. Most are from France and the United States.

The numbers of new immigrants by year and country can be seen here:

Oh, and remember that in Israel some people live in private houses but most live in a unit or apartment in a large building. Traditionally families bought their apartment, but today, because of the prohibitive skyrocketing prices many have to rent instead.

crystal said...

Thanks for the link - very interesting. I remember reading about the expulsion from medieval England in history class, but I had no idea that immigrants to Israel came from so many different places. Here, as you know, most people in the cities live in apartments and in the countryside there are more often homes, though that's changing as the population becomes more dense.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

So interesting. I have a similar view today. Very different history.


I am reminded of how young Israel is. There will come a day when nobody living is older than Israel. I had never thought of that before.


crystal said...

Dina, you haven't had a post for a while - hope all is well.

Alice said...

Dina, miss you , hope all is well and it is the computer that is broken. Hugs

Dina said...

Dear Alice and Crystal, thank you, I am OK. It was just a hard month of laptop problems that prevented me from blogging. I finally bought a new one and just now set up the operating system, anti virus, and all the other million things I'm having to learn how to do. Not to mention the new dreaded Windows 10.
So I hope to be back with you all very soon.

crystal said...

Glad to hear you're ok.

Kay said...

Oh wow! That must be a really interesting place to live.