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(This article was published at the Mishpacha Jewish Weekly Magazine)

By Refoel Pride

Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman reflects on half a century of miracles in this turned-around development town.

Whatever you’ve heard about Israeli development towns is probably unpleasant. Thrown together with no foresight to house teeming groups of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, these 1950s-era outgrowths of the ma’abarot featured Second World construction, inadequate utilities, few services, no amenities, and little prospect for escape. Unemployed men loitered in town squares, and the musty, dusty streets were too dangerous to walk at night.

Migdal Ha’emek, in the center of the Lower Galilee, was probably the most notorious of these towns, the poster child of the gritty immigrant cities in the 1950s and ’60s.

Enter the town today, though, and you’ll see something more like a tidy inner-ring suburb: solidly middle-class, well-maintained modest houses in neat yards, thriving shops and businesses. An entire section of the town is given over to a large, landscaped educational campus.

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