Ra’anana (Heb. רַעֲנַנָּה) is an urban community with municipal council status in central Israel, N.E. of Herzliya. Ra’anana was established in 1922 as a village (moshavah) by a group of American Jews who founded Aḥuzzat New York A Inc. (1912). The land was bought through the Palestine Land Development Company.
Initially there were many economic difficulties. An attempt was made to raise cattle as the mainstay of the economy. Ra’anana progressed in the later 1920s and in the 1930s when a rich groundwater table was tapped, the citrus branch introduced, and middle-class immigrants of the Fourth Aliyah and later newcomers were absorbed. With the crisis in the citrus branch during World War II, the settlers changed over to mixed farming and made beginnings in industry.
In the 1940s, two housing quarters for Yemenite and other immigrants were built with contributions from Zionists in the United States and South Africa. In 1947, Ra’anana had 3,800 inhabitants and grew quickly after the War of Independence (1948) when ma’barot (immigrant transit camp) inhabitants were given permanent housing (1953–9,000 inhabitants; 1968–11,900). Ra’anana belonged to the outer ring of the Tel Aviv conurbation and developed various industries as well as agriculture. Over the years, most of Ra’anana’s farmland became built-up areas.
In 1981, Ra’anana received city status, with an area of about 6 sq. mi. (15 sq. km.). In the mid-1990s, the population was approximately 56,900, rising to 68,900 in 2002. The city had a large community of immigrants from English-speaking countries. Its expansion reached the outskirts of Herzliya in the south. In 1996, a high-tech industrial area was established, housing such big companies as Amdocs. Ra'anana was one of the few Israeli cities to receive ISO 9002 certification for the quality of its public services. Income among residents was much higher than the national average.
[Efraim Orni / Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]