Upper Nazareth
Upper Nazareth Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The residents of the city of Upper Nazareth (Natzrat Illit) on Friday voted in favor of changing the city's name to Nof HaGalil (lit. View of the Galilee).

Of the 10,242 residents who participated in the poll, 8,059 voted in favor.

This referendum marks the first time in Israel that a name change of a city was decided by its inhabitants.

Mayor Ronen Plot thanked the residents for their support during the renaming and re-branding of the city.

"It was heartening to see thousands of residents come to the polls and take part in an extraordinary democratic experience that opens, along with the entire new revolution in the city, the new and promising chapter in city life," he said.

Plot has been pushing for several months to rename the city, and thus establish a new identity for the community, distinct from that of its larger Arab neighbor, Nazareth.

First planned in 1954 and formally established in 1957, Upper Nazareth was built by then Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s government as the linchpin of larger plan for Jewish settlement in the Galilee.

Built alongside Israel’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, Upper Nazareth has its own growing Arab population, which now makes up roughly a quarter of the city.

The two remain separate and distinct municipalities, however, each with its own unique character.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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