Gush Etzion (aka The Etzion Bloc) is a group of communities just south of Jerusalem. Most are Religious Zionist Yishuvim, but the area also includes kibbutzim and secular, haredi, and mixed communities.
Many English speakers have chosen to move to Gush Etzion when making aliyah, and about 30-40% of the population is native English-speaking.
The climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and moderate winters. The area is hilly, with communities at various elevations. For example, Tekoa is at 2,214 feet (675 meters), Elazar is at 3,034 feet (925 meters), and Efrat, the largest of the settlements, is at 3,150 feet (960 meters). Gush Etzion gets more snow than Jerusalem, but rarely much of an accumulation.
Housing is less expensive than in Jerusalem. Many homes have splendid views of the Judean Hills, the Judean Desert, Jerusalem, and the ancient cone-shaped palace-fortress of Herodion. The mountain air is clean, and most streets are quiet.
The region is known for the quality of its educational system and the amount of money invested in it. Hands-on education and programs for special needs children are available.
Residents of the region can use a matnas (community center) and a pool with separate hours for men and women. Many take advantage of opportunities for religious learning. For new olim, the Regional Council offers absorption services, and the community center offers Hebrew ulpan classes. A women’s musical theater group is also active.
Gush Etzion is a suburban “bedroom community.” Dining and entertainment options are limited locally but a wide range are available in Jerusalem.
Most of the Gush region is about 10-15 minutes by car from Jerusalem’s industrial Talpiot neighborhood, or 20 minutes to the center of the city. It’s about an hour and a half by car to Tel Aviv. Public transportation is available, but it is far more convenient to have a car. Large families may find than shipping a minivan to Israel is less expensive than buying one upon arrival.
Nefesh b’Nefesh Community Guide
Gush Etzion English Website
Living in Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion Communities
Lagur Israel Real Estate
Yahoo Flat-hunting Group for Israel
Gush Etzion Real Estate
Apartments for Sale in Gush Etzion
Apartments for Rent in Gush Etzion
Nefesh B'Nefesh School Database
Gush Etzion Education
Gush Etzion Winery and Restaurant
Entertainment and Recreation:
Gush Etzion Tourism
Nature and Tourism in Gush Etzion