Gav-Yam specializes in the initiation, planning, construction, and management of hi-tech parks, industrial, commercial and office parks, logistics centers, and residential neighborhoods. Gav-Yam was founded in 1928 by the Israel Economic Corporation (PEC) with the goal of developing industrial infrastructure. Since its foundation over 90 years ago up until today, Gav-Yam has been part of Israel’s economic growth through its participation in a wide range of projects and the construction of income-producing properties throughout the country. Gav-Yam has been listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since 1978.
The American Zion Commonwealth was founded in 1914 with the clear goal of purchasing land for agricultural, industrial, and residential purposes, and to secure Jewish territorial continuity in pre-state Israel.
In collaboration with the Jewish National Fund and the “land redeemer” Yehoshua Henkin (a title he attained as a result of his efforts to reacquire land in Eretz Israel), 4500 hectares from the Jidru lands in the Haifa Bay area were purchased. Of that, the American Zion Commonwealth and its offshoot, the Palestine Economic Corporation, acquired 500 hectares.
As American companies were prohibited from directly acquiring land in Eretz Israel under the British Mandate, a local company had to be formed that would carry out these transactions. As a result, Bayside Land Corporation Ltd. was established and acquired the land alongside Haifa Bay (hence the name). After the establishment of the State of Israel, this company’s name was changed to Gav-Yam Land Corporation Ltd.
In its early days, Gav-Yam was established to develop the Zevulun Valley and Haifa Bay and to initiate residential neighborhoods and industrial structures.
The term “land redemption” became even more important when the community leaders discovered that the British Mandate intended to exchange Gav-Yam-owned seaside land with the Iraqi oil company IPC, which planned to build refineries in this area. Gav-Yam realized that such a move would thwart any possible residential development in the area, as well as any expansion of the land around the Kishon River and the Zevulun Valley. Therefore, the company invited the renowned city planner Professor Patrick Abercrombie to develop a residential and industrial plan for the area north to the Kishon River. After extensive negotiations, the Abercrombie plan was accepted by all the parties – the oil refinery agreed to reroute the pipelines from Iraq so as not to interfere with the development plan, and Gav-Yam agreed to exchange the land it owned in the Zevulun Valley, east of the Haifa-Acre Road, for land along the coast, north of Kishon port.
This is what Julius Simon, one of the founders of Gav-Yam’s parent company (PEC), wrote upon his return from visiting Eretz Israel:
“Of course, you will remember that we own 500 hectares in the industrial area of Haifa Bay. Proper development of this area was recently under threat, due to the willingness of the British authority to transfer a large area of land along the Mediterranean to the Iraqi oil company so that they could store the oil from Mosul they were planning to bring through the pipeline. Had this happened, the city of Haifa would have been completely cut off from the sea, and any planning of the entire area would have been prevented.”
It can certainly be said that, without PEC’s foresight, the Krayot cities on the outskirts of Haifa would not exist today, and the area north of Haifa would be dominated by oil refineries with no communities or industries south of them.