As the major port in British-controlled Palestine, Haifa was a critical objective in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was captured on April 23rd, 1948 by elements of the Israeli Carmeli Brigade, resulting in the flight of about 60,000 Palestinian Arabs. Today, Haifa is a thriving and diverse cultural and ethnic center, home to Jews, Arabs, and Druze, and marked for its high level of coexistence. Noted by Jews for the Cave of Elijah, Haifa is also cherished by the Christian and Bahá'í faiths. The Bahá'í World Centre (comprising the Shrine of the Báb, terraced gardens and administrative buildings on the Carmel's northern slope [see photo]) is an important site of worship and administration for the members of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as providing the city with a much visited tourist attraction.
Haifa is the site of two universities, (Haifa University and the Technion). Politically, its docks and industrial areas have made the city a consistent stronghold for the Israeli Labor party, and it is often dubbed 'Red Haifa'. One result of this has been that Haifa is the only city in Israel in which public transport operates on Saturdays.
Besides the docks, Haifa has a large industrial zone on the north, near the Kishon river and a large commercial zone at the southern enternce. Haifa's cultural and social life are focusing mainly around football (soccer). The city have two football clubs - Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Haifa. Maccabi Haifa is one of the most successful football clus today in Israel, with 7 championships, 5 cups and 2 Toto-cups. Both clubs have football schools in Haifa suburbs and other villages (including Arab and Druze villages) in the northern part of Israel.