Bat Yam was first established in 1926 and became a city in 1958. It grew exponentially in the 1980s with the influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, necessitating the rapid construction of low-quality housing. Several mayors were involved in financial scandals, which impacted the city’s development. However the city’s convenient location, just south of Tel Aviv, has made it a natural target for developers seeking to extend the metropolis and create attractive neighborhoods for commuters. Two railway stations were opened in Bat Yam in 2011 connecting Bat Yam with Rishon LeZion and Tel Aviv, and the Tel Aviv Light Rail will extend here too in due course.
There is extensive scope for development, and the city is branding itself as “the New Israeli Riviera”. Its attractions include the Al Gal beach, which is one of the best surfing beaches in Israel, five other popular beaches, and the long promenade along the sea front, which connects up with the Tel Aviv boardwalk south of Jaffa. Three major hotels are being built, together with a park for outdoor cultural activities and a number of luxury high-rise apartment buildings.