Jaffa _ar. يَافَا, Audio|ArJaffa.ogg|Yāfā;( _he. יָפוֹ, "Yafo"; also Japho, Joppa) is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world.citation
last = Hai
first = Yigal
title = Archaeological discoveries may prove barrier to Jaffa port rejuvenation
publisher = "Haaretz"
date = January 15, 2008
url = http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/944906.html
accessdate = 2008-08-29

Jaffa is located south of Tel Aviv, Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. Today it is part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality.


There are many theories for the origin of the name "Jaffa". The city is mentioned in the Amarna Letters as "Yapu". Some say it is named for Japheth, one of the sons of Noah, who built it after the Great Flood. Others believe the name comes from the Hebrew word "yofi," meaning beautiful. The Hellenist tradition links the name to "Iopeia", which is Cassiopeia, the mother of Andromeda. Pliny the Elder associates the name with Jopa, the daughter of Aeolus, god of wind. However, the Greek and Roman interpretations date hundreds of years after the first inhabitants came to Jaffa, and the true origin of the name is probably western Semitic.cite book|title=Lexicon of the Land of Israel|publisher=Miskal - Yedioth Ahronoth Books and Chemed Books|language=Hebrew|year=1999|first=Immanuel|last=HaReuveni|pages=409|isbn=965-448-413-7]



Archaeological evidence shows that Jaffa was inhabited some 7,500 years before the Common era (BCE). [ Excavations at Ancient Jaffa (Joppa). Tel Aviv University.] Jaffa's natural harbor has been in use since the Bronze Age. It is mentioned in an Ancient Egyptian letter from 1470 BCE, glorifying its conquest by Pharaoh Thutmose III, who hid armed warriors in large baskets and gave the baskets as a present to the Canaanite city's governor. The city is also mentioned in the Amarna letters under its Egyptian name "Ya-Pho", (" Ya-Pu, EA 296, l.33"). The city was under Egyptian rule until around 800 BCE.

"Tel Yafo" (Jaffa Hill) rises to a height of 40 meters (130 ft) and offers a commanding view of the coastline. Hence its strategic importance in military history. The accumulation of debris and landfill over the centuries made the hill even higher.

Jaffa is mentioned four times in the Bible, as one of the cities given to the Tribe of Dan (Book of Joshua 19:46), as port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for Solomon's Temple (2 Chronicles 2:16), as the place whence the prophet Jonah embarked for Tarshish (Book of Jonah 1:3) and as port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for the Second Temple of Jerusalem (Book of Ezra 3:7). It was also an important city in the Arab Middle East. During the Crusades, it was the County of Jaffa, a stronghold of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.cite journal
author = Lily Galili; Ori Nir
title = Jaffa: City of Strangers
journal =Journal of Palestine Studies
volume = 30
issue = 3
pages = 100–102
publisher = Hebrew Press
date = Spring, 2001
doi = 10.1525/jps.2000.30.1.02p01137

Jaffa is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as the territorial border of the Tribe of Dan, hence the term "Gush Dan", used today for the coastal plain. Many descendants of Dan lived along the coast and earned their living from shipmaking and sailing. In the "Song of Deborah" the prophetess asks: "דן למה יגור אוניות": "Why doth Dan dwell in ships?" Fact|date=July 2007 [ [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0705.htm Judges 5:17] ]

King David and his son King Solomon conquered Jaffa and used its port to bring the cedars used in the construction of the First Temple from Tyre. The city remained in Jewish hands even after the split of the Kingdom of Israel. In 701 BCE, in the days of King Hezekiah (חזקיהו), Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded the region from Jaffa.

Jaffa was a Seleucid port until it was taken over by the Maccabean rebels (1 Maccabees x.76, xiv.5). In the Roman suppression of the Jewish Revolt, Jaffa was captured and burned by Cestius Gallus. The Roman Jewish historian Josephus writes that 8,000 inhabitants were massacred. Pirates operating from the rebuilt port incurred the wrath of Vespasian, who razed the city and erected a citadel in its place, installing a Roman garrison there.

The New Testament account of St. Peter's resurrection of the widow Tabitha, (Dorcas) (Acts, ix, 36-42) takes place in Jaffa. St. Peter later had a vision in which God told him not to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles or between kosher and non-kosher (Acts, x, 10-16). This vision heralded a major ideological split between Judaism and Christianity. A painting in St. Peter's, a Roman Catholic church in Jaffa, depicts this event.

Medieval period

Unimportant during the first centuries of Christianity, Jaffa did not have a bishop until the fifth century CE. In 636 Jaffa was conquered by Arabs. Under Islamic rule, it served as a port of Ramla, then the provincial capital.

Jaffa was captured during the Crusades, and became the County of Jaffa and Ascalon, one of the vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. One of its counts, John of Ibelin, wrote the principal book of the Assizes of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During the period of the Crusades, the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela (1170) sojourned at Jaffa, and found there just one Jew, a dyer by trade. Saladin conquered Jaffa in 1187. The city surrendered to King Richard the Lionheart on September 10, 1191, three days after the Battle of Arsuf. Despite efforts by Saladin to reoccupy the city in July 1192 (see Battle of Jaffa) the city remained in the hands of the Crusaders. On September 2, 1192, the Treaty of Jaffa was formally signed, guaranteeing a three-year truce between the two armies. In 1268, Jaffa was conquered by Egyptian Mamluks, led by Baibars. In the 14th century, the city was completely destroyed for fear of new crusades. According to the traveler Cotwyk, Jaffa was a heap of ruins at the end of the 16th century.

Ottoman period

On March 7, 1799 Napoleon I of France captured Jaffa, ransacked it, and killed scores of local inhabitants. Many more died in an epidemic that broke out soon afterwards. [ "Jaffa: A City in Evolution" Ruth Kark, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1990, pp.8-9]

In the 19th century, Jaffa was best known for its soap industry. Modern industry emerged in the late 1880s."Jaffa: A City in Evolution" Ruth Kark, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1990, pp.256-257.] The most successful enterprises were metalworking factories, among them the machine shop run by the Templers that employed over 100 workers in 1910. Other factories produced orange-crates, barrels, corks, noodles, ice, seltzer, candy, soap, olive oil, leather, alkali, wine, cosmetics and ink.

From the 1880s, real estate became an important branch of the economy. ["Jaffa: A City in Evolution" Ruth Kark, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1990, p.262.] Most of the newspapers and books printed in Palestine were published in Jaffa.

Jaffa's citrus industry began to flourish in the last quarter of the 19th century. Shamuti oranges were the major crop, but citrons, lemons and mandarin oranges were also grown. [ "Jaffa: A City in Evolution" Ruth Kark, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1990, pp. 242.]

Until the mid-19th century, Jaffa's orange groves were mainly owned by Arabs, who employed traditional methods of farming. The pioneers of modern agriculture in Jaffa were American settlers, who brought in farm machinery in the 1850s and 1860s, followed by the Templers and the Jews. ["Jaffa: A City in Evolution" Ruth Kark, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1990, pp. 244-246.]

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the population of Jaffa had swelled considerably and new suburbs were built on the sand dunes along the coast. By 1909, the new Jewish suburbs north of Jaffa were reorganized as the city of Tel Aviv.

In 1904, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1864–1935) moved to Palestine and took up the position of chief rabbi of Jaffa:

:"In 1904, he came to the Land of Israel to assume the rabbinical post in Jaffa, which also included responsibility for the new secular Zionist agricultural settlements nearby. His influence on people in different walks of life was already noticeable, as he attempted to introduce Torah and Halakha into the life of the city and the settlements." [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Rav_Kook.html Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook] , Jewish Virtual Library.]

In 1917, the Ottomans banished all of Jaffa's residents as they feared the British army would occupy the city. The British did indeed occupy the city (see Sinai and Palestine Campaign), but let its residents return after a year.

Under the British mandate

During 1917–1920, there were thousands of Jewish residents in Jaffa. A wave of Arab pogrom attacks during 1920 and 1921 caused many Jewish residents to flee and resettle in Tel Aviv. The 1921 riots (known in Hebrew as "Meoraot Tarpa") began with a May Day parade that turned violent. The Arab rioters attacked Jewish residents and buildings. The Hebrew author Yosef Haim Brenner was killed by Arabs in Jaffa.

At the end of 1922, Jaffa had 32,000 residents and Tel Aviv, 15,000. By 1927, the population of Tel Aviv was up to 38,000. The Jews of Jaffa lived on the outskirts of Jaffa, close to Tel Aviv, whereas the old city was predominantly Arab.

The 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, also known as the Great Arab uprising, inflicted great economic and infrastructural damage on Jaffa. On April 19, 1936, the Arab leadership of Palestine declared a general strike which paralyzed the economy. The strike began in the port of Jaffa, which had become a symbol of Arab resistance. "The Land That Become Israel: Studies in Historical Geography," ed. Ruth Kark, Yale University Press & Magnes Press, 1989, "Aerial Perspectives of Past Landscapes," Dov Gavish, pp.316-317] . Military reinforcements were brought in from Malta and Egypt to subdue the rioting which spread throughout the country. Jaffa's old city, with its maze of homes, winding alleyways and underground sewer system, provided an ideal escape route for the rioters fleeing the British army. In May, municipal services were cut off, the old city was barricaded, and access roads were covered with glass shards and nails. In June, British bombers dropped boxes of leaflets in Arabic requesting the inhabitants to evacuate that same day. On the evening of June 17, 1936, 1,500 British soldiers entered Jaffa and a British warship sealed off escape routes by sea. The British Royal Engineers blew up homes from east to west, leaving an open strip that cut through the heart of the city from end to end. On June 29, security forces implemented another stage of the plan, carving a swath from north to south. The mandatory authorities claimed the operation was part of a "facelift" of the old city.

In 1945, Jaffa had a population of 101,580, of whom 53,930 were Muslims, 30,820 were Jews and 16,800 were Christians. [Supplement to a Survey of Palestine (p. 12-13) which was prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations in 1946-7] The Christians were mostly Greek Orthodox and about one sixth of them were Greek-Catholic. One of the most prominent members of the Arab Christian community was the Arab Orthodox publisher of "Filastin", Issa Daoud El-Issa Daoud Isa.

1948 Arab-Israeli War

Before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the UN's Special Commission on Palestine in 1947 recommended that Jaffa become part of the planned Jewish state. Due to the large Arab majority, however, it was instead designated as an Arab enclave in the Jewish state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

The Arabs rejected the plan and on November 30, 1947, the day following the adoption of the UN resolution, seven Jews were killed by Arabs in Palestine in three separate incidents. At 8:00 in the morning, in what came to be seen as the opening shots of the 1948 War, [Benevisti, 2002, p. 101.] three Arabs attacked a bus from Netanya to Jerusalem, killing five Jewish passengers. Half an hour later a second bus attack left a Jewish passenger dead. Later in the day, a twenty-five-year-old Jewish man was shot dead in Jaffa, [Gilbert, 1998, p. 155.] where there were alleged attacks on Arabs by Jews. ['7 Jews Murdered', "The Palestine Post", 1 December, 1947, p. 1.] In Jerusalem, the Arab Higher Committee called a three-day general strike from Tuesday, December 2 to be followed by mass demonstrations after Friday prayers.

From the beginning of the strike onwards, Arab and Jewish clashes escalated and by December 11 the Jerusalem correspondent of "The Times" estimated that at least 130 people had died, "about 70 of them being Jews, 50 Arabs, and among the rest three British soldiers and one British policeman". ['Fighting in Jerusalem', "The Times", 12 December, 1947, p. 4; Issue 50942; col E.]

On April 25, 1948, Irgun launched an offensive on Jaffa, then the largest Arab city in Palestine, during which many of its Arab residents fled through the harbor. Haganah units took the city on May 14. Out of 70,000-80,000 Arabs, 3,600-4,100 remained, about 5%. [Morris, 2003, pp. 211-221.] [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/952270.html Wellsprings of memory - Haaretz - Israel News ] ] Shortly after, impoverished Jewish families whom the war had left homeless settled in Jaffa. [ [http://www.inisrael.com/tour/telaviv/jaffa.html Old Jaffa Tel Aviv] ]

Modern Jaffa

In 1954, Jaffa became part of the municipality of Tel Aviv. Together, they are known as Tel Aviv-Yafo. Modern Jaffa has a heterogeneous population of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Parts of the Old City have been renovated, turning Jaffa into a tourist attraction featuring old restored buildings, art galleries, theaters, souvenir shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and promenades. Beyond the Old City and tourist sites, many neighborhoods of Jaffa are poor and underdeveloped. However, real-estate prices have risen sharply due to gentrification projects in al Ajami and Lev Yafo. [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1162378508780 Changes in the air for Ajami | Jerusalem Post ] ] The municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is currently working to beautify and modernize the port area, and are expanding the boardwalk along the sea from Bat Yam to Tel Aviv. They are also constructing a light rail that will travel from Bat Yam to Petach Tikvah and throughout the Gush Dan territory.


The public education system for Arabic-speaking children has a 53% dropout rate Fact|date=January 2008, and many high school students never complete their matriculation ("bagrut") exams. The Hebrew-speaking school system also suffers from a poor image and parents who can afford it send their children to schools in Tel Aviv or private Christian schools. Fact|date=July 2008 The sitution is improving as new schools open, among them the Democratic School, a private, Jewish school, and the Jaffa School, an Arabic-speaking school run by the al-Rabita organization. Fact|date=July 2008

ocioeconomic and political problems

Jaffa suffers from drug problems, high crime rates and violence. Some Arab residents have alleged that the Israeli authorities are attempting to Judaize Jaffa by evicting Arab residents from houses owned by the Amidar government-operated public housing company. Amidar representatives claim that the residents are illegal squatters. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/853180.html Protesters rally in Jaffa against move to evict local Arab families] 28/4/07, Haaretz]

The Tel Aviv municipality has been accused of trying to erase the city's Arab past. In the early 1950s, many Arabic street names were replaced by Hebrew names. From the 1990s onwards, however, efforts have been made to restore Arab and Islamic landmarks, such as the Mosque of the Sea and Hassan Bek Mosque, and document the history of Jaffa's Arab population.


Jaffa's Jewish population is a mix of "old-timers" who settled in the city in the 1950s and 1960s, and families who have purchased old buildings more recently and renovated them. Many residents of the Yafo Gimel, Daled and Neve Ofer neighborhoods are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Fact|date=July 2008


The "Clock Square" with its distinctive clocktower was built in 1906 in honor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The "Seraya" (governor's palace) was built in the 1890s. [en icon [http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/english/index.htm Tel-Aviv/Yafo Municipality] ] "Mahmoudia Mosque" was built in 1812 by Abu Nabbut, governor of Jaffa from 1810-1820. [http://www.artmag.com/galeries/israel/jafphco/aisjaco6.html] Outside the mosque is a water fountain ("sabil") for pilgrims. [http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=7227] "St. Peter's Church" is a Franciscan church and hospice built in the 19th century on the remains of a Crusaders fortress; Napoleon is believed to have stayed there. "St. Michael's Church", restored in 1994, serves Romanian Christians. " St. Tabitha chapel" serves the Russian Christian community, with services in Russian and Hebrew."St. Peter's Church" was built in 1895 on the site of St. Peter's resurrection of Tabitha. Inside the monastery is the site of the house where St. Tabitha lived with her family. "Andromeda rock" is the rock to which beautiful Andromeda was chained in Greek mythology. The "Zodiac alleys" are a maze of restored alleys leading to the harbor. "Jaffa Hill" is a center for archaeological finds, including restored Egyptian gates, about 3,500 years old. The Libyan Synagogue'("Beit Zunana") was a synagogue built by a Jewish landlord, Zunana, in the 18th century. It was turned into a hotel and then a soap factory, and reopened as a synagogue for Libyan Jewish immigrants after 1948. In 1995, it became a museum. "Nouzha Mosque" on Jerusalem Boulevard is Jaffa's main mosque today.


Excavations on Rabbi Pinchas Street in the flea market have revealed walls and water conduits dating to the Iron Age, Hellenistic period, early Islamic period, Crusader period and Ottoman era. A limestone slab (50 x 50 cm) engraved with a menorah discovered on Tanchum Street is believed to be the door of a tomb. [http://www.biblicalproductions.com/archeological_excavations.htm]

See also

*Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Victims of Jaffa



* Segev, Tom. (1986). "The First Israelis." New York: The Free Press.
* Levine, Mark (2005). "Overthrowing Geography, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948", Berkeley, University of California Press.
* Yahav, Dan (2005). "Yafo, Kalat Hayam, Me'ir Rasha leShunot Oni, Degem Le'ishivionut Merhavi", Israel, Tamouz.
* Chelouche, Yosef Eliyahu (1931). "Parashat Hayai [1870-1930] " ("Reminiscences of My Life [1870-1930] "), Tel Aviv, Babel, 2005.
* Rotbard, Sharon (2005). "Ir Levana, Ir Shehora" ("White City, Black City"), Tel Aviv, Babel.
* LeBor, Adam (2006) "City of Oranges, Arabs and Jews in Jaffa", Bloomsbury, London
* Weill-Rochant Catherine (2008). "L'Atlas de Tel-Aviv", CNRS Editions, 2008.

External links

* [http://www.oldjaffa.co.il/ArticlesEng/Articles.asp?CategoryID=17 The Old Jaffa Development Corporation]
* [http://www.cafetorah.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=96 The Old Jaffa Photographs in Cafetorah.com]
* [http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0494/9404075.htm Arab Jaffa seized before Israel's creation in 1948. "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs."]
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=135&letter=J Jewish Encyclopedia: Jaffa]
*Schaalje, Jacqueline. [http://www.jewishmag.com/43mag/jaffa/jaffa.htm "Jaffa"] , "The Jewish Magazine", May 2001.
* [http://www.co-ground.com/common/yafo.html Travel photos of Old Jaffa and its port]
* [http://www.world-shots.com/world_en146-1286.html World Cities Images. Jaffa]
* [http://www.3disrael.com/telaviv/Clock_tower.cfm Clock Square Virtual tour at Full HD - No plugin needed]
* [http://www.3disrael.com/telaviv/Jaffa_port.cfm Jaffa Port Virtual tour at Full HD]
* [http://www.israelviews.com/photos/jaffa/ Jaffa Photos]
* [http://www.tiuli.com/track_info.asp?lng=eng&track_id=75 Jaffa] Detailed track and hiking info from [http://www.tiuli.com/default.asp?lng=eng Tourism,trip and travel to Israel]

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  • JAFFA — (Joppa; יָפוֹ), ancient port city in the central sector of the Ereẓ Israel coast. The meaning of the name Jaffa (Yaffo) is lovely or pretty. The ancient city was built on a hill jutting out slightly from the coastline on the west and overlooking… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • JAFFA — JAFFA, German brothers who were early New Mexico settlers. HENRY N. JAFFA (1846–1901) went to the U.S. as a young man and moved out West after the Civil War, establishing stores in southern Colorado. In 1879 he opened a business in Las Vegas, New …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • jaffa — ● jaffa nom féminin Type d orange blonde, très cultivée. Jaffa ou Yafo anc. v. d Israël, sur la mer Méditerranée, auj. fbg S. de Tel Aviv. Industr. Très ancienne, la ville fut prise par Bonaparte (1799). Enlevée aux Turcs par l armée brit. (1917) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jaffa — Jaffa, schwache Festung im türkischen Ejalet Damask (Syrien), am Mittelmeere; Handel u. Schifffahrt; 4000 Ew.; fruchtbare Umgegend. – J. ist das Japho der Bibel u. Jova od. Joppe der Alten; hier soll Andromeda (s.d.) an den Felsen geschmiedet… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Jaffa — Jaffa, richtiger Jâfâ (das Japho der Bibel und das griech. Joppe), Hafenstadt im türk. Mutessarriflik Jerusalem, am Mittelländ. Meer, ca. 45.000 E. Lebhafter Pilgerverkehr. Hauptlandungsplatz der Kreuzfahrer; von diesen bis 1268 behauptet, 1799… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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  • JAFFA — vide Ioppe …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

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