Jaffa was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

, king of Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, invaded the region from Jaffa.

After a period of Babylonian occupation, under Persian rule, Jaffa was governed by Phoenicians from Tyre. Then it knew the presence of Alexander the Great's troops and later became a Seleucid Hellenized port until it was taken over by the Maccabean
The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel army who took control of Judea, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, reasserting the Jewish religion, expanding the boundaries of the Land of Israel and reducing the influence...

 rebels (1 Maccabees
1 Maccabees
The First book of Maccabees is a book written in Hebrew by a Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom, about the latter part of the 2nd century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint...

 x.76, xiv.5) and the refounded Jewish kingdom. During the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 repression of the Jewish Revolt, Jaffa was captured and burned by Cestius Gallus
Cestius Gallus
Gaius Cestius Gallus was the son of a consul in ancient Rome and himself a suffect consul in 42.He was legate of Syria from 63 or 65. He marched into Judea in 66 in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the Great Jewish Revolt...

. The Roman Jewish historian Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 (Jewish War 2.507-509, 3:414-426) writes that 8,400 inhabitants were massacred. Pirates operating from the rebuilt port incurred the wrath of Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, who razed the city and erected a citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

 in its place, installing a Roman garrison there.

The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 account of St. Peter's resurrection of the widow Tabitha (Dorcas, Gr.)
Dorcas was a disciple who lived in Joppa, referenced in the Book of Acts of the Bible. Acts recounts that when she died, she was mourned by "all the widows ... crying and showing the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them."...

 written in Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

  takes place in Jaffa. Acts relates that while Peter was in Jaffa, he had a vision of a large sheet filled with "clean" and "unclean" animals being lowered from heaven, which he interpreted as a signal to accompany messengers from Cornelius to Caesaria.

Rabbinical Period

In Midrash Tanna'im in its chapter Deuteronomy 33:19, reference is made to Rav Yosi (2nd century) travelling through Jaffa.
Jaffa seems to have attracted serious scholars in the 4th and 5th century. The Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

(compiled 4th and 5th century)in Moed Ketan references Rav Acha of Jaffa; and in Pesachim chapter 1 refers to Rav Phineas of Jaffa. The Babylonian Talmud (compiled 5th century) in Megillah 16b mentions Rav Adda Demin of Jaffa. Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus . It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel in his Aruk as well as by Rashi in his commentaries on , and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon and Nissim knew and made use of it...

(compiled between 5th and 7th century) mentions Rav Nachman of Jaffa. The Pesikta Rabbati
Pesikta Rabbati
Pesikta Rabbati or P'sqita Rabbita is a collection of Aggadic Midrash on the Pentateuchal and prophetic lessons, the special Sabbaths, etc. It was composed around 845 CE and probably called "rabbati" to distinguish it from the earlier Pesiḳta.In common with the latter it has five entire...

(written in the 9th century) in chapter 17 mentions R. Tanchum of Jaffa.

Medieval Period

A fairly unimportant Roman and Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 locality during the first centuries of Christianity, Jaffa did not have a bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 until the fifth century AD. In 636 Jaffa was conquered by Arabs. Under Islamic rule, it served as a port of Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

, then the provincial capital. Jaffa was captured in 1100 after the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

, and was the centre of the County of Jaffa and Ascalon
County of Jaffa and Ascalon
The double County of Jaffa and Ascalon was one of the four major seigneuries comprising the major crusader state, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin.-History:...

, one of the vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Vassals of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Crusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, created in 1099, was divided into a number of smaller seigneuries.-Introduction:According to the 13th century jurist John of Ibelin the four highest barons in the kingdom proper were:* the Count of Jaffa and Ascalon...

. One of its counts, John of Ibelin
John of Ibelin (jurist)
John of Ibelin , count of Jaffa and Ascalon, was a noted jurist and the author of the longest legal treatise from the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He was the son of Philip of Ibelin, bailli of the Kingdom of Cyprus, and Alice of Montbéliard, and was the nephew of John of Ibelin, the "Old Lord of Beirut"...

, wrote the principal book of the Assizes
Assizes of Jerusalem
The Assizes of Jerusalem are a collection of numerous medieval legal treatises containing the law of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and Kingdom of Cyprus...

 of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

. During the period of the Crusades, the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela was a medieval Jewish traveler who visited Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th century. His vivid descriptions of western Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by a hundred years...

 (1170) sojourned at Jaffa, and found there just one Jew, a dyer by trade.

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 conquered Jaffa in 1187. The city surrendered to King Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 on September 10, 1191, three days after the Battle of Arsuf
Battle of Arsuf
The Battle of Arsuf was a battle of the Third Crusade in which Richard I of England defeated Saladin at Arsuf. Following a series of harassing attacks by Saladin's forces, battle was joined on the morning of 7 September 1191...

. Despite efforts by Saladin to reoccupy the city in July 1192 (Battle of Jaffa
Battle of Jaffa
The Battle of Jaffa took place during the Crusades, as one of a series of campaigns between Saladin's army and the forces of King Richard the Lionheart. It was the final battle of the Third Crusade, after which Saladin and King Richard were able to negotiate a truce...

) 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. Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 fortified the castle of Jaffa and had two inscriptions carved into city wall, one Latin and the other Arabic. The inscription, deciphered in 2011, describes him as the "Holy Roman Emperor" and bears the date "1229 of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus the Messiah." In 1268, Jaffa was conquered by Egyptian Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

s, led by Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...


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

In 1515 Jaffa was conquered by the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Sultan Salim I. The seventeenth century saw the beginning of the re-establishment of churches and hostels for Christian pilgrims en route to Jerusalem and the Galilee. During the eighteenth century the coastline around Jaffa was often besieged by pirates and this led to the inhabitants relocating to Ramleh and Lydd
Lydd is a town in Kent, England, lying on the Romney Marsh. It is one of the larger towns on the Marsh, and the most southerly town in Kent. Actually located on Denge Marsh, Lydd was one of the first sandy islands to form as the bay evolved into what is now called the Romney Marsh...

 where they relied on messages from a solitary guard house to inform them when ships were approaching the harbour. The landing of goods and passengers was notoriously difficult and dangerous. Until well into the twentieth century, ships had to rely on teams of oarsmen to bring their cargo ashore.

On March 7, 1799 Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 captured the town in what became known as the Siege of Jaffa
Siege of Jaffa
The Siege of Jaffa was fought from 3 to 7 March 1799 between France and the Ottoman Empire. The French were led by Napoleon Bonaparte, and they captured the city.-Course:...

, ransacked it, and killed scores of local inhabitants. Napoleon ordered the massacre of thousands of Muslim soldiers who were imprisoned having surrendered to the French. Napoleon's deputy commissioner of war Moit described it thus:
"On 10 March 1799 in the afternoon, the prisoners of Jaffa were marched off in the midst of a vast square phalanx formed by the troops of General Bon... The Turks, walking along in total disorder, had already guessed their fate and appeared not even to shed any tears... When they finally arrived in the sand dunes to the south-west of Jaffa, they were ordered to halt beside a pool of yellowish water. The officer commanding the troops then divided the mass of prisoners into small groups, who were led off to several different points and shot... Finally, of all the prisoners there only remained those who were beside the pool of water. Our soldiers had used up their cartridges, so there was nothing to be done but to dispatch them with bayonets and knives. ... The result ... was a terrible pyramid of dead and dying bodies dripping blood and the bodies of those already dead had to be pulled away so as to finish off those unfortunate beings who, concealed under this awful and terrible wall of bodies, had not yet been struck down."

Many more died in an epidemic of bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 that broke out soon afterwards. The governor who was appointed after these devastating events, Muhammad Abu-Nabbut
Muhammad Abu-Nabbut
Muhammad Abu Nabbut was the governor of Jaffa and Gaza in the early 19th century on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. He reigned from 1807 to 1818.-Biography:...

, commenced wide-ranging building and restoration work in Jaffa, including the Mahmoudiya Mosque
Mahmoudiya Mosque
The Mahmoudiya Mosque is the largest and most significant mosque in Jaffa, now part of the larger city of Tel Aviv. It is composed of a complex of buildings arranged around two large courtyards and a third, smaller, courtyard...

 and Sabil Abu Nabbut
Sabil Abu Nabbut
Sabil Abu Nabbut also known as Tabitha's Well is a public fountain in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, constructed during the Ottoman era in Palestine. Its main purpose was to facilitate the journey between Jaffa and Jerusalem....

. During the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine
1834 Arab revolt in Palestine
The 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine was a reaction to conscription into the Egyptian army by the Wāli Muhammad Ali. Ali, as a part of a modernisation policy, began the conscription of ordinary subjects. Traditionally, soldiers were recruited from freebooters, loot-seekers, mercenaries, slaves or...

, Jaffa was besieged for forty days by "mountaineers" in revolt against Ibrahim Pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...


Residential life in the city was reestablished in the early nineteenth century. In 1820 Isaiah Ajiman of Istanbul built a synagogue and hostel for the accommodation of Jews on their way to the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

. This area became known as Dar al-Yehud (Arabic for "the house of the Jew"); and was the basis of the Jewish community in Jaffa. The appointment of Mahmud Aja as Ottoman governor marked the beginning of a period of stability and growth for the city, interrupted by the 1832 conquest of the city by Muhammed Ali of Egypt.

By 1839 at least 153 Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 were living in Jaffa. The community was served for fifty years by Rabbi Yehuda Menachem HaLevi from Ragusa
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

. Shortly after Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 joined them from Europe.
The city's growth resumed after the 1842 return of the Levant to Ottoman rule, courtesy of the combined efforts of the British and French navies. The city walls were dismantled in 1872.
American missionary Ellen Clare Miller, visiting Jaffa in 1867, reported that the town had a population of 'about 5000, 1000 of these being Christians, 800 Jews and the rest Moslems.'

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the population of Jaffa had swelled considerably. A group of Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 left Jaffa for the sand dunes to the north, where in 1909 they held a lottery to divide the lots acquired earlier. The settlement was known at first as Ahuzat Bayit (Hebrew: אחוזת בית), but an assembly of its residents changed its name to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 on 21 May 1910. Other Jewish suburbs to Jaffa were founded at about the same time. In 1904, Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar...

 (1864–1935) moved to Palestine and took up the position of chief rabbi
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

 of Jaffa. In 1917, the Ottoman authorities expelled the entire civilian population
Tel Aviv and Jaffa deportation
The Tel Aviv and Jaffa deportation refers to the forcible deportation of the entire civilian population of Jaffa and Tel Aviv on April 6, 1917 by the Ottoman authorities in Palestine...

. While the Muslim evacuees were allowed to return before long, the Jewish evacuees remained in camps (and some in Egypt) until after the British conquest.

Under the British Mandate

During 1917–1920, there were thousands of Jewish residents in Jaffa. A wave of Arab attacks during 1920 and 1921 caused many Jewish residents to flee and resettle in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. The Jaffa riots
Jaffa riots
The Jaffa riots were a series of violent riots in Palestine on May 1–7, 1921, which began as a fight between two Jewish groups but developed into an attack by Arabs on Jews during which many were killed...

 in 1921, (known in Hebrew as Meoraot Tarpa) began with a May Day
May Day
May Day on May 1 is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures....

 parade that turned violent. Arab rioters attacked Jewish residents and buildings. The Hebrew author Yosef Haim Brenner
Yosef Haim Brenner
Yosef Haim Brenner was a Russian-born Hebrew-language author, one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew literature.-Biography:Brenner was born to a poor Jewish family in Novi Mlini, Russian Empire...

 was killed in the riots. 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. 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. 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
Arab Orthodox
The Arab Orthodox are Arab Greek Orthodox Christian communities which have existed in Greater Syria since the early years of Christianity. During the Palestine Mandate they were prominent in many of the major cities including Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa and Jerusalem and also formed the majority of...

 publisher of Filastin
Filastin (newspaper)
Filastin was a twice-weekly newspaper published from 1911-1948 in Palestine. Published from Jaffa, the principal publishers were Isa al-Isa and his cousin Yusef al-Isa. Both al-Isas were Greek Orthodox, opponents of British administration, and supporters of pan-Arab unity...

, Issa Daoud El-Issa
Daoud Isa
Issa Daoud El-Issa was born in Jaffa, Palestine. As a prominent poet and journalist in Ottoman Palestine he founded the newspaper Filastin with his cousin Joseph...


1947 UN Partition Plan and 1948 War

In 1947, the UN Special Commission on Palestine recommended that Jaffa be included in the planned Jewish state. Due to the large Arab majority, however, it was instead designated as part of the Arab state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...


Following the inter-communal violence which broke out following the passing of the UN partition resolution the mayors of Jaffa and Tel Aviv tried to calm their communities. One of the main concerns for the people of Jaffa was the protection of the citrus fruit export trade which had still not reached its pre-Second World War highs. In February Jaffa's Mayor, Yussuf Haykal, contacted David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 through a British intermediary trying to secure a peace agreement with Tel Aviv. But both Ben Gurion's Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 and the commander of the militia in Jaffa were opposed.

At the beginning of 1948 Jaffa's defenders consisted of one Brigade of around 400 men organised by the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...


On 4 January 1948 the Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 detonated a truck bomb outside the 3-storey 'Serrani', Jaffa's Ottoman built Town Hall, killing 26 and injuring hundreds. The driver was reported to be wearing the uniform of the Royal Irish Fusiliers
Royal Irish Fusiliers
The Royal Irish Fusiliers was an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation of the 87th Regiment of Foot and the 89th Regiment of Foot in 1881. The regiment's first title in 1881 was Princess Victoria's , changed in 1920 to The Royal Irish Fusiliers...


On April 25, 1948, Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 launched an offensive on Jaffa. This began with a mortar bombardment which went on for three days during which twenty tons of high explosive were fired into the town. On April 27 the British Government, fearing a repetition of the mass exodus from Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 the week before, ordered the British Army to confront the Irgun and their offensive ended. Simultaneously the Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 had launched Operation Chametz which over-ran the villages East of Jaffa and cut the town off from the interior.

The population of Jaffa on the eve of the attack was between 50,000 - 60,000, with some 20,000 people having already left the town. 'Then a strange phenomenon was revealed before our eyes: the mass flight from Jaffa. Arab civilians and a variety of "Arab" fighters suddenly began to leave the town in panic'. By 30 April there were 15,000 - 25,000 remaining. In the following days a further 10,000 - 20,000 people fled by sea. When the Haganah took control of the town on May 14 around 4,000 people were left. The town and harbour's warehouses were extensively looted. The remaining Arab residents were forced into the Ajami
Ajami, Jaffa
Ajami is a neighborhood in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel, situated south of Old Jaffa and north of the Jabaliyya neighborhood on the Mediterranean Sea.- History :...

 neighborhood, surrounded by barbed wire, where martial law was in effect for a year.

Initially, the mayor of Jaffa, Yousef Heikal, told the residents not to leave. He left the country for three days. Upon his return, he reported that Jaffa would soon be occupied by the Jews and he was leaving with his family. According to an old-time resident, "People then started to leave by ships and trains. All the routes to the Arab countries were opened, and people could leave for free. The Arab countries were responsible. After a week there was nothing left but cats and dogs. We few families who stayed went to live in the orange groves."

Boundary demarcation of Tel Aviv-Jaffa

The boundaries of Tel Aviv and Jaffa became a matter of contention between the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli government during 1948. The former wished to incorporate only the northern Jewish suburbs of Jaffa, while the latter wanted a more complete unification. The issue also had international sensitivity, since the main part of Jaffa was in the Arab portion of the United Nations Partition Plan, whereas Tel Aviv was not, and no armistice agreements had yet been signed. On 10 December 1948, the government announced the annexation to Tel Aviv of Jaffa's Jewish suburbs, the Arab neighborhood of Abu Kabir
Abu Kabir
Abu Kabir was a satellite village of Jaffa founded by Egyptians following Ibrahim Pasha's 1832 defeat of Turkish forces in Ottoman era Palestine. After Israel's establishment in 1948, the area became part of Tel Aviv...

, the Arab village of Salama and some of its agricultural land, and the Jewish 'Hatikva' slum. On 25 February 1949, the abandoned Arab village of Sheikh Muanis
Al-Shaykh Muwannis
Al-Shaykh Muwannis was a small Palestinian Arab village in the District of Jaffa in British Mandate Palestine located approximately 8.5 kilometers from the center of Jaffa city in territory earmarked for Jewish statehood under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.The village had...

 was also annexed to Tel Aviv. On 18 May 1949, the Arab neighborhood of Manshiya and part of Jaffa's central zone were added, for the first time including land that had been in the Arab portion of the UN partition plan. The government decided on a permanent unification of Tel Aviv and Jaffa on 4 October 1949, but the actual unification was delayed until 24 April 1950 due to concerted opposition from Tel Aviv's mayor Israel Rokach
Israel Rokach
Israel Rokach, Honorary CBE was an Israeli politician, Knesset member, and mayor of Tel Aviv from November 15, 1936 to April 13, 1953.-Biography:...

. The name of the unified city was Tel Aviv until 19 August 1950, when it was renamed as Tel Aviv-Yafo in order to preserve the historical name Jaffa.


In the 19th century, Jaffa was best known for its soap industry. Modern industry emerged in the late 1880s. The most successful enterprises were metalworking factories, among them the machine shop run by the Templers
Templers (religious believers)
Templers are members of the Temple Society , a German Protestant sect with roots in the Pietist movement of the Lutheran Church. The Templers were expelled from the church in 1858 because of their millennial beliefs. Their aim was to realize the apocalyptic visions of the prophets of Israel in the...

 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. Most of the newspapers and books printed in Palestine were published in Jaffa.

In 1859, a Jewish visitor, Dr L.A. Frankl, found sixty-five Jewish families living in Jaffa, 'about 400 soul in all.' Of these four were shoemakers, three tailors, one silversmith and one watchmaker. There were also merchants and shopkeepers and 'many live by manual labour, porters, sailors, messengers, etc.'

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. From the 1880s, real estate became an important branch of the economy. A 'biarah' (a watered garden) cost 100,000 piastres and annually produced 15,000, of which the farming costs were 5,000: 'A very fair percentage return on the investment.' Water for the gardens was easily accessible with wells between ten and forty feet deep.
Jaffa's citrus industry began to flourish in the last quarter of the 19th century. E.C. Miller records that 'about ten million' oranges were being exported annually, and that the town was surrounded by 'three or four hundred orange gardens, each containing upwards of one thousand trees'. Shamuti oranges were the major crop, but citrons, lemons and mandarin oranges were also grown. Jaffa had a reputation for producing the best pomegranates.


Modern Jaffa has a heterogeneous population of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jaffa currently has 46,000 residents, of whom 16,000 are Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

 and 30,000 are Jews. The majority of the Arab population lives in the renewed southwestern neighborhood of Ajami
Ajami, Jaffa
Ajami is a neighborhood in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel, situated south of Old Jaffa and north of the Jabaliyya neighborhood on the Mediterranean Sea.- History :...


Socioeconomic 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
Amidar (Company)
Amidar is a state-owned housing company in Israel.The company was founded in 1949. Its mission statement is "to be involved in construction projects, development, population and maintenance in Israel"...

 government-operated public housing company. Amidar representatives say the residents are illegal squatters. The 2010 film Port of Memory explores these themes, following the lives of Palestinians inhabiting the area, staving off expulsion. The Tel Aviv municipality had been accused of trying to erase the city's Arab past. In the early 1950s, many Arabic street names were replaced by Hebrew names.


Al-Bahr Mosque, overlooking the harbor, is depicted in a painting from 1675 by the Dutch painter Lebrun
Lebrun or Le Brun may refer to:*Charles Le Brun , French painter*Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun , French lyric poet*Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance , French statesman...

. It may be Jaffa's oldest existing mosque, although the original date of construction is unknown and changes to the structure have been made since then, such as the addition of a second floor and reconstruction of the upper part of the minaret. It was used by fishermen and sailors frequenting the port, and residents of the surrounding area. According to local legend, the wives of sailors living in Jaffa prayed there for the safe return of their husbands. The mosque was renovated in 1997.

Mahmoudia Mosque was built in 1812 by Abu Nabbut, governor of Jaffa from 1810-1820. Outside the mosque is a water fountain (sabil) for pilgrims. Nouzha Mosque on Jerusalem Boulevard is Jaffa's main mosque today.

Urban development

From the 1990s onwards, efforts have been made to restore Arab and Islamic landmarks, such as the Mosque of the Sea and Hassan Bek Mosque
Hassan Bek Mosque
The Hassan Bek Mosque , , also known as the Hasan Bey Mosque, is considered to be one of the most well-known mosques located in Jaffa, which is now part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality in Israel...

, and document the history of Jaffa's Arab population.
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. The municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is currently working to beautify and modernize the port area.


The Clock Square with its distinctive clocktower was built in 1906 in honor of Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

. The Saraya (governor's palace) was built in the 1890s. St. Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church, Jaffa
St. Peter's Church is a Franciscan Church in Jaffa, part of Tel Aviv, in Israel.-Ottoman period:...

 is a Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 church and hospice built in the 19th century on the remains of a Crusaders
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 fortress; Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 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. Immanuel Church
Immanuel Church (Tel Aviv-Yafo)
Immanuel Church is a Protestant church in the American–German Colony in Tel Aviv, Israel. Today it serves a Lutheran congregation of the Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel ....

, built 1904, serves today a Lutheran congregation with services in English and Hebrew. Andromeda rock is the rock to which beautiful Andromeda
Andromeda (mythology)
Andromeda is a princess from Greek mythology who, as divine punishment for her mother's bragging, the Boast of Cassiopeia, was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. She was saved from death by Perseus, her future husband. Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek Ἀνδρομέδη...

 was chained in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

. The Zodiac alleys are a maze of restored alleys leading to the harbor. Jaffa Hill is a center for archaeological
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 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
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 factory, and reopened as a synagogue for Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n Jewish immigrants after 1948. In 1995, it became a museum. Jaffa Lighthouse
Jaffa Light
Jaffa Light is a lighthouse in Jaffa, Israel. It is located on a hilltop above the old Jaffa Port. It operated between 1865 and 1966, although it is still used as a daylight navigation aid....

 is an inactive lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

 located in the old port.

Jaffa Museum

The Jaffa Museum is located in an 18th century Ottoman building constructed on the remains of a Crusader
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 fortress. In 1811, Abu Nabout turned it into his seat of government. In the late 19th century, the governmental moved to the "New Saraya," and the building was sold to a wealthy Greek-Orthodox family who established a soap factory there. Since the 1960s, it has housed an archaeological museum.


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 by 50 cm or 19.7 by 19.7 in) engraved with a menorah discovered on Tanchum Street is believed to be the door of a tomb.


Jaffa is served by the Dan Bus Company
Dan Bus Company
Dan Bus Company is an Israeli bus company based in Tel Aviv. It operates local bus service in the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area as well as some intercity bus services between the Gush Dan area and nearby regions such as Samaria, and a connection between Bne Brak and Jerusalem. Dan operates 1,200...

, which operates buses to various neighborhoods of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 and Bat Yam. The Red Line
Red Line (Tel Aviv Light Rail)
-External links:****...

 of the planned Tel Aviv Light Rail will cross Jaffa north to south along Jerusalem Boulevard. Jaffa Railway Station
Jaffa Railway Station
Jaffa Railway Station was a railroad station in Jaffa, the first railway station in the Middle East, that served as the terminus for the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway...

 was the first railway station in the Middle East. It served as the terminus for the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway
Jaffa–Jerusalem railway
The Jaffa–Jerusalem railway is a railroad that connected Jaffa and Jerusalem. The line was built in Ottoman Palestine by the French company Société du Chemin de Fer Ottoman de Jaffa à Jérusalem et Prolongements and inaugurated in 1892, after previous attempts by the Jewish philanthropist Moses...

. The station opened in 1891 and closed in 1948. In 2005-2009, the station was restored and converted into an entertainment and leisure venue.

Cultural references

Clash of the Titans (1981 film)
Clash of the Titans (1981 film)
Clash of the Titans is an American 1981 fantasy–adventure film involving the Greek hero Perseus. It was released on June 12, 1981 and earned a gross profit of $41 million domestically, on a $15 million budget , by which it was the 11th highest grossing film of the year. A novelization of the film...

is set in ancient Joppa. The 2009 Oscar-nominated film Ajami
Ajami (film)
Ajami is a 2009 Arab/Jewish collaboration drama film. Its plot is set in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa.-Overview:Written and directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani , Ajami explores five different stories set in an actual impoverished Christian-and-Muslim Arab neighborhood of the Tel...

is set in modern Jaffa.

Notable residents

  • Asma Agbarieh
    Asma Agbarieh
    Asma Agbarieh-Zahalka is an Israeli Arab journalist and political activist who heads the Organization for Democratic Action party. She is the only Israeli Arab woman to head a political party.-Biography:...

     (born 1974), Israeli Arab journalist and political activist
  • Shmuel Yosef Agnon
    Shmuel Yosef Agnon
    Shmuel Yosef Agnon , was a Nobel Prize laureate writer and was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. In Hebrew, he is known by the acronym Shai Agnon . In English, his works are published under the name S. Y. Agnon.Agnon was born in Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire...

     (1888–1970), Nobel Prize-winning author
  • Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
    Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
    Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was a historian, Labor Zionist leader, the second and longest-serving President of Israel.-Biography:...

     (1884-1963), historian, Labor Zionist leader, and President of Israel
  • Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche
    Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche
    Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche was one of the founders of Tel Aviv, an entrepreneur, businessman and industrialist.-Early life:Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche was born in Jaffa. His father, Aharon Chelouche, one of the prominent figures of the local North African Jewish community, was a goldsmith, money changer...

     (1870–1934), one of the founders of Tel Aviv; businessman
  • Joseph Constant
    Joseph Constant
    Joseph Constant was a Franco-Russian sculptor and writer of Jewish origin. As a sculptor, he adopted the name "Joseph Constant", as a writer he used the pseudonym "Michel Matveev".-Biography:...

     (1892–1969), sculptor and writer
  • Ismail al-Faruqi
    Ismail al-Faruqi
    Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi was a Palestinian-American philosopher, widely recognised by his peers as an authority on Islam and comparative religion. He spent several years at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, then taught at several universities in North America, including McGill University in Montreal...

     (1921–86), Palestinian-American philosopher
  • Lea Gottlieb
    Lea Gottlieb
    Lea Gottlieb is an Israeli swimwear fashion designer. She emigrated to Israel from Hungary after World War II, and founded the Gottex company.-Early life:...

     (born 1918), Israeli founder and fashion designer of Gottex
    Gottex is an Israeli swimwear manufacturer. It is America's top imported swimsuit label.-History:Gottex was founded in 1956 by Lea Gottlieb, a new immigrant from Hungary who adapted her expertise as a raincoat manufacturer to create a pioneering swimsuit company.She sold her wedding ring for...

  • Victor Norris Hamilton
    Victor Norris Hamilton
    Victor Norris Hamilton , a Palestine-born American cryptologist, defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. He was rediscovered in a mental hospital in Russia in 1992, where he had been for 20 years.-Early life:...

     (born c. 1919), Palestine-born American cryptologist
  • J. E. Hanauer
    J. E. Hanauer
    James Edward Hanauer was an author, photographer, and Canon of St. George's Cathedral in Palestine. A descendant of Swiss and Jewish peoples, he was born in Jaffa and moved to Jerusalem at an early age...

     (1850–1938), author, photographer, and Canon of St George's church
  • Yizhar Harari
    Yizhar Harari
    -Biography:Harari was born in Jaffa, then under Ottoman rule. He studied political science and journalism at the University of Paris and then law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and economics and political science in London, and was certified as a lawyer. In 1933, he worked as a journalist...

     (1908–1978), Zionist activist and Israeli politician
  • Nadia Hilou
    Nadia Hilou
    Nadia Hilou is an Arab-Israeli politician, who served as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party between 2006 and 2009. She was the second female Israeli Arab MK after Hussniya Jabara, and also the first female Christian MK.-Biography:...

     (born 1953), Arab-Israeli politician
  • Raja El-Issa (1922–2008), Palestinian journalist
  • Michel Loève
    Michel Loève
    Michel Loève was a French American probabilist and a mathematical statistician, of Palestinian Jewish origin. His name is known to probabilists and statisticians because of the Karhunen–Loève theorem and Karhunen–Loève transform.Michel Loève was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1907, during the Ottoman...

     (1907–79), probabilist and mathematical statistician
  • Haim Ramon
    Haim Ramon
    Haim Ramon is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1983 and 2009, and as both Vice Prime Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office with responsibility for state policy.-Biography:...

     (born 1950), Israeli politician
  • Sasha Roiz
    Sasha Roiz
    Sasha Roiz is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Sam Adama in the science fiction television series Caprica. In addition to a recurring role in the Science fantasy series Warehouse 13, in 2011 he began a regular role in the TV series Grimm.-Early life:Roiz was born in Tel...

     (born 1973), Canadian actor
  • Yosef Sapir
    Yosef Sapir
    Yosef Sapir was an Israeli politician and Knesset member of the 1st to 7th Knessets. He served as head of the General Zionists and was a founding member of the Gahal party....

     (1902–72), Israeli politician
  • Rifaat Turk (born 1954), Arab-Israeli football player and manager, and deputy mayor of Tel Aviv

See also

  • Ajami, Jaffa
    Ajami, Jaffa
    Ajami is a neighborhood in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel, situated south of Old Jaffa and north of the Jabaliyya neighborhood on the Mediterranean Sea.- History :...

  • Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Victims of Jaffa
    Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Victims of Jaffa
    Bonaparte Visits the Plague Stricken in Jaffa is an 1804 painting commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte from Antoine-Jean Gros to portray an event during the Egyptian Campaign...

  • County of Jaffa and Ascalon
    County of Jaffa and Ascalon
    The double County of Jaffa and Ascalon was one of the four major seigneuries comprising the major crusader state, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin.-History:...

     (under the Crusaders
    The Crusaders are a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Christchurch that competes in the Super Rugby competition. They are the most successful team in Super Rugby history with seven titles...

  • Jaffa Harbor

External links

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