Eileen and I like to visit Yaffo (Jaffa) which is about a 20 minute drive from our home in Herzliya. Yaffo and its port have a long history spanning over several thousand years. Yaffo has an old fishing harbor, modern boat docks, and a tourism center. Yaffo is a major tourist attraction with an exciting combination of old, new and restored buildings. It offers art galleries, souvenir shops, exclusive restaurants, sidewalk cafes, board walks and shopping opportunities.
The port itself is mentioned in various ancient works, including the Hebrew Bible, such as the Book of Jonah, and the works of Josephus describing Jewish history and the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. For over 7000 years it has been actively used, predating Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Egyptians.
In 1917 during World War I, British troops under General Allenby defeated the Ottomans and took Yaffo, which became part of the British-administered Palestine mandate (1922-1948). In 1947 and 1948 there was sharp fighting between Yaffo, which was largely inhabited by Arabs, and the adjoining Jewish city of Tel Aviv. On the 13th of May 1948 (A day before the proclamation of the State of Israel), the Arab forces in Yaffo were defeated after long fighting with the Zionist underground Haganah and Irgun Zva’i Leumi forces. On April 24, 1950 the Jewish city of Tel Aviv and the Arab city of Yaffo were unified, and the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Municipality was established. Today, Arabs of various denominations constitute about 25,000 inhabitants out of a total of 35,000 people.
One thing for sure, there is a lot of ‘street art‘ in Yaffo…
Put Yaffo on your list of places to visit the next time you are in Israel!