The old Jaffa harbor isn’t really working nowadays, so most of the town action stems from local and foreign tourists coming in for a sublime hummus mesabecha, a gourmet meal or a tour around centuries-old structures. It’s also where Tel Avivians head when they need services on the cheap, be it from an artisan or an accountant.
Jaffa’s attractions just don’t seem to end, with the old Jaffa port, the historical site named Hatachana Complex, the Clock Tower, Zodiac Alleys, Mahamoudia Mosque and many more. You can easily spend a week here, eating good seafood, gorging on the best Humus in Israel, and feel hundreds of miles away from central Tel Aviv.
Old Jaffa has become one of TA’s most popular tourist attractions, filled with, studios, art galleries and artists’ quarters. Shops selling archaeology, jewelry, art, and Judaica line its narrow and pleasant alleys. Old Jaffa is a quaint town filled with romantic paths for couples looking for a special night out, or gardens for families wandering around.
It wasn’t that long ago that Jaffa was all that stood here, while Tel Aviv wasn’t even a spot on the Jewish people’s radar. Jaffa has been one of the major port cities of the Mediterranean Sea for eons. Most archeologists believe that some kind of town existed on these parts ever since 7,000 years ago, and that this town had an active port since the Bronze Age.
Jaffa’s open sore is the Israeli War of Independence (1948), which saw most of the Arab population flee the battle scene and/or participate in the fight against Israel. They were then not allowed to return once the war ended. After Israeli independence, all of Jaffa’s suburbs were annexed into Tel Aviv, and when Jaffa joined in the city changed its official name to Tel Aviv-Yafo (Yafo is Hebrew for Jaffa).
Jaffa’s current 54,000 residents are a heterogeneous population, huddled together during the course of a tumultuous history: 40,000 are Jews (74%) and 14,000 (26%) are Arabs citizens of Israel. The majority of the Arab population lives in the renewed southwestern neighborhood of Ajami. The Arab population is made up of a Muslim majority and a Christian minority.
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