Jaffa

Jaffa, in Hebrew Yafo and also called Japho or Joppa, the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv-Yafo, is an ancient port city in Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical stories of JonahSolomon and Saint Peter as well as the mythological story of Andromeda and Perseus, and later for its oranges.

The town was mentioned in Egyptian sources and the Amarna letters as YapuMythology says that it is named for Yafet (Japheth), one of the sons of Noah, the one who built it after the Flood. The Hellenist tradition links the name to Iopeia, or Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda. An outcropping of rocks near the harbor is reputed to have been the place where Andromeda was rescued by Perseus. Pliny the Elder associated the name with Iopa, daughter of Aeolus, god of the wind. The medieval Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi referred to it as Yaffa. The tell of Jaffa, created through the accumulation of debris and landfill over the centuries, made the hill even higher.

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, the Arab village of Salama and some of its agricultural land, and the working class Jewish area of Hatikva. On 25 February 1949, the depopulated Arab village of Sheikh Muanis, on the opposite (northeast) side of Tel Aviv from Jaffa, 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. 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

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