and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish—Jonah 1:3
Against the barriers of linguistic discrimination, the title of this article forms an alliteration also in Hebrew; Judaizing Jaffa is “Yehud Yafo.” Alliteration is useful for emphasizing an important idea. Imagine how valuable Jaffa* has to be to enjoy such an attention.
Where do the Rockefellers live?
For many years, rich Jewish Israelis living in Tel Aviv, favored northern neighborhoods, especially Ramat Aviv and Afeka.** At a certain moment, rich suburbs like Savion, and neighborhoods in Ramat HaSharon and Hertzeliya robbed the thunder from the big city.
About 20 years ago, an exclusive project named “Andromeda Hill” was constructed in Jaffa. In the large picture at the center of this page, the Andromeda Rock (this is the place enjoyed by Andromeda from Greek Mythology) can be seen at the bottom left. The massive building in front of it is Andromeda Hill; an apartment costs around $2 million. The project changed the image of the area, which is mainly Palestinian and humble.
The construction was accompanied by the renovation of the commercial areas of Old Jaffa and its connection with the Tel Aviv Promenade. Overnight, the area started to prosper while its denizens found themselves pushed out, unable to cope with the costs of living in their hometown.
Since then, the Judaizing of Jaffa became a hot topic, to the extent that Palestinian residents are taking desperate legal steps to keep the identity of the area. Yet, they lack the financial means to keep the identity of the hill.
“Old Jaffa,” as the downtown area is known, occupies a pretty hill with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It features a friendly port with excellent fish restaurants, several churches and mosques, restored alleys featuring art galleries, museums, and several tourist traps. The squalid fish at the restaurants are expensive; luckily, the Abulafia Bakery nearby provides some of the best baked delicacies in the country.
The area includes cemeteries, in the Muslim one, mass graves of Palestinians dating back to 1948 were recently discovered. The non-Jewish sites are being now targeted for purchase and demolition. On June 3, 2013, the Hebrew headlines blared: “From Nuns to Millionaires.” The Jewish Rockefellers move to Jaffa.
Old Jaffa, Andromeda Rock on the bottom left
Starwood’s “W” Conquers PalestineThe headlines were misleading. They weren’t about nuns that got rich and decided to transform their monastery into a penthouse. They weren’t even proper news. The heart of the item had been published in the first week of April, when American Starwood announced that it would build one of its exclusive W Hotels on the site now occupied by the French Hospital in Jaffa. The reason for the blaring headlines was the beginning of the construction works in the site, which includes the demolition of the monastery and hospital.
The project will include a 6-storey hotel and a residential area. The first will have 125 rooms, the latter 38 apartments, beginning at a price of almost $2 million. The 544 square meters (+ 24 square meters balcony) penthouse is being offered for 58 million shekel, roughly $16 million. The nuns are unlikely to purchase it after it is inaugurated in 2015. Starting at $350 per night, the nuns are also unlikely to stay at the hotel until they can buy back their church. The project is built by John Pawson, a British architect, together with Rami Gil, the Israeli architect who designed the Jaffa Port restoration.
Everything in the Holy Land is multilayered. This project is not different. The awesome French Hospital and Monastery was built in 1879, providing an amusing Gothic touch to the neighborhood. It sits above structures dating two millennia. Now, history is being deleted by Zionist hotels. The architects claimed that “key features” of the French structure and the old basement would be adapted into the new hotel. The published plan shows that to be an overstatement. The “key features” would be buried under the new monster.
Ancient Greece had an empire that run all the way to India; modern Greece is little more than an IMF slave. The Roman Empire occupied land between Gibraltar and Iraq; modern Italy can barely afford spaghetti for lunch. Zionists are rich, so rich that they could buy independence in a Middle Eastern bastion. Yet, even they know that this is nothing but a temporary stronghold. What better testimony that their choosing to build a transitory hotel in their latest purchase?
* Tel Aviv is quite different from the picture most international readers probably have in mind. Mostly, the city is confused with its metropolitan area, namely “Gush Dan,” “Dan’s Block” in Hebrew. The latter is comprised of seven towns, and is surrounded by several others. With a total population of roughly three million people, this is the largest urban area in the Holy Land. Tel Aviv is at the center–on a north to south axis–of the area and at its western edge, next to the sea. Formally, the city is a consolidation of Tel Aviv and Jaffa; by combining the two cities, the Israeli administration avoided having a Palestinian town at the center of its largest metropolis. Jaffa is an astonishing place; Andromeda—from Greek mythology—was attached to a prominent rock still in place. Prophet Jonah began his trip in Jaffa’s Port; the town is also mentioned in the New Testament.
Its unlikely neighbor—Tel Aviv—was founded in 1909. Tel Aviv name means “Hill of Spring” and refers to a place in pagan Babylon; strange choice for Zionists preaching “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” From 1933 onwards, German architects escaping the Nazi regime arrived at the young city and built its center in what is known as “Bauhaus Style.” In 1949, Tel Aviv, which started as Jewish neighborhoods surrounding Palestinian Jaffa, swallowed its mother-city becoming Tel Aviv-Yafo. Denizens were not allowed to vote on the dramatic and pretty illegitimate step decided by the Zionists. “Yafo” is the Hebrew name, it appears several times in the Bible. Yafa (sometimes transliterated Jaffa) is the Arabic one. It reached the West through the Greek translation of the Bible; thus it can be found written as Jóppe, Japho, and Joppa. Regardless the script, the name means “Beautiful,” and it refers to one of the prettiest spots along the Mediterranean coast of the Holy Land.
** Afeka is one of the richest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. It lacks the shiny splendor of Ramat Aviv ‘C’ and other tower-plagued enclaves owned by the nouveau riche, but the secluded low houses leave no doubt that the people living there are veteran millionaires, because land is worth a fortune in the over-crowded Holy Land. Its quiet streets are located next to the highway leading to the airport; Israeli millionaires always have valid exit tickets and are ready to leave at the first sign of trouble.
In the early morning, a visitor would see a peculiar sight: African and Filipino domestic workers rushing to buy fresh bread. The Zionist dream was built by Palestinian construction workers and is maintained by foreign workers from Nigeria, the Phillipines, Romania, Turkey, Nepal and Thailand.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.