The Hebronization of Jaffa

The recent incidents in Jaffa position Jewish settlers as victims in need of protection, reminiscent of the process spearheaded by settlers in Hebron

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Rabbi Mali leaving his yeshiva in Jaffa, the day after the riots last month.
Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, left, leaving his yeshiva in Jaffa, the day after the riots last month.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Daniel Monterescu
Yael Shmaryahu-Yeshurun

The violent incident in Jaffa last month in which two Arab youths from the Amidar housing projects assaulted the head of the Shirat Moshe Yeshiva was a watershed moment in Jewish-Arab relations in the city.

Since the national-religious settlement effort began in Jaffa in 2008, a host of institutions – including Shirat Moshe, the Gar’in Torani group, the Me’irim Be’yafo development organization, pre-military academies, a Bnei Akiva student village, religious seminaries for women and more – have systematically been built there. While in the past this community grew slowly, the recent violent incident there has redefined the rules of the game. The incident essentially constituted the first clash in the public arena between two parallel processes that Jaffa is undergoing: class-based gentrification and expansion of the Jewish presence there.