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Biblical Joppa. Situated on a steep rocky promontory 116 feet above the sea, it was Israel‘s oldest seaport and the natural outlet for Jerusalem, with whose fate it was linked. King Hiram of Tyre floated the cedars of Lebanon down to Jaffa for the building of Solomon’s Temple. From Jaffa the prophet Jonah set out for Tarshish. Although allotted to Dan during the conquest of Canaan, Jaffa did not become a Jewish city until after the Maccabean victory. Ships from Jaffa played a part in the Bar Kokhba insurrection against Rome. Jaffa figures in the history of the Crusades and in Napoleon’s invasion. Its modern Jewish community dates to the early 19th century. Jaffa remained, however, an Arab town with a Jewish minority until it was captured by Israel in 1948 and incorporated into Tel Aviv. Most of the Arabs fled, leaving only 4,000 behind. The city has become a center for the new Jewish immigrants. The “Jaffa orange” developed in the coastal area of Israel is internationally famous.

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