jaffa women

Jaffa women at the protest march a week ago. The situation in Jaffa is very complicated and the impetus for this march came from many things, but was sparked when local community leaders saw religious Jews from a newly-established yeshiva marching and, so people told me, lobbing stones at a mosque during prayers. So easy to think this march was a simple case of “Jews v. Arabs”. But it’s more complex. Even within Jaffa communities there is enormous diversity of culture, religion and class. Jaffa’s Arabs are Muslims, Eastern Catholics, Orthodox, Maronites; there are Jews from many different cultures and countries, there are secular and all shades of religious people. There is poverty here although there are big gaps between rich and poor. There are conflicts within these societies as well as between them but there is much consensus within and between them too, and a lot of work has been done by local people to improve community relations in Jaffa. A lot of the public anger is about people from outside Jaffa moving into the area and threatening that delicate balance.