City of Oranges: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa by Adam LeBor - review by John Sweeney

John Sweeney

A Lost World

City of Oranges: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa


Bloomsbury 357pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Hungover after a hard night on the tiles in Tel Aviv, it has become a habit of mine to walk down the beach, past the high-rise shoebox hotels, the pseudo Miami Beach with its roller-skaters, sand dudes, kite surfers and demi-monde of fashionable lefty/don't-give-a-damn Israel, to Jaffa.

Here, the soothing stone of the old Ottoman port calms the mind. The finger of the minaret of the mosque by the sea is a reminder of the old dispensation, of the time before April 1948 when Jaffa was a city of 100,000 Palestinian Arabs. Only a few thousand remain.

To the north, a symbol of much that feels wrong about the modern world, is the Sheraton Hotel, a concrete shrine to modernity and Americana, its gardens built – I read somewhere – on the site of an old Muslim cemetery. To the south, a fishing port, old stone houses.

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