From Despair to Hope - Walking Tours of Jaffa’s “Absentee Properties”


The threat of evictions dangles by a thread over the heads of approximately 1000 Arab families in Jaffa. These families have endured ongoing hardship while living in these apartments for decades, with protected tenant status in properties held by the Amidar housing agency as “absentee properties.” Now, the authorities seek to evict the residents from these apartments so they can be put up for sale, and the residents are completely unable to compete with the offers of real estate kingpins and domineering developers.

Joining together with local activists and a broad coalition of groups working in Jaffa, we organized walking tours during Ramadan, co-led by Arab and Jewish residents of Jaffa neighborhoods. The outpouring of interest in the tours was uplifting. Dozens and dozens showed up to meet the residents facing eviction, to learn about their struggle, and to break bread together at a joyous Iftar (Ramadan break-fast). One purpose of the tours was to make a public statement: we support, we believe in, and we commit to a joint Jewish-Arab future. The eviction threat still looms large and we will keep up the fight, alongside the coalition and activists, shoulder-to-shoulder with the residents, until justice is won. 

The organizers of the tours include:

Kulna Yafa (We Are All Jaffa); al-Rabita - the Association for Jaffa’s Arabs; Sadaka-Reut; Zazim; Anachnu ha-Ir (We the City); and the New Israel Fund.

Photo Credit: Sarit Michaeli