Jisr Al Zarka
Jisr az-Zarqa, or "The Blue Bridge", is an Arab settlement in the Haifa District of Israel, and the only one in Israel that is located on the seashore. Jisr was declared a local council in 1961.
Jisr az-Zarka is located on a limestone strip on the Mediterranean coast. The western section of the Taninim River separates Jisr al-Zarqa from the Taninim Natural Reserve to the north of which lies Kibbutz Maagan Michael. To the west Jisr borders with the Mediterranean Sea, to the south with Caesarea. and to the east with Highway 2 (Haifa-Tel Aviv Highway).
Jisr az-Zarka is named after the bridge located above the Taninim River which was built for Emperor Wilhelm II during his visit to Palestine in 1898. The name of Nahal Taninim in Arabic is "Wadi az-Zarqa" (the Blue River), hence the name of the settlement.
The first inhabitants of Jisr were about 80 families of the Shehab and Najar clans who came to the Land of Israel from Sudan (then part of Egypt) together with the Muhammad Ali armies in 1834. To these families joined the clans of Jarban and Amash, Bedouin from the Arab tribes of Al-Rawarna, that migrated from the Jordan Valley to settle next to the Kabara swamps. Back then, Jisr residents made their living from fishing in the swamps and the in the Mediterranean Sea, from pottery made of the soil of the swamp, and from the making of mats from the cattails and cane plants.
Jisr al-Zarqa between the roots of history, the beauty of the site, and the bitterness of reality.
The place we live in polishes us and tells our story and history. This wonderful place called "Jisr Al-Zarqa", the only steadfast Arab village on the coast with many unique landmarks. We believe that there is a special and unique story for her. Therefore
We wanted to emphasize this distinction, originality and rich history of this town through the attached time -line
Arab - Muslim
About 15,000 residents live in Jisr az-Zarqa. There are two HMOs, a community center, a number of schools, and a commercial center in Jisr.
It is ranked 2 out of 10 according to the socio-economic index of the Israeli CBS. The percentage of pupils entitled to a matriculation certificate among the twelfth grade pupils in 2014-2015 was 16.7%.
The average monthly wage of employees in Jisr in 2014 was 4,613 NIS (compared to a national average of 8,465 NIS). Over 50% of the residents are younger than the age of 19. In 2009, Jisr had an official unemployment rate of 30%. Higher education rates are one of the lowest among the Arab population in Israel. However, teaching is a very popular vocation, and Jisr is the main supplier of female labor force for household services to factories and hospitals in the area. Still, many residents would like to develop the tourism industry based on the touristic attractions in Jisr such as the Taninim River, the Fisherman's Village, the beautiful beach, and the Israel Trail that crosses Jisr. In addition to these , in 2013 a tourist hostel was opened in Jisr.
The coastal area of Jisr enjoys a rich natural environment, but it only has a limited access. At the beach, a small fishing dock and boats are located. However, today, the percentage of those engaged in fishing among the residents is very low.
The access road to Jisr t is to the east, from Highway 4, via a bridge that runs over Highway 2 in the northern part of Jisr and through a passage under it in the center of Jisr. In addition, an embankment that separates Caesarea from Jisr al-Zarqa was established by residents of Caesarea in 2002. These access barriers prevent the community from growing and developing appropriately and in accordance to their needs.
Photography competition "Local Portrait", 2019
Photo by: Sarah Bernstein
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