Jisr az-Zarqa

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Jisr az-Zarqa
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew גִ'סְּר א-זַּרְקָא
 • ISO 259 Ǧissr ˀa-Zárqaˀ
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic جـِسـْر الزرقاء
View of Jisr az-Zarqa
View of Jisr az-Zarqa
Jisr az-Zarqa is located in Israel
Jisr az-Zarqa
Jisr az-Zarqa
Coordinates: 32°32′16.51″N 34°54′44.02″E / 32.5379194°N 34.9122278°E / 32.5379194; 34.9122278Coordinates: 32°32′16.51″N 34°54′44.02″E / 32.5379194°N 34.9122278°E / 32.5379194; 34.9122278
District Haifa
Founded 1963
Government
 • Type Local council
 • Head of Municipality Az-Adin Amash
Area
 • Total 1,520 dunams (1.52 km2 or 380 acres)
Population (2005)
 • Total 11,100
Name meaning Bridge over the Blue

Jisr az-Zarqa (Arabic: جِسْر الزَّرْقَاء‎, Hebrew: גִ'סְּר א-זַּרְקָא lit. bridge over the blue) is an Israeli Arab town on Israel's northern Mediterranean coastal plain. Located just north of Caesarea within the Haifa District, it achieved local council status in 1963. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) the town had a population of 11,100 residents at the end of 2005. The name Jisr az-Zarqa is a reference to Taninim Stream, which is known in Arabic as the "Blue Stream." The mayor is Az-Adin Amash.

History[edit]

Jisr az-Zarqa is the only remaining Arab town in Israel located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Before the establishment of the state, it was inhabited by Bedouin of the Ghawarina tribe.[1]The intervention of Jews from the neighboring towns of Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyamina, who relied on the population of Jisr az-Zarqa for agricultural labor, prevented the dispersal of its population in 1948.[2]

In November 2002, the Caesarea Development Corporation constructed a large earthen embankment running the length of the 160 meter-wide corridor between Jisr az-Zarqa and neighboring Caesarea. The embankment was built to block noise from the muezzin in local mosques, celebratory gunfire,[3] and to reduce property crime in surrounding communities.[4][dead link] Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa claim that the national park in the north, the embankment to the south, the highway to the east and the sea to the west, are keeping the town from expanding.[4][dead link]

The main coastal highway was built without providing an access to the village. However, an new interchange to Jisr az-Zarqa is being planned. The municipality of Jisr az-Zarka is seeking to promote environmental tourism to the town and its beachfront.[5] The Israel National Trail, a cross-country trail that runs from Dan in the north to Eilat in the south, passes through Jisr az-Zarka.[6] In 2013 it was reported that there were efforts to turn the town into a tourist destination[7][8]

In 2011, a women's leadership program was established in the wake of a similar project in the nearby town of Fureidis, to encourage women's participation in political and public leadership positions.[9]

Demographics[edit]

Typical sea-view street in Jisr az-Zarqa

The inhabitants of Jisr az-Zarqa are primarily Muslim. There have also been unverified reports of the existence of a small community of idol worshipers or polytheists, who are the descendants of the ancient Canaanite and Philistine nations.[10]

In 2006, the town reportedly had the lowest average monthly wage in Israel.[11] According the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, It also had the highest high school drop out rates in the country, at 12%.[12][13]

A local resident, Mariam Amash, applied for a new identity card in Hadera in February 2008, using a birth document issued by the Ottoman Empire showing she was born in 1888. If verified by the Guinness Book of World Records, this would have made her the oldest living person in the world at 120.[14][15] She died on December 22, 2012 at the age of 124.[16]

In 1998, the first multiple kidney transplant in Israel took place between a couple from Jisr az-Zarqa and a Jewish couple from Jerusalem.[17]

Culture[edit]

The film Al Jiser (2004) by Ibtisam Mara'ana examines the lives of residents of Jisr-az Zarka.[18]

Panoramic view of Jisr az-Zarqa

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External link[edit]