Jisr az-Zarqa

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Jisr az-Zarqa
  • גִ'סְּר א-זַּרְקָא
  • جـِسـْر الزرقاء
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259 Ǧissr ˀa-Zárqaˀ
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
 • Type Local council
 • Head of Municipality Az-Adin Amash
 • Total 1,520 dunams (1.52 km2 or 380 acres)
Population (2014)[1]
 • Total 13,689
Name meaning Bridge over the Blue

Jisr az-Zarqa (Arabic: جِسْر الزَّرْقَاء‎‎, Hebrew: גִ'סְּר א-זַּרְקָא lit. bridge over the blue; often shortened as Jisr) 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 13,689 in 2014,[2] living on 1,500 dunams (1.5 km2) of coastal land. [3] 80% of residents reportedly live below the poverty line.[4] 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.


Jisr az-Zarqa is the only remaining Arab town in Israel located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.[5] Before the establishment of the state, it was inhabited by Bedouin of the Ghawarina tribe.[6] 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.[7]

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,[8] and to reduce property crime in surrounding communities.[9] 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.[9][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.[10] 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.[11] In 2013 it was reported that there were efforts to turn the town into a tourist destination[12][13]

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.[14]

Problems of pollution and overfishing in the coastal waters have affected the local economy, and many now work inland. From 20 to 30 buses transport on a daily basis Jisr az-Zarq residents to jobs, mostly menial, in Haifa, Tel Aviv and elsewhere. [15]


Typical sea-view street in Jisr az-Zarqa

The inhabitants of Jisr az-Zarqa are primarily Muslim.

In 2006, the town reportedly had the lowest average monthly wage in Israel.[16][dead link] According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, it also had the highest high school drop out rates in the country, at 12%.[17][18]

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.[19][20] She died on December 22, 2012 at the age of 124.[21]

In 1998, the first multiple kidney transplant in Israel took place between a couple from Jisr az-Zarqa and a Jewish couple from Jerusalem.[22]


The film Al Jiser (2004) by Ibtisam Mara'ana examines the lives of residents of Jisr-az Zarka.[23]

Panoramic view of Jisr az-Zarqa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "לוח 3.- אוכלוסייה( 1), ביישובים שמנו מעל 2,000 תושבים( 2) ושאר אוכלוסייה כפרית Population (1) of localities numbering above 2,000 Residents (2) and other rural population". Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/a-classic-zionist-story-1.295418
  4. ^ "In poor Arab villages like Jisr a-Zarka, poverty and alienation keep people from the polls". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  5. ^ "Overlooked Arab Israeli beach town opens its doors to tourists". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  6. ^ State Lands and Rural Development in Mandatory Palestine, 1920-1948, Warwick P. N. Tyler
  7. ^ Sacred Landscape: CHAPTER FIVE
  8. ^ Caesarea
  9. ^ a b Long Archived January 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Forgotten Arab Israeli Town Gets Chance to Change Eco-Image
  11. ^ Israel's new beach town
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ In an impoverished Israeli Arab town, women are learning the ABCs of leadership, Haaretz
  15. ^ Skylar Lindsay, 'Palestinian fishermen struggle to survive next door to Netanyahu’s palatial suburb,' Mondoweiss 23 September, 2016.
  16. ^ "Settlers earn double the minimum wage and more than the average wage". הגדה השמאלית. 24 August 2006. 
  17. ^ "Jisr al-Zarqa, J'lem, Eilat have highest high school dropout rates". Haaretz. 8 September 2006. 
  18. ^ "Equal opportunity? Not in our school". Haaretz. 27 September 2006. 
  19. ^ Patience, Martin (2008-02-15). "World's 'oldest' person in Israel". BBC News. BBC MMVII. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  20. ^ "120 year-old woman files for identity card". Ynetnews.com. 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  21. ^ "Mariam Amash, possibly world's oldest person, dies age 124 (with video)". Ynetnews.com. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  22. ^ "An Israeli and an Arab showing the way". ArabicNews.com. 13 May 1998. 
  23. ^ Al-Jiser


External links[edit]