Yarkon River

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Yarkon River
Hayarkon IMG 8516.JPG
Country Israel
Cities Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Rosh HaAyin
Source Tel Afek
 - location near Rosh Ha'ayin, Center District, Israel
Mouth Mediterranean Sea
 - location Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv District, Israel
 - coordinates 32°5′45″N 34°46′48″E / 32.09583°N 34.78000°E / 32.09583; 34.78000Coordinates: 32°5′45″N 34°46′48″E / 32.09583°N 34.78000°E / 32.09583; 34.78000
Length 27.5 km (17 mi)

The Yarkon River (Hebrew: נחל הירקון‎, Nahal HaYarkon), also Yarqon River, is a river in central Israel. The source of the Yarkon ("Greenish" in Hebrew) is at Tel Afek (Antipatris), north of Petah Tikva. It flows west through Gush Dan and Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park into the Mediterranean Sea. Its Arabic name, al-Auja, means "the meandering". The Yarkon is the largest coastal river in Israel, at 27.5 km in length.[1]


The Yarkon formed the southern border of the vilayet of Beirut during the late Ottoman period.[1]

The Arabic name of the river, al-Auja ("the meandering one"), is shared with another small stream that flows into the Jordan Valley north of Jericho. During World War I this coincidence led to the term of "the line of the two Aujas" referring to a strategic line connecting the two river valleys and taken by the expeditionary forces of General Allenby during his early 1918 advance against the Ottoman army.[2]

In the Mandatory period, the British government granted the Jaffa Electric Company exclusive rights to generate, distribute, and sell electricity in the District of Jaffa. These rights were delivered through the “Auja Concession”, which was formally signed on September 12, 1921. The Concession had authorized the company to generate electricity by means of hydroelectric turbines that would exploit the water power of the Yarkon River to supply electricity to Jaffa, the smaller neighboring town of Tel Aviv, and other locations within the bounds of the administrative District of Jaffa. Yet the plan to generate electricity by hydroelectric means never materialized, and instead the company designed and built a powerhouse that produced electricity by means of diesel-fueled engines.[3][page needed]

The river became increasingly polluted after the 1950s, many blaming this on the construction of the Reading Power Station which is situated near its mouth.

When the river's headwaters were diverted to the Negev via the National Water Carrier for irrigation purposes, the state of the Yarkon declined. As sewage replaced the flow of fresh water, habitats were destroyed and flora and fauna disappeared. This was exacerbated by continuous discharges of industrial effluents and municipal sewage into the rivers, which allowed algae to multiply.[4]

Nuphar lutea carpet in the upper Yarkon river.

Yarkon River Authority[edit]

In 1988, the Yarkon River Authority was established to revitalize the river and make sections of it suitable for sailing, fishing, swimming and other recreation. Water quality improved after the construction of modern sewage treatment plants in Hod Hasharon and Ramat Hasharon. The river was dredged to restore its original depth and natural flow. River banks were raised and reinforced, hiking and bicycling paths were built, and picnic and fishing areas were developed with the help of contributions from the Australian Jewish community via the Jewish National Fund.[4]

Maccabiah disaster[edit]

On July 14, 1997, four members of the Australian delegation to the Maccabiah Games were killed and 60 injured as a result of the collapse of a temporary pedestrian bridge over the Yarkon. The deaths were eventually traced to a fungal infection caused by aspiration of the heavily polluted water.[5]


  1. ^ a b Weldon C. Matthews (2006) Confronting an Empire, Constructing a Nation: Arab Nationalists and Popular Politics in Mandate Palestine I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1-84511-173-7 p 26
  2. ^ H. S. Gullett (1923). The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, 1914-1918. Sydney: Angus & Robertson Ltd. pp. 487, 542. Retrieved 16 September 2015. Allenby did not hesitate. His original objective had been the "line of the two Aujas" from the Nahr Auja, which falls into the Mediterranean above Jaffa, to the Wady Auja, a little stream which, bursting from springs in the desert foot-hills above the Jordan valley, flows eastwards to the Jordan River about ten miles north of the Dead Sea. 
  3. ^ Shamir, Ronen (2013). Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  4. ^ a b A rural walk through the big cities, Jerusalem Post
  5. ^ Jewish Virtual Library Maccabiah Games

See also[edit]

  • Ayalon River, turned artificially into a tributary of the Yarkon

External links[edit]