Often on a holy land tour to Israel, one of the first picturesque views of an ancient city will be that of Jaffa situated on a natural harbor atop a hill on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and only minutes from Tel Aviv. This ancient port city is the oldest municipality in Israel, and famous for being mentioned in the bible stories of Solomon, Jonah, and Peter.
The city was strategically located in the center of Israel, with an ancient coastal road that connected the region north of Israel to Mesopotamia, Asia, and Syria, and to the south to Egypt. Several of our Christian Israel tours include touring in Jaffa or give leisure time in Tel Aviv where you can explore and walk through the narrow passages of Old Jaffa, see St. Peter Church and take a spectacular view of Tel Aviv shoreline from Jaffa Hilltop.
Perhaps one of the more significant biblical stories of Jaffa is the mention of the port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for the building of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 2:15) "And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom, and Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon, and we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem." Other biblical stories include as one of the cities that were given to the Hebrew Tribe of Dan (Book of Joshua 19:46), as the place where the prophet Jonah embarked sailing to Tarshish (Jonah 1 3). A great storm threatened the safety of the ship, and the mariners threw him overboard, an he was swallowed by a whale, "and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."Eventually, Jonah agreed to do as commanded by the Lord, so he was "vomited out upon dry land," and then went to Ninveh to complete the mission. Jaffa was also port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for the Second Temple of Jerusalem (Book of Ezra 3:7). Jaffa is mentioned as well in the Book of Joshua as the territorial border for the Tribe of Dan, and where the modern term "Gush Dan" for the center of the coastal plain comes from. Many descendants of Dan lived along the coast and earned their living from ship-making and sea navigating. In the "Song of Deborah" the prophetess asks: "Why doth Dan dwell in ships." In the New Testament account of St. Peter's resurrection of the widow Tabitha (Dorcas, Gr.) written in (Acts 9:36 –42) takes place in Jaffa. The bible relates that while Peter was in Jaffa (Acts 10:10 –23), he had a vision of a large sheet filled with "clean" and "unclean" animals being lowered from heaven, together with a message from the Holy Spirit to accompany several messengers to Cornelius in Caesaria.
With all this ancient and biblical history in Jaffa such as the house of Simon the tanner, it’s a highly recommended visit during your holy land tour of Israel. In recent years the Jaffa has made many renovation’s, becoming a viable tourist destination where tourist can walk in the narrow alleys of the old city, visit the artist’s galleries, shops, museums such as the Ilana Goor art museum, and antique shops where you can find the perfect travel souvenir.