(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tourists joined local residents in Jaffa’s Old City on Friday and Saturday as
the city played host to a two-day festival celebrating Palestinian
The Palestinian folklore and culture festival was held at the
Elsaraya Theater in Jaffa’s Old City, and included booths selling traditional
foods and arts & crafts.
Inside the theater’s cobblestone hallways, a
book fair featured books in Arabic, English and Hebrew, as well as a bazaar
offering traditional Palestinian clothes.
Friday evening’s events
included a performance of the play Cappuccino in Ramallah and a showing of
Jaffa, a film directed by Israeli Eyal Sivan. Saturday saw the screening of
Haemet, a short film directed by Ajami director Skandar Copti, and of the movie
One of the festival’s organizers, Jaffa resident Muhammad Jabali,
said it was held out of a desire to increase the presence of Arab culture in the
“We want to increase the cultural presence of local Jaffans in
the Old City. We are the only Old City in the Middle East where there are no
Arabs. Every year, the gentrification and development pushes us further and
further from the sea, and eventually all of us will be in Lod and
Jabali added that celebrations of Palestinian culture don’t have
to be relegated to the West Bank but can find a home for expression in the Tel
Aviv area as well.
“One of the ideas for the festival was to return Jaffa
to being one of the centers of Palestinian culture. We wanted to show that it’s
possible to have a Palestinian cultural festival in the Old City of Jaffa
without having to be afraid of how it will be viewed.
“Culture is not
something to be afraid of.”