The Hassan Bey mosque was built by the last Ottoman governor of Jaffa in 1916 in the newly emerging neighborhood of Manshiyya facing the new Jewish suburb, later city, of Tel Aviv. In the aftermath of the 48 War the Arab community of Jaffa declined from 70,000 to a meager and devastated community of roughly 3,500 people. Jaffa, the bride of Palestine (‘Arus Filastin’), and its intellectual center, thus became an obsolete and decaying suburb of the relatively new Jewish city of Tel Aviv. As part of the new urban plans launched by the new state of Israel massive appropriation of Arabs’ real estates and lands was underway. Hassan Bey mosque thus became part of a new urban plan which was destined to develop the area into the new urban CBD. During the 1970’s and 1980’s the mosque became the center of a lengthy public and legal debate as it was supposed to be leased to be used as a tourist shopping center. The struggle over the mosque ended when the Muslim community of Jaffa gained access to the mosque and religious activity was restored therein. The exploration into the developments concerning this site engages with pertinent issues of our project: enchanted places, marginality and socio-political struggle through the sacred and the constructions of new landscape of religiosity in Israel.
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