Jaffa Clock Tower

Attractions Memorial
SITE OVERVIEW

The Jaffa Clock Tower is built of limestone and incorporates two clocks and a plaque commemorating the Israelis killed in the battle for the town in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It is one of seven clock towers built in Ottoman Palestine. The others are located in Safed, Acre, Nazareth (though that one is significantly smaller), Haifa, and Nablus. Jerusalem also had a clock tower built during the Ottoman period, but the British Field Marshal Sir Edmund Allenby, demanded its destruction as he would not see such a clear Ottoman symbol resting on the city wall of Jerusalem, for which he had much emotions.

The construction of the tower was initiated by Joseph Bey Moyal, a prominent Jewish businessman from Jaffa. He was also the mind behind the Jerusalem – Jaffa train line. The construction was made possible with contributions from all the communities of Jaffa, Arabs, Armenians, Maronites and Jews. The watch mechanism itself was done by Moritz Schoenberg, a Jewish clock-maker from Rishon LeZion who also built a few stores in the adjacent Negib Bustros St. (now Raziel St.). The official goal was to commemorate the silver jubilee of the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, however, the local community had a lot to gain, as Jaffa was going through a rapid process of modernisation and urbanisation, and the building of the clock tower helped develop the vibrant and well-functioning centre of town alongside the market, the bank and many new offices and shops. The construction was carried out by Baruch Papirmeister from Rishon LeZion, who studied architecture in Germany, hence the German style of the tower.

The cornerstone was laid in September 1900 and a year, two floors were built and the construction of a third floor had begun. In 1903, the clock tower had been erected and Schoenberg designed and installed four clocks at its top. In 1965 or 1966, the Jaffa Clock Tower was renovated; two new clocks were installed and colorful stained glass windows describing the history of Jaffa designed by Arie Koren were added.

Image attribution:
Jorge Láscar from Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons;
Noam.armonn, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons;
Shaharkalaora, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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