Acre (Hebrew: עַכּוֹ, is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel
at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited
sites in the country.
Historically, it was a strategic coastal link to the Levant. In 2009, the population
was 46,300. Acre is a mixed city, 72 percent Jewish and 28 percent Arab.
An ancient Hebrew legend tells that the sea flooded the world and when it reached
the shore of Acre it stopped short, as is written in the Book of Job (38:11) “Hitherto
shalt thou come, but no further.”
In the legend, the Hebrew words “Ad po” [Hitherto] become “Ad ko,” and, hence, Akko
Acre was captured by Israel on May 17, 1948, displacing about three-quarters of the
Arab population of the city (13,510 of 17,395). Throughout the 1950s many Jewish
neighbourhoods were established at the northern and eastern parts of the city, as
it became a development town, designated to absorb numerous Jewish immigrants, largely
Jews from Morocco.
The old city of Akko remained largely Arab Muslim (including several Bedouin families),
with Arab Christian neighbourhood in close proximity.
The city also attracted Bahá'í worshippers, some of whom became permanent residents
in the city, where the Bahá'í Mansion of Bahjí is located.
In the 1990s the city absorbed thousands of Jews, who immigrated from the Soviet
Union and later from Russia and Ukraine. Within several years, however, the population
balance between Jews and Arabs shifted backwards, as northern neighbourhoods were
abandoned by many of its Jewish residents in favour of new housing projects in nearby
Nahariya, while many Muslim Arabs moved in (largely coming from nearby Arab villages).
Nevertheless, the city still has a clear Jewish majority (72 percent).