The Sidni Ali Mosque
The Sidna Ali Mosque has existed since the 11th century, and is a tomb and a khan used by Muslims as a place of prayer and worship also at present. The Mosque yard holds the burial place of the Muslim saint Ali Ibn Ullim, who was, according to Muslim tradition, a Muslim soldier who died in a battle with Christian Crusaders near Apollonia at around 1250.
Tradition has it that Ali did not want a roof above his grave, and indeed, any roof that was built over it eventually collapsed.
The Phoenicians who settled the area in the late ancient Israeli period founded the city port of Arshuf, named after Reshef, the god of light and fire, which is nowadays located near the Sidna Ali Beach.
The current mosque structure was built in 1481, during the Mamluk period. Arabs used to come to the site to hold a folk festival at the end of the watermelon season.
In 1948 the place was deserted together with the Muslim village that used to exist next to it. In 1990 the mosque was handed back to the Muslims. The site was renovated and is currently an active place of worship.
The building that stands out the most in the complex was built by the British as a costal police station, and was equipped with a radar to detect ships with Ma’apilim, Jewish immigrants brought into Israel illegally.
That radar detected the Ma’apilim ship Berl Katznelson, which arrived to the shores of Israel on November 23, 1945. Military forces were sent to the landing area, and they arrested several of the Jewish immigrants and members of the Palmach who hadn’t managed to get to safety in time.
Following this incident, it was decided to attack and blow up the British coastal Police stations at Sidan Ali and Giv’at Olga. This operation took place on November 25, 1945. However, the British rebuilt the facility in a short time.