Jisr az-Zarqa, Israel – Jisr az-Zarqa is the only existing coastal Arab village in Israel.
It is the poorest village in Israel, with 80 percent of its families living below the poverty line. A third of the local residents are unemployed, crime rates are among the highest in Israel, and the percentage of college graduates is among the lowest in Israel’s Arab population.
This is a stark contrast to neighboring Caesarea, one of Israel’s richest towns (and home of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), just minutes down the beach from Jizr.
Neta Hanien and Ahmad Juhais are working together to change all that by introducing the first hostel, Juha’s Guesthouse, to attract tourism to this village untouched by the outside world. In just over a year they have achieved international media recognition for their efforts and have inspired hope within the village.