The monumental New Saray (government palace) was built towards the end of the 19th century to replace the Old Saray that was situated within the dense fabric of Old Jaffa. The New Saray was built just outside the city walls in an area that was named Sakinat al-Dawla (from Arabic: "The Neighborhood of the State"/"The Place of Government") and included a wide plaza, al-Mahmudiyya Mosque, and the kishle (prison). A few years later an exuberant clock tower was added in front of the New Saray, in the middle of the plaza.
The New Saray, designed by the architect Baruch Peppermeister and donated by the dignitaries and rich inhabitants of the city, bestowed a sense of order and grandeur with its tall neo-classical façade and its wide stairs leading to the main entrance. Preceding the main gate to the Old City walls it was one of the first buildings to welcome the travelers arriving to Jaffa from the sea or land.
In the beginning of 1948 a truck full of explosives was set off next to the New Saray. Tens of people were killed, tens were wounded, and the building was almost entirely destroyed. The attack was carried over by the radical militant Jewish organization, Lehi ("Fighters for the Freedom of Israel"), claiming that the building was used as the headquarter of a military Arab organization that threatened the safety of the Jewish population in Tel-Aviv. The building was never reconstructed.
Or, Even, Peder, Shimon and Shaham, Zvi. 1988. Midrakhon Yafo: Madrikh leSiyur Azmi. Tel Aviv: Israel Museum.
Petersen, Andrew. 2001. A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine: Part 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 174.