From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Az-Zakariyya, pre-1926[1]
az-Zakariyya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic زكرية
Name meaning "Zachariah"
Also spelled al-Zakariya
Subdistrict Hebron
Coordinates 31°42′30.13″N 34°56′49.85″E / 31.7083694°N 34.9471806°E / 31.7083694; 34.9471806Coordinates: 31°42′30.13″N 34°56′49.85″E / 31.7083694°N 34.9471806°E / 31.7083694; 34.9471806
Population 1,180[2] (1945)
Area 15,320[2] dunams

15.3 km²

Date of depopulation June, 1950[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Expulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localities Zekharia

Az-Zakariyya or Zakaria (Arabic: زكرية‎) was a Palestinian Arab village 25 km northwest from the city of Hebron (al-Khalil) in the Hebron Subdistrict, which was depopulated in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The village had a population of 1,180 on 15,320 dunums in 1945. The village was named in honor of the prophet Zachariah.


The village was located on a hill approximately 275 meters above sea level.[4] Situated on the northwest side of Wadi Sûr, Tell Zakariya lies on the other side of the valley.[5] The village lay next to the road between Bayt Jibrin and the Jerusalem-Jaffa highway. The streams of Wadi Ajjur and al-Sarara were located a few kilometers north of the village.[4]


A town called Caper Zacharia existed there in Roman times. According to legend, the body of the prophet Zachariah was found here in 415 C.E. and a church and monastery were established.[6] The village was under the administrative jurisdiction of Bayt Jibrin. During the Mamluk era, the village was a dependency of Hebron, and formed part of the waqf supporting the Ibrahimi Mosque.[7]

In the 1480s C.E. Felix Fabri described how he stayed in a "roomy inn", next to a "fair mosque" in the village.[8]

In 1517, Az-Zakariyya was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596 the village appeared in the Ottoman tax registers listed as Zakariyya al-Battikh under the administration of the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Quds (Jerusalem), part of the Sanjak of Quds. It had a population of 47 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, beehives, and goats.[9]

A German traveler to Palestine in the 19th century records its name as Kefr Zakaria.[5] A makam (shrine) in the village dedicated to the prophet Zechariah was noticed by Edward Robinson in 1838.[10] In the late 19th century Zakariyya was described as sitting on a slope above a broad valley surrounded by olive groves.[11]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Zakaria had a population of 683, all Muslim,[12] increasing in the 1931 census to 742, still all Muslims, in 189 occupied houses.[13] In 1944/45 a total of 6,523 dunums of village land was allocated to cereals, while 961 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 440 dunums were planted with olive trees.[14][15]

1948 and aftermath[edit]

In the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Az-Zakariyya was the longest lasting Arab community in the southern Jerusalem Corridor.[16] The village was defended by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab Liberation Army and local militiamen, who were defeated by the Israel Defense Forces on October 23, 1948. In the course of Operation Yoav, the 54th Battalion of the Givati Brigade, found the village "almost empty", as most of the residents had fled to the nearby hills. Two residents were executed by Israeli soldiers.[16] In December 1948 the army evicted about 40 "old men and women" to the West Bank.[17] In March 1949 the Interior Ministry requested the eviction of "145 or so" remaining villagers: the official in charge of the Jerusalem District said there were many good houses in the village which could be used to accommodate several hundred new immigrants.[18] In January 1950 David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett and Yosef Weitz decided to evict the villagers, "but without coercion."[19] On March 19, 1950 the transfer of the Arabs of Zakariya was approved and the order was carried out on June 9, 1950.[20]

The manner of expulsion of the villagers is not mentioned.[21] Some of the villagers moved to Ramla and Lod, becoming internally displaced Palestinians, while others ("perhaps the majority") settled in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank.[20]

In 1950 Moshav Zekharia was established on the village land, close to the village site.[21]


Mosque of Az-Zakariyya, 2011

During the 1960s, most of the buildings in the village were destroyed as part of a national program to "level" abandoned villages.[22]

In 1992, Walid Khalidi described the remaining structures: "The mosque and a number of houses, some occupied by Jewish residents and others deserted, remain on the site. Large sections of the site itself are covered with wild vegetation. The mosque is in a state of neglect and an Israeli flag is planted on top of the minaret. [..] One of the occupied houses is a two-storey stone structure with a flat roof. Its second story windows have round arches and grillwork. Parts of the surrounding lands are cultivated by Israeli farmers."[21]


The village was known for its Palestinian costumes. A wedding dress from Zakariyya (ca. 1930) is part of the collection in Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) at Museum of New Mexico at Santa Fe.[23]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 206
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p.50
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village # 295. Also gives the cause for depopulation
  4. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 224-225
  5. ^ a b van de Velde, 1858, p. 115.
  6. ^ Petersen, 2001, p. 320
  7. ^ al-'Ulaymi, 1876, p. 230-1. Cited and translated in Petersen, 2001, p. 320
  8. ^ Fabri, 1893, p.427
  9. ^ Wolf-Dieter Hütteroth and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 120. 
  10. ^ E. Robinson and E. Smith (1856). Biblical Researches in Palestine, and in the Adjacent Regions. A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838 II. Crocker and Brewster. p. 16. 
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, SWP, 1883, III p.27. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 225
  12. ^ J. B. Barron, ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine. Table V, Sub-district of Hebron, p. 10. 
  13. ^ E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 34. 
  14. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p.94
  15. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 225
  16. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. 521
  17. ^ Fourth Brigade \Intelligence, "Daily Summary 18.12.48, 19. Dec. 1948, IDFA 6647\49\\48. Quoted in Morris, 2004, p. 521
  18. ^ A. Bergman, cited in Morris, 2004, p.521
  19. ^ Entry for 14 Jan. 1950, Weitz, Diary, IV, p. 69. Cited in Morris, 2004, p. 521
  20. ^ a b Mordechai Bar-On, officer in charge of the eviction. Quoted in Morris, 2004, p. 521
  21. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 226
  22. ^ Arnon Shai (2006). "The Fate of Abandoned Arab Villages in Israel, 1965-1969". History and Memory 18 (2): 86–106. 
  23. ^ Stillman, 1979, p. 60.


External links[edit]