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Biriyya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic بيريّا
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 32°58′46.82″N 35°29′51.43″E / 32.9796722°N 35.4976194°E / 32.9796722; 35.4976194Coordinates: 32°58′46.82″N 35°29′51.43″E / 32.9796722°N 35.4976194°E / 32.9796722; 35.4976194
Population 240[1] (1945)
Area 5,579[1] dunams
Date of depopulation May 2, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces

Biriyya (Arabic: بيريّا‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 2, 1948 by The Palmach's First Battalion of Operation Yiftach. It was located 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) northeast of Safad. Today the Israeli moshav of Birya includes the village site.


The village stood on the southern slope of a high hill that overlooked the city of Safad, 1.5 kilometres to the southwest, and faced Mount al-Jarmaq, to the west. At the bottom of the slope ran a deep wadi and between Biryya and Safad lay agricultural land that was crossed by a highway linking to the main city and nearby towns and villages.[3]

Biriyya is believed to have been built on the site of the Roman village of Beral or Bin, which was also a Jewish town during the first century A.D.[3] In 1596, Biriyya was a village in the nahiya of Jira (liwa’ of Safad) with a Muslim population of 38 families and 3 bachelors, and a Jewish population of 16 families and 1 bachelor.[4] The 1596 census revealed they paid taxes on crops such as wheat, barley, and olives and other types of produce and owned beehives, vineyards, and a press that was used for processing olives.[3]

By the late nineteenth century, Biriyya has declined in population somewhat into a farming village of around 100 to 150 Muslims.[5] According to a 1945 British survey, it had a population of 240 Muslims and a total of 328 dunums llocated to cereals and 53 dunums for irrigation for use in the orchards.[6] The villagers sold their products at the market in nearby Safad.[3]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

On May 1, 1948, the Palmach's First Battalion captured Biriyya.[7] According to a New York Times report, the villagers began to evacuate the city by themselves following its capture.[3]

In 1993, about 15 houses remained of the old village and were occupied by residents of Birya.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hadawi, 1970, p.69
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvi village #54. Also gives the cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p.440
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, p175
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.196. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.440
  6. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p.118
  7. ^ Morris, 2004, p.220


External links[edit]