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Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew אעבלין
 • ISO 259 ʔiˁblin
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic إعبلين
Village ibillin.jpg
I'billin is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°49′20.64″N 35°11′31.77″E / 32.8224000°N 35.1921583°E / 32.8224000; 35.1921583Coordinates: 32°49′20.64″N 35°11′31.77″E / 32.8224000°N 35.1921583°E / 32.8224000; 35.1921583
District Northern
 • Type Local council
 • Total 18,000 dunams (18 km2 or 7 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total 12,275

I'billin (Hebrew: אעבלין‎, Arabic: إعبلين‎)[2] is an Arab town in the Northern District of Israel, near Shfaram.[3] In 2012, the population was 12,275.[1] 'Ibillin was granted municipal status in 1960. The municipality's area is 18,000 dunams. The town has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians.


Drawing of Akil Agaa, from William Francis Lynch book The Narrative of the United States Expedition of the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. Published in 1849
I'billin: Melkite Church of the Sermon on the Mount, completed in 2006

Archaeological excavations in the centre of the village has indicated a continuous inhabitation from the Iron Age (9th century BCE) to the Mamluk period (14th century CE).[4]

Nasir Khusraw visited the place in 1047 C.E.: "From Damum we passed south to another village, called A'bilin, where there is the tomb of Hud -peace be upon him! -which I visited. Within the enclosure here is a mulberry tree, and there is likewise the tomb of the prophet Uzair -peace be upon him! -which I also visited."[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1799, I'billin was marked Obellin on Jacotin’s map surveyed during Napoleon's invasion.[6]

The population in 1859 was stated by Consul Rogers to have been 800 souls, and the tillage fifty feddans.[7]

In 1875, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village. He estimated the population at 600, divided equally between Moslems and "Greek Christians", the latter subdivided into United Greeks and "Schismatic Greeks". He noted that the latter had a church dedicated to St. George.[8]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as "A village on high ground with gardens beneath it on the south, and a spring ('Ain 'Afieh) about half a mile to the south. There is a minaret to the mosque which is a conspicuous object. This mosque and a wall to the town are said to have been built by el Hajj Yusef, one of the family of the Zeidaniyin, according to an Arabic inscription on the wall of the mosque. The houses in the village are principally of stone; wells occur south of the hill, with olives near them. Some of the inhabitants are Greek Christians."[7]

The village is sacred to Catholics as the birthplace of Mariam Baouardy, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1983.[9]

Akil Aga, a Bedouin sheikh from Egypt who ruled the area, built a fortress in Ibillin.[10] He is buried in the village, as well as the family of Dhaher el-Omar.

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, I'billin had 528 Christians and 289 Muslims, a total population of 817.[11] In the 1931 census 'Arab El Hujeirat was counted together with I'billin, and the census found 663 Christians and 453 Muslims, a total 1116 persons, in 192 houses.[12]

In 1945 the population of I'billin was 1,660, all Arabs, who owned 18,632 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[13] 2,367 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 8,628 used for cereals,[14] while 95 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[15]

1948, and aftermath[edit]

I'billin was captured by the Israeli army during the first phase of Operation Dekel, 8-14 July 1948.[16] Most of the Muslim population were expelled and replaced by Christians from neighbouring villages.[17] The town was regularly searched for people who were not registered in the November 1948 census. On 8 January 1949 villagers from I'billin were amongst a group of 128 men, women and children, who were expelled into the West Bank at 'Ara.[18] The town remained under Martial Law until 1966.


Mar Elias educational campus

In 1965 Abuna Elias Chacour, an Arab Christian from Kafr Bir'im, later Archbishop of Galilee, established a school open to all local children, regardless of religious affiliation. This developed into the Mar Elias Educational Institutions, an educational complex consisting of a kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, high school, college and university. The educational complex is located on Jabal al-Ghoul (Hill of Demons), on property belonging to the Melkite Church. The hill has been renamed Jabal al-Nour (Hill of Light).[19]

"Mar Elias University" was established in 2003, claiming to be the first Arab university in Israel, though it is not officially holding a University status. It is recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel as a campus and operates as a branch of the University of Indianapolis in the United States.[19]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Locality File" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ From a personal name, according to Palmer, 1881, p. 105
  3. ^ Kashti, Or (2008-09-08). "Mar Elias schools: Investing in excellence". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  4. ^ Abu Raya, 2012, ‘Ibillin Preliminary Report
  5. ^ Nasir Khusraw quoted in le Strange, 1890, p. 382.
  6. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 162
  7. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 269
  8. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 420 -421, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 270
  9. ^ The Carmelite Web Site - O.Carm. at the Wayback Machine (archived May 18, 2008)
  10. ^ Sailors in the Holy Land. Naval Institute Press. 2005. p. 120. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-District of Haifa, p. 33
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 91
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 48
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 90
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 140
  16. ^ Morris, 1987, p. 198
  17. ^ Pappe, 2006, p. 159
  18. ^ Morris, 1993, p. 145
  19. ^ a b "On campus at Ibillin". Mec.sahrat.net. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 


External links[edit]