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Ijzim is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic إجزم
Also spelled Ikzim[1]
Subdistrict Haifa
Coordinates 32°38′41″N 34°59′17″E / 32.64472°N 34.98806°E / 32.64472; 34.98806Coordinates: 32°38′41″N 34°59′17″E / 32.64472°N 34.98806°E / 32.64472; 34.98806
Population 2,970 (1945)
Date of depopulation 24-26 July 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Kerem Maharal[3]

Ijzim (Arabic: إجزم‎) was a Palestinian village located in the Haifa Subdistrict of British Mandate Palestine, 19.5 kilometers south of the city, that was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Many of its Arab inhabitants ended up as refugees in Jenin after a group of Israeli special forces composed of members of the Golani, Carmeli and Alexandroni Brigades attacked the village in Operation Shoter on 24 July 1948.[4]

Families from Ijzim include the Madis, the Nabhanis and the Alhassans with the majority of the families derived from the Bani Nabhan tribe. Collectively, they owned over 40,000 dunams (40 km²) of land and were considered one of the richest villages in Palestine.[5]


Ottoman rule[edit]

In 1596 Ijzim was a village in the nahiya of Shafa (liwa' of Lajjun), with a population of fifty-five. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and olives as well as on other types of produce, such as goats and beehives.[6]

Ijzim was the primary seat the Banu Madi family and the largest locality in the region during part of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century. The "area of origin" of the Madi family was the coastal region south of Carmel and the Western slopes of Jabal Nablus.[7] At the time, the Banu Madi were the most influential family in Southern Galilee and on the coast.[8] The heyday of the family appears to have been in the period between the end of Jazzar Pasha´s rule (1804) and the Egyptian occupation (1831). Mas'ud al-Madi was the governor of Gaza at the time of the Egyptian invasion. He lost his life because of his participation in the anti-Egyptian uprising in 1834,[9] while other clan members were put to prison and some were able to flee to Constantinople. After the return of the Ottomans, some family members were appointed as shaykhs or governors in Ijzim, Haifa, and Safad.[10] Yet by 1850's the al-Madi family of Ijzim no longer constituted a local power like some families of Nablus or Hebron.

In 1859 Ijzim was visited by the British Consul Rodgers, who estimated 1,000 inhabitants, who cultivated 64 feddans of land.[11]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

Ijzim was one of the three villages in the Little Triangle that blocked the Jewish transportation in the main Tel Aviv-Haifa Highway for many months during the 1948 war.[5] Jewish forces had twice attempted to capture the village unsuccessfully. Their third attempt on the 24 July 1948 involved the use of cannon fire and air strikes in a fierce battle that lasted two days.[5]

With the conquest of Ijzim, the majority of the villagers either were expelled or fled. The majority ended up in the Jenin area, on the other side of the armistice lines drawn in 1949.[5] Others took refuge in the nearby Druze village of Daliyat al-Carmel. There were several dozen people from Ijzim that were allowed to remain in their homes due to connections they enjoyed with influential Jews.[5] These individuals continued to work their fertile land, sending the agricultural produce to Haifa. They were registered in the first Israeli census and received Israeli identity cards.[5]

In December 1948, the Jewish protectors of the residents of Ijzim and the Haifa district military commander had a dispute over the villagers' continued presence there.[5] It was decided that the villagers that had remained in Ijzim could stay and those who had taken refuge in Daliyat al-Carmel would be permitted to return.[5] However, the district commander later went back on his word and ordered the eviction of the villagers, who then took shelter in the nearby village of Fureidis.[5]

Meron Benvenisti submits that one of the considerations leading to the eviction of the inhabitants of Ijzim was the interest of settlement agency officials in turning Ijzim into an immigrant moshav.[5] In the summer of 1949, just a few months after the villagers had been evicted, a moshav made up of immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Romania was established in Ijzim.[5]

Unlike many other depopulated Palestinian villages where new permanent Jewish settlements were built adjacent to the houses of the former Arab villages, which were then demolished, the homes of Ijzim were maintained for habitation by the new immigrants.[5] The al-Madi family's luxurious seventeenth-century madafeh was transformed into a museum and then the home of a Jewish family, the village school became a synagogue, and the village cemetery, a public park.[5] The large village mosque, constructed in the nineteenth century, was left to fall into dereliction.[5]

Some of the villagers of Ijzim attempted to hold onto their land, living for a few years in tin-roofed shacks and other temporary structures.[5] However, all of them — with the exception of one family — finally broke down and agreed to exchange their land holdings in Ijzim for building plots in the village of Fureidis.[5] The one Arab family that withstood the pressure to leave continues to live in its own house beside a sacred spring called Sitt Maqura, where today both Arabs and Jews come to pray and light candles.[5]

One of the former houses of Ijzim is presently occupied by Ami Ayalon, former head of Shin Bet, Israel's secret service.[12]

Andrew Petersen, an archaeologist specializing in Islamic architecture, surveyed the village in 1994, and described two larger structures; the mosque and the "castle".[13]

People from Ijzim[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 146
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XVIII, village #167. Morris also gives cause(s) of depopulation.
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XXII, settlement #119.
  4. ^ "Welcome to Ijzim". Palestine Remembered. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Meron Benvenisti (2000), Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948, University of California Press, pp. 207–208, ISBN 0-520-21154-5 
  6. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter 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. 158. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 164
  7. ^ Schölch, 1993, p.182
  8. ^ See Rogers, E. T. Notices of the Modern Samaritans, Illustrated by Incidents in the Life of Jacob Esh Shelby, gathered from him and translated by Mr. E. T. Rogers, (London, 1855), p.31, and others, quoted in Schölch, 1993, p. 182.
  9. ^ Rustum, Asad Jibrail: "New Light on the Peasants ´Revolt in Palestine April-September, 1834," JPOS 10 (1934), pp.11-15, quoted in Schölch, 1993, p.182
  10. ^ Mauhammad al-Madi was governor of Haifa as late as 1855, (Public Record Office, London, Foreign Office, Series 78 (1853-1883), vol 1120 (Sidon, 29 September 1855), quoted in Schölch, 1993, p.182
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP II p.41. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.164
  12. ^ Pappe, 2006, p.164
  13. ^ Petersen, 2002, p. 152-154


External links[edit]