Kafr Sabt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kafr Sabt
Kafr Sabt is located in Mandatory Palestine
Kafr Sabt
Kafr Sabt
Arabic كفر سبت
Name meaning "Village of Saturday"
Also spelled Kafar Sabt
Subdistrict Tiberias
Coordinates 32°44′36.88″N 35°26′26.84″E / 32.7435778°N 35.4407889°E / 32.7435778; 35.4407889Coordinates: 32°44′36.88″N 35°26′26.84″E / 32.7435778°N 35.4407889°E / 32.7435778; 35.4407889
Population 480[1] (1945)
Area 9,850[1] dunams

9.9 km²

Date of depopulation April 22, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Influence of nearby town's fall
Current localities Sdeh Ilan,[3] Ilaniya Sharona

Kafr Sabt (Arabic: كفر سبت‎) was a Palestinian Arab village of nearly 500 situated on a sloping plain in the eastern Lower Galilee located 10.5 kilometers (6.5 mi) southwest of Tiberias.


While Palestine was part of the Roman Empire, Kafr Sabt was known as Kafar Shabtay.[4] Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi mentions the village in 985, while under Abbasid rule as being "between Tiberias and Ramla, situated near 'Akabah (the Pass above) Tiberias.[5] He says that it belonged to Caesarea and was large, populated, and had a mosque on its main street.[6]

The Crusaders called it "Cafarsset" when they conquered the Levant in the twelfth century.[4] Saladin led his Ayyubid army from the Jordan River to Kafr Sabt, approximately 8 miles (13 km) from his camp along the Sea of Galilee. Kafr Sabt, located on a high plateau bordering the Horns of Hattin, served as a strategic position for Saladin's army since there he could threaten Tiberias to the rear, Sepphoris in the front, the Crusader lines of communications between the two strongholds, and his army could easily retreat down the slopes if necessary.[7] He encamped in Kafr Sabt before he led his army to their decisive victory at the Battle of Hattin.[8][9] Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi passed through the village in the thirteenth century while Kafr Sabt was in Ayyubid hands.[4]

Kafr Sabt was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and by 1596, it was under the administration of the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Tiberias, part of Sanjak Safad. A population of 160, it paid taxes on wheat, barley, cotton, beehives, and goats.[10] In the late nineteenth century, it grew to be a stone-built village with 300 inhabitants.[11] Under the British Mandate of Palestine from 1922 to 1948, Kafr Sabt housed members of the Bedouin tribe of 'Arab al-Mashariqa who lived in tents. In 1945, the population reached 480,[1] and all of the villagers were Arab Muslims. Agriculture was the main economic sector with the primary crops being grain and fruit orchards.[4]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Kafr Sabt's inhabitants fled on April 22, as a direct result of the capture of Tiberias, four days before, to the Haganah — the army of Israel. In 1949, two Jewish settlements, Ilaniya and Sharona feuded over possession of Kafr Sabt's lands, with the former arguing that they deserved compensation for early Arab attacks on their town, while the latter also had designs for it, and took it by force. The Agriculture Minister of Israel intervened ordering Sharona's farmers to retreat.[4] According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi,

Piles of stone and stone terraces provide the main indications that the village once occupied the site. Cactuses and a few scattered trees grow among the rubble on the village site. The lands around the site are planted in grain, fruit trees, and almond trees.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hadawi, 1970, p.72
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xvii village #101. Also gives the cause of depopulation
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xxii settlement #179, 1949
  4. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p.526.
  5. ^ al-Muqaddasi quoted in le Strange, 1890, p.471.
  6. ^ al-Muqaddasi quoted in Dabbagh, p.647. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.526.
  7. ^ Lyons, 1984, p.256.
  8. ^ Lyons, 1984, p.257.
  9. ^ Lyons, 1984, p.259.
  10. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, p.188. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.526.
  11. ^ Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener: The Survey of Western Palestine. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1881, I, p.360. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.526.


External links[edit]