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Not to be confused with Pekin.
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew פְּקִיעִין
 • ISO 259 Pqiˁin
 • Also spelled Peqi'in (official)
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic البقيعة
PikiWiki Israel 8862 spring square in pekiin.jpg
Official logo of Peki'in
Peki'in is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°58′27″N 35°19′53″E / 32.97417°N 35.33139°E / 32.97417; 35.33139Coordinates: 32°58′27″N 35°19′53″E / 32.97417°N 35.33139°E / 32.97417; 35.33139
District Northern
 • Type Local council
 • Total 3,565 dunams (3.565 km2 or 1.376 sq mi)
Population (2013)
 • Total 5,200
Name meaning The little valley (between mountains)[1]

Peki'in (alternatively Peqi'in) (Hebrew: פְּקִיעִין) or Buqei'a (Arabic: البقيعة‎), is a Druze town with local council status in Israel's Northern District. It is located eight kilometres east of Ma'alot-Tarshiha in the Upper Galilee. In 2013, the population was 5,200.[2]


Classic antiquity[edit]

According to the Talmud, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Elazar ben Shimon, hid in a cave from the Romans for 13 years after the collapse of the Bar Kochba rebellion against Roman rule. According to the story, Rabbi Shimon and his son lived off spring water and the fruit of a miraculous carob tree during their years of hiding, and passed the time by studying Torah.[3]

Peki'in is frequently mentioned in historical sources in reference to the Jewish community that existed there almost continuously since the Second Temple period.[4]

Ottoman period[edit]

Jews of Peki'in, c. 1930

In 1596, Peki'in appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Akka of the Liwa of Safad. It had a population of 77 Muslim households and 7 Muslim bachelors and 79 Jewish households. It paid taxes on a special product (called dulab harir), occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives, a press for olives or grapes, and jizya.[5]

The French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village and described it as: "The population at present number 600—Druzes, United Greeks, Schismatic Greeks, and a few Jewish families, who pretend to descend from the ancient inhabitants of the country. Every year in the summer several hundreds of Jews come here from Tiberias to pass the hot season. Most of these Jews came originally from Europe, and are happy in finding here the last indigenous scions of the ancient national stock. ... At Bukeiah, thanks to the two springs which issue from the hill-side, they cultivate on the slopes and almost to the bottom of the valley delicious gardens, watered by numerous streams. Here grow, on different terraces, kept up by great walls, probably ancient, fruit-trees of all kinds, such as citrons, oranges, pomegranates, figs, quinces, and mulberries. The vine flourishes marvelously, as is shown by the enormous trunks. The United Greeks have a little church, which I found shut; the Schismatic Greeks also have one which has replaced a much more ancient Christian sanctuary. Only a few cut stones and the trunk of a column remain of it.The Jews worship in a synagogue of modern date."[6]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "A good village, built of stone, containing a chapel and a synagogue. There are about 100 Moslems, 100 Christians, 100 Druzes, and 100 Jews. It is situated on the slope of tine hill, with gardens, figs, olives, pomegranates, and arable land.

There is a good spring in the village, and two springs near. This is the only place where Jews cultivate the ground. They say it has descended to them from their fathers from time immemorial."[7]

British Mandate era[edit]

In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Al Buqai'a had a population of 652; 70 Muslims, 63 Jews, 215 Christians and 304 Druse,[8] while in the 1931 census, El Buqei'a had 190 occupied houses and a total population of 799; 71 Muslims, 52 Jews, 264 Christians and 412 Druse.[9]

In 1936, Arab riots forced the Jews of Peki'in to leave their homes for safer parts of the country; only a few of them later returned.[4]

In 1945 the population was 990, all Arabs, owning 10,276 dunams, while Jews owned 189 dunams, and 3,731 was publicly owned, according to an official land and population survey.[10] Of this, 1,598 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 3,424 for cereals,[11] while 40 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[12]

State of Israel[edit]

Druse women of Peki'in, 2011

In July 2006, Peki'in was hit by Katyusha rockets launched by Hezbollah, causing significant damage to homes and orchards.[13]

In October 2007, riots broke out after the installation of a cellular antenna due to concerns that such antennas have been linked to an increase in cancer. Riot police fired bullets and gas grenades, which further angered the residents, who burned down the house of a Jewish family living in the village.[14] In December 2007, the last Jewish family left the town after their car was torched.[15] Only Margalit Zinati, a descendant of a Mustarabim family, has remained there to keep alive the memory of the town's vanishing Jewish heritage.[4]

In 2011, the Israeli government approved an aid program of NIS 680 million ($184M) for housing, education and tourism upgrades in Peki'in and other Druze communities in northern Israel.[16]

Education and culture[edit]

The Druze Youth Movement in Israel, a movement with 19 branches around the country and a membership of 12,000, has its headquarters in Peki'in. The founder of the movement is Hamad Amar, an Israeli Druze member of the Knesset from Shfaram, who established it to pass on Druze heritage to the younger generation while developing a sense of national Israeli pride .[17]


According to Galib Kheir, head of the town's tourism department, about 60,000 tourists visit Peki'in each year. The tourist trade supports local restaurants and specialty shops. The town also has a hotel and youth hostel.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 70
  2. ^ Setting the Example
  3. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat, 33b
  4. ^ a b c Researchers race to document vanishing Jewish heritage of Galilee Druze village, Eli Ashkenaz, 25 July 2012, Haaretz
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192
  6. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 78-79, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, p. 197
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, pp. 196-197
  8. ^ J. B. Barron, ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine. Table XI, Sub-district of Acre. 
  9. ^ E. Mills, 1932, p. 100
  10. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 40
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 80
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 130
  13. ^ Nowhere to shelter, Haaretz
  14. ^ Dozens injured in Galilee clashes, 10.30.07, Ynet
  15. ^ Last Jewish Family Leaves Peki'in, Ynetnews, 2007
  16. ^ Cabinet approves NIS 680M for Druze, Circassian towns
  17. ^ Setting the Example


External links[edit]