From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew סַחְ'נִין, סִכְנִין (Arabic name)
 • ISO 259 Saḥnin, Saknin (Israeli pronunciation)
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic سخنين
PikiWiki Israel 17664 Cities in Israel.jpg
Sakhnin is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°52′N 35°18′E / 32.867°N 35.300°E / 32.867; 35.300Coordinates: 32°52′N 35°18′E / 32.867°N 35.300°E / 32.867; 35.300
District Northern
 • Type City (from 1995)
 • Mayor Mazin G'Nayem
 • Total 9,816 dunams (9.816 km2 or 3.790 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Total 25,600

Sakhnin (Arabic: سخنين‎; Hebrew: סַחְ'נִין or סִכְנִין Sikhnin) is a city in Israel's North District. It is located in the Lower Galilee, about 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Acre. Sakhnin was declared a city in 1995. Its population of 25,100[1] is Arab, mostly Muslim with a sizable Christian minority. Sakhnin is home to the largest population of Sufi Muslims within Israel, with approximately 80 members.


Sakhnin is built over three hills and is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, the highest one being 602 meters high. Its rural landscape is almost entirely covered by olive and fig groves as well as oregano and sesame shrubs.


College of Sakhnin for Teacher Education

In the heart of the old town there is a grave called The Sheikh Ibrahim which is one of the 66 graves in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, who was considered a saint by the locals.[citation needed] This grave/shrine used to be visited by many women, light candles inside it the shrine, and hang pieces of cloth on its walls asking for blessing.[citation needed]

Another important site, which lies in the Christian neighborhood, is the tomb of Rabbi Joshua of Sakhnin.[2] He is buried in a large stone sarcophagus. In the past, the local people were scared whenever they passed this grave during the night, while others used to kiss its walls and ask the dead Rabbi to heal them and their relatives because it was believed that the Rabbi used to heal people from certain diseases.[citation needed]

Another famous shrine is al Sheik Obeid's shrine, which is very close to Sakhnin's guesthouse.[citation needed] This shrine was dedicated to Sheik Abdalla Ibrahim Khalaili. Women also used to visit this shrine, paint its walls with henna, and hang pieces of cloth on the walls and then ask the Sheik to fulfill their wishes. The last grave, which also became a shrine later, lies in the western cemetery of the town and it is known by Sheik Ismael. This grave was recently restored by some volunteers.[citation needed]

Another important site in Sakhnin is called The Cave of the Ten which is carved in the rocks.[citation needed] The shepherds used to use its water for their cattle. It is not clear how this cave got its name: some believe that it represents the number of fingers on a person's two hands, another version says that it is named for the Ten Commandments. Another important site, which lies in the southeast of the town, is called The Spring, which had been the main source of drinking water for the people of Sakhnin decades ago.


Sakhnin in the autumn

Settlement at Sakhnin dates back 3,500 years to its first mention in 1479 BCE by Thutmose II, whose ancient Egyptian records mention it as a centre for production of indigo dye. Sargon II also makes mention of it as Suginin.

It was mentioned as Sogane, a town fortified in 66, by Josephus.[3]

Known as Sikhnin or Sikhni, meaning "home of the labourers" in Aramaic, and Sukhsikha, meaning "produces oil" in Hebrew, the town was known for Jewish scholars like the rabbi Joshua of Sakhnin in the periods of the Mishna and Gemara. His grave is known in Arabic as Nabi as-Sideiq, and was a focus of pilgrimage from the Middle Ages through the present. The town continued to flourish as Hellenist Sogne into the period of Roman conquest.

Annexed to the Ummayad Caliphate after the Battle of Yarmouk, it came under brief crusader rule as Zakkanin until retaken by Saladin and the Ayyubid Dynasty following the Battle of Hattin where it remained in Muslim hands under the Mamluks, Dhaher al-Omar, and the Ottomans, until Ottoman Syria was occupied by the British Empire after World War I.

In 1596, Sakhnin appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Akka of the Liwa of Tabariyya. It had a population of 66 Muslim households and 8 bachelors. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, cotton, and a water mill.[4]

In the late 1870s, Conder and Kitchener described Sakhnin as follows. "A large village of stone and mud, amid fine olive-groves, with a small mosque. The water supply is from a large pool about half a mile to the south-east. The inhabitants are Moslems and Christians, and in 1859 numbered 1,100, and cultivated 100 feddans, according to Consul Rogers." [5]

At the time of the 1931 census, Sakhnin had 400 occupied houses and a population of 1688 Muslims, 202 Christians, and 1 Jew.[6]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Sakhnin surrendered to Israeli forces on July 18, 1948, during Operation Dekel, but was re-captured by Arab forces shortly afterwards. It finally fell without battle during Operation Hiram, 29–31 October 1948. Many of the inhabitants fled north but some stayed and were not expelled by the Israeli soldiers.[7] The town remained under Martial Law until 1966.

In 1976, it became the site of the first Land Day marches, in which six Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli forces during violent protests of government confiscation of 5,000 acres (20 km2) of Arab-owned land near Sakhnin. And in 1976 three more civilians were killed during clashes with the police, and in Jerusalem and the Aqsa Intifada in 2000 two men were killed.


In 2003, the town's football club, Bnei Sakhnin, became one of the first Arab teams to play in the Israeli Premier League, the top tier of Israeli football.[8] The following year, the club won the State Cup, and was the first Arab team to do so; consequently, it participated in the UEFA Cup the following season, losing out to Newcastle United. The team received a new home with the 2005 opening of Doha Stadium, funded by the Israeli government and the Qatar National Olympic Committee, whose capital it is named after. The stadium has a capacity of 5,000.[8]

Sakhnin is also the hometown of Abbas Suan, an Israeli international footballer who previously played for Bnei Sakhnin.[citation needed]

The town and their soccer team are the subject of the 2010 documentary film After The Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United[9]

In 19 September 2008, Bnei Sakhnin played a game with the Spanish team Deportivo de La Coruña.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  2. ^ Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church, Richard Bauckham
  3. ^ Yoram Tsafrir, Leah Di Segni and Judith Green (1994). Tabula Imperii Romani: Judaea, Palaestina. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. p. 235. 
  4. ^ Wolf-Dieter Hütteroth 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. 191. 
  5. ^ C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine I. London: The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. pp. 285–286. 
  6. ^ E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 102. 
  7. ^ Morris, Benny (1987) The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-1949. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-33028-9. p.226
  8. ^ a b Soccer: In Israel and Italy, storied teams rise International Herald Tribune, 15 April 2007
  9. ^

External links[edit]