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Al-Safiriyya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic السافريّة
Name meaning from a personal name [1]
Subdistrict Jaffa
Coordinates 31°59′36″N 34°51′04″E / 31.99333°N 34.85111°E / 31.99333; 34.85111Coordinates: 31°59′36″N 34°51′04″E / 31.99333°N 34.85111°E / 31.99333; 34.85111
Palestine grid 135/155
Population 3070[2][3] (1945)
Area 12,842[3] dunams
Date of depopulation Not known[4]
Current localities Tzafria,[5] Kfar Chabad,[5] Ahi'ezer[5] Tochelet[5] Sharir[6] Shafrir has been absorbed in the previous, and in the suburbs of Rishon LeZion[5]

Al-Safiriyya was a Palestinian Arab village in the Jaffa Subdistrict. It was depopulated during Operation Hametz in the 1948 Palestine War on May 20, 1948.[5] It was located 11 km east of Jaffa, 1.5 km west of Ben Gurion Airport.


Khirbat Subtara is one of the notable khirbat in the area.[5]

al-Safiriyya was known to the Byzantines and Crusaders as Sapharea or Saphyria.[5]

Hani Al-Kindi, an early Muslim scolar and acetic, was buried in Al-Safiriyya. The Umayyad caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (717– 720) had offered him the Governship of Palestine, but Al-Kindi had declined it.[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

Al-Safiriyya was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, and in 1596 it appeared in the tax registers under the name of Safiriyya, as being in the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Ramla, which was under the administration of the liwa ("district") of Gaza. It had a population of 53 household;[7] an estimated 292 persons, who were all Muslims. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, sesame, vineyards, fruit trees, goats and beehives, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 18,800 Akçe. All of the revenue went to a Waqf.[7][5]

In 1863 Victor Guérin found the village to have 450 inhabitants. He noted that the mosque was shaded by an old mulberry tree, and around the village were plantations of tobacco and watermelons.[8]

An Ottoman village list from about 1870 showed that es-Safirije had 29 houses and a population of 134, though the population count included men only.[9][10]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as an adobe village, with olives to the south.[11]

British Mandate era[edit]

Es Safriye 1932 1:20,000

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Safriyeh had a population of 1,306, all Muslims,[12] increasing in the 1931 census to 2,040 inhabitants, still all Muslims, in 489 houses.[13]

In 1945 it had a population of 3,070 Muslims,[2] with 12,842 dunams of land.[3] Of this, Arabs used 3,539 for growing citrus and banana, 3,708 for plantations and irrigable land, 3,032 for cereals,[14] while 95 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[15]

al-Safiriyya had two elementary schools, one for boys founded in 1920 which had an enrollment of 348 boys in 1945, and another school was for girls, founded in 1945 with 45 girls.[5]

1948, aftermath[edit]

Benny Morris gives both date and time of depopulation as unknown.[4] Aref al-Aref writes that Al-Safiriyya was occupied by the Yishuv in April, 1948, at the same time as Yazur and Bayt Dajan.[16]

On September 13, 1948, Al-Safiriyya was one of 14 Palestinian villages that Ben-Gurion asked to be destroyed, in order to block the return of the villagers.[17]

Tzafria, Kfar Chabad, Tochelet, Ahi'ezer and the suburbs of Rishon LeZion today occupy Al-Safiriyya land.[5]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 217
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 28
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 53
  4. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xviii, village #220. Morris gives both cause and date of depopulation as "not known".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Khalidi, 1992, p. 253
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxii, settlement #113
  7. ^ a b Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 155
  8. ^ Guérin, 1868, pp. 32, 319
  9. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 159
  10. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 138 found 115 (!) houses
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 254
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jaffa, p. 20
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 15
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 96
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 146
  16. ^ al-Aref, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 253
  17. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 354


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