Bayt Nabala

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Bayt Nabala
Former schoolhouse of Bayt Nabala, presently used by the Jewish National Fund in Beit Nehemia
Bayt Nabala is located in Mandatory Palestine
Bayt Nabala
Bayt Nabala
Arabicبيت نبالا
Name meaning"The house of archery"[1]
Also spelledBayt Nabala, Beit-Nabbala
Coordinates31°59′11″N 34°57′32″E / 31.98639°N 34.95889°E / 31.98639; 34.95889Coordinates: 31°59′11″N 34°57′32″E / 31.98639°N 34.95889°E / 31.98639; 34.95889
Palestine grid146/154
Population2,310[2][3] (1945)
Area15,051[3] dunams
Date of depopulationMay 13, 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulationAbandonment on Arab orders
Current localitiesKfar Truman,[5] and Beit Nehemia[5]

Bayt Nabala or Beit Nabala was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict in Palestine that was destroyed during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The village was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Its population in 1945, before the war, was 2,310.

It was occupied by Israeli forces on May 13, 1948[4] and was completely destroyed by them on September 13, 1948.[6] Village refugees were scattered around Deir 'Ammar, Ramallah city, Bayt Tillow, Rantis, and Jalazone refugee camps north of Ramallah. Some of the clans that lived in Bayt Nabala include the Nakhleh, Safi, AL-Sharaqa, al-Khateeb, Saleh and Zaid families. Today the area is part of the Israeli town of Beit Nehemia.


Map of the Bayt Nabala area in the 1880s.

In the 1596 tax record, Bayt Nabala was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Ramla under the Liwa of Gaza, with a population of 54 Muslim households, an estimated 297 people. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives, fruit, as well as on goats, beehives and a press that was used for processing either olives or grapes, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 8,688 akçe.[7]

In 1838 Edward Robinson noted Bayt Nabala from the tower in Ramle.[8] In 1870 Victor Guérin visited and found the village to have about 900 inhabitants.[9] Socin found from an official Ottoman village list from about the same year that Bayt Nabala had 108 houses and a population of 427, though the population count included men, only.[10] Hartmann found that Bet Nebala had 118 houses.[11]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Bayt Nabala as being of moderate size, situated at the edge of a plain.[12]

British Mandate era[edit]

From the graveyard at Bayt Nabala

The school was founded in 1921 and had about 230 students in 1946-47.[13]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Bait Nabala had a population of 1,324 inhabitants; 1,321 Muslims and 3 Christians,[14] increasing in the 1931 census to 1758, all Muslims, in a total of 471 houses.[15]

In the 1945 statistics, the village had a population of 2,310 Muslims,[2] while the total land area was 15,051 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[3] A total of 226 dunums of village land was used for citrus and bananas, 10,197 dunums were used for cereals, 1,733 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[5][16] while 123 dunams were classified as built-up public areas.[17]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

Benny Morris writes that the village residents abandoned it on Arab orders on 13 May 1948. However, according to Walid Khalidi, this cannot be confirmed.[5]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village site in 1992: "The site is overgrown with grass, thorny bushes, and cypress and fig trees. It lies on the east side of the settlement of Beyt Nechemya, due east of the road from the Lod (Lydda) airport. On its fringes are the remains of quarries and crumbled houses. Sections of walls from the houses still stand. The surrounding land is cultivated by the Israeli settlements."[5]


According to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, Beit Nabala dresses (together with those of the village of Dayr Tarif), "were usually done on cotton, velvet or kermezot silk fabric. Taffeta inserts embroidered in Bethlehem style couching-stitch in gold and silk cord were attached to the yoke, chest panel, sleeves and skirt. In the 1930s black velvet material became popular, and dresses were embroidered in couching straight on the fabric with brown or orange couching embroidery which later became famous for this area."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 226
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 29
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 66
  4. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #222. Also gives the cause for depopulation.
  5. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 366
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 354.
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 153, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 365
  8. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 3, p. 30
  9. ^ Guérin, 1875, pp. 67 ff, 70
  10. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 147
  11. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 138
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 296, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.365
  13. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 365
  14. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramleh, p.22
  15. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 18.
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 114
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 164
  18. ^ Lydda-Ramleh Region, Palestinian Heritage Foundation


External links[edit]