Beit Jann

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This article is about the Druze town in Israel. For the town in southern Syria, see Beit Jinn.
Beit Jann
  • בֵּיתּ גַ'ן
  • بيت جن
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259 Beit Ǧann
 • Also spelled Beit Jann (unofficial)
Beit Jann cityscape
Beit Jann cityscape
Official logo of Beit Jann
Beit Jann is located in Israel
Beit Jann
Beit Jann
Coordinates: 32°57′55″N 35°22′46″E / 32.96528°N 35.37944°E / 32.96528; 35.37944Coordinates: 32°57′55″N 35°22′46″E / 32.96528°N 35.37944°E / 32.96528; 35.37944
Grid position 185/263 PAL
District Northern
 • Type Local council
 • Total 4,650 dunams (4.65 km2 or 1.80 sq mi)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 10,500
Name meaning "The house of the genie", or "The garden house"[2]

Beit Jann (Arabic: بيت جن‎; Hebrew: בֵּיתּ גַ'ן) is an Druze village on Mt. Meron, in northern Israel. At 940 meters above sea level, Beit Jann is one of the highest inhabited locations in the country. In 2009, the population was 10,500,[1] and the inhabitants are predominantly members of the Druze community.[3]


Beit Jann is an ancient village site at the top of a hill. Old stones have been reused in village homes, and cisterns and tombs carved into rock have also been found.[4]

In the Crusader era it was known as Beitegen.[5] In 1249 John Aleman transferred land, including the Casales of Beit Jann, Sajur, Majd al-Krum and Nahf to the Teutonic Knights.[6]

According to local legend, Druze families in the area lived in scattered colonies in the hills near sources of water until the 13th or 14th century. Two hunters looking for hyraxes stumbled upon a cave where they found an ancient cistern filled with water. Concluding that this was a good place for permanent settlement, several families settled on the site of what would become Beit Jann.[7]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596, Bayt Jinn appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in nahiya (subdistrict) of Akka under the liwa' (district) of Safad. It had a population of 102 households and 5 bachelors, all Muslims. They paid taxes on silk spinning (dulab harir),[8] occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives, olive oil press and/or a press for grape syrup.[9][10]

In August 1754, the missionary Stephan Schulz[11] visited the village. He noted that the inhabitants produced water-skins, and described the grapes of the region as particularly large and fine.[12][13]

The American biblical scholar Edward Robinson described Beit Jann as a "large well-built village" in 1852, with houses made of limestone. There were 260 males, all Druze, in the village.[13] In 1875, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, which he called Beit Djenn. He estimated it had two hundred people, all Druze. He further noted that "A few years ago it was much larger, as is indicated by the abandoned houses which are beginning to fall into ruins. I am told that their occupants have fled to the Hauran to escape conscription.".. "The flanks of the hill on which the village stands are covered with vines which creep along the ground; their grapes [are] of a prodigious size.."[14] In 1881 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Beit Jenn as a good village built of stone, with 300 Muslims and 100 Druze, with extensive gardens and vineyards.[15]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Bait Jan had a population of 902: 6 Muslims, 1 Christian and 895 Druze;[16] the only Christian was an Anglican.[17] At the time of the 1931 census, Beit Jann had 229 occupied houses and a population of 1100 Druze and 1 Muslim.[18]

In 1945 the population of Beit Jann together with Ein al-Asad was 1,640, all Arabs, who owned 43,550 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[19] 2,530 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 7,406 used for cereals,[20] while 67 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[21]

Shrine of Baha' ad-Din, probably dedicated to the founding Druze leader of this name

post 1948[edit]

In September 1991, the body of Samir Assad, an Israel Defense Forces soldier from Beit Jann, held since 1983 by the DFLP, was returned in exchange for the return to Israel of exiled members of the DFLP.[22]

In July 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, Beit Jann was hit by Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah.[citation needed] Illegal logging in the vicinity Beit Jann has led to conflicts with park officials and rangers.[23]

Geography and climate[edit]

Beit Jann has a cool climate, even in summer, and offers panoramic views that stretch as far as the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean on a clear day. Several families in the village run bed and breakfast facilities.[24] The village is located inside the Mount Meron nature reserve.


In 2013, Beit Jann high school was ranked first in the country for the number of students graduating with a bagrut matriculation certificate.[25]

Panorama of the outskirts of Beit Jann


  1. ^ a b "Table 3 – Population of Localities Numbering Above 2,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. June 30, 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 68
  3. ^ Higher education in the Druze community
  4. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 657
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener 1881, SWP I, p. 206
  6. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 78-79, No. 100; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RHH, p. 308, No. 1175; cited in Frankel, 1988, p. 254
  7. ^ Mountain People, Jerusalem Post
  8. ^ Rhode, Harold (1979). "The Administration and Population of the Sancak of Safed in the Sixteenth Century". PhD dissertation, Columbia University. Retrieved 2014-10-10.  See p. 145 for the silk tax, and p. 5 for the date.
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192
  10. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied from the Safad-district was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  11. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix, p. 21
  12. ^ Schulz (ed. Paulus), 1803, p. 106
  13. ^ a b Robinson and Smith, 1856, p. 76
  14. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 82-83, partly as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 196
  15. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 196.
  16. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  17. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XVI, p. 50
  18. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 100
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80
  21. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130
  22. ^ Prisoners-of-War and Captive Soldiers Exchanges
  23. ^ Oak trees felled in Beit Jann, Haaretz
  24. ^ Druze tourism
  25. ^ How the Druze bested the Jews, Haaretz


External links[edit]