Dayr Aban

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Dayr Aban
Facade of House in Dayr Aban.JPG
Entrance to a house in Dayr Aban
Dayr Aban is located in Mandatory Palestine
Dayr Aban
Dayr Aban
Arabic دير آبان
Name meaning The Monastery of Aban[1]
Subdistrict Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°44′35″N 35°00′38″E / 31.74306°N 35.01056°E / 31.74306; 35.01056Coordinates: 31°44′35″N 35°00′38″E / 31.74306°N 35.01056°E / 31.74306; 35.01056
Palestine grid 151/127
Population 2100[2][3] (1945)
Area 22,734 dunams
Date of depopulation October 19–20, 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Tzor'a,[5] Machseya,[5] Beyt Shemesh,[5] and Yish'i[5]

Dayr Aban (also spelled Deir Aban; Arabic: دير آبان‎‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Jerusalem Subdistrict, located on the lower slope of a high ridge that formed the western slope of a mountain, to the east of Beit Shemesh. It was formerly bordered by olive trees to the north, east, and west. The valley, Wadi en-Najil, ran north and south on the west-side of the village. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War on October 19, 1948, under Operation Ha-Har. It was located 21 km west of Jerusalem.


In pre-Roman and Roman times the settlement was referred to as Abenezer.[6][7]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1596, Dayr Aban appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 23 Muslim households and 23 Christian households;[8] that is, an estimated 127 persons.[9] They paid a fixed tax rate of 33,3% on agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, olives, and goats or beehives; a total of 9,700 Akçe.[8]

Victor Guérin described it in 1863 as being a large village, and its adjacent valley "strewn with sesame."[10] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that the village had a population of 443, in a total of 135 houses, though the population count included men, only.[11]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Dayr Aban as "a large village on the lower slope ot a high ridge, with a well to the north, and olives on the east, west, and north."[7]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Dair Aban had a population of 1,214 inhabitants, all Muslims,[12] increasing in the 1931 census to 1534 inhabitants, in 321 houses.[13]

In 1945, the village had a total population of 2,100 Arabs; 10 Christians and 2090 Muslims,[2] with a total of 22,734 dunums of land.[3] Of this, Arabs used 1,580 dunams for irrigable land or plantations, 14,925 for cereals,[14] while 54 dunams were built-up (urban) Arab land.[15]

Dayr Abban had a mosque and a pipeline transporting water from 'Ayn Marjalayn, 5 km to the east.[5] The village contains three khirbats: Khirbat Jinna'ir, Khirbat Haraza, and Khirbat al-Suyyag.[5]

Today, near the site of the old village, is built the moshav, Mahseya.[16] It is built on the land of Dayr Aban, as is Tzor'a, Beyt Shemesh and Yish'i.[5]

Houses being blown up by the Harel Brigade October 1948


The prefix "Dayr" which appears in many village names is of Aramaic and Syriac-Aramaic origin, and has the connotation of "habitation," or "dwelling place," usually given to places where there was once a Christian population, or settlement of monks. In most cases, a monastery was formerly built there, and, throughout time, the settlement expanded.[17] Dayr Aban would, therefore, literally mean, "the Monastery of Aban."[1]



  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 293
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 24
  3. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 56
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #335. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Khalidi, 1992, p. 283
  6. ^ Conder, 1876, p. 149
  7. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 24
  8. ^ a b Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 119
  9. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 282
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 22-23, 323
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 151
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramleh, p. 21
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 19
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 102
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 152
  16. ^ Yalqut Teiman, Yosef Tobi and Shalom Seri (editors), Tel-Aviv 2000, p. 158, s.v. מחסיה (Hebrew) ISBN 965-7121-03-5
  17. ^ Al-Shabeshti, Diyārāt (Monasteries).


External links[edit]