Dayr Aban

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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′34.60″N 35°00′37.45″E / 31.7429444°N 35.0104028°E / 31.7429444; 35.0104028Coordinates: 31°44′34.60″N 35°00′37.45″E / 31.7429444°N 35.0104028°E / 31.7429444; 35.0104028
Palestine grid 151/127
Population 2100 (1945)
Area 22,734 dunams
Date of depopulation October 19–20, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Tzor'a, Machseya, Beyt Shemesh, and Yish'i

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.[3]

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. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, and goats or beehives.[4]

Victor Guérin described the village in the 19th century as being a large village, and its adjacent valley "strewn with sesame."[5]

In 1945, the village had a total population of 2,100. Dayr Abban had a mosque and a pipeline transporting water from 'Ayn Marjalayn, 5 km to the east. The village contains three khirbats: Khirbat Jinna'ir, Khirbat Haraza, and Khirbat al-Suyyag.

Today, near the site of the old village, is built the moshav, Mahseya.[6]


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.[7] Dayr Aban would, therefore, literally mean, "the Monastery of Aban."



  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p.293
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #335. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ C.R. Conder, Notes from the Memoir, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, vol. 18, London 1876, p. 149; Conder & Kitchener, The Survey of Western Palestine, vol. iii (Judaea), London 1883, p. 24
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 119
  5. ^ Victor Guérin,Description Géographique, Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (Judaea. Third Volume), Paris 1869, p. 323
  6. ^ Yalqut Teiman, Yosef Tobi and Shalom Seri (editors), Tel-Aviv 2000, p. 158, s.v. מחסיה (Hebrew) ISBN 965-7121-03-5
  7. ^ Al-Shabeshti, Diyārāt (Monasteries).


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