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Coordinates: 33°16′44″N 35°34′28″E / 33.27889°N 35.57444°E / 33.27889; 35.57444
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  • מְטֻלָּה, מטולה
  • المطلة
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259Mṭulla
 • Also spelledMetulla (unofficial)
Metula is located in Northeast Israel
Metula is located in Israel
Coordinates: 33°16′44″N 35°34′28″E / 33.27889°N 35.57444°E / 33.27889; 35.57444
Country Israel
Founded1896; 128 years ago (1896)
 • Head of MunicipalityDavid Azulai
 • Total9,413 dunams (9.413 km2 or 3.634 sq mi)
 • Total1,740
 • Density180/km2 (480/sq mi)
Name meaning"Belle vue"[2]

Metula (Hebrew: מְטֻלָּה) is a town in the Northern District of Israel. It abuts the Israel-Lebanon border. It had in 2022 a population of 1,740.


Bronze and Iron Age[edit]

Metula is located near the sites of the biblical cities of Dan, Abel Bet Ma'akha, and Ijon.

Roman and Byzantine periods[edit]

A settlement existed in the area in the Roman and Byzantine periods.[3][4] Ancient wine presses and a mosaic pavement have been found here.[5] A tomb excavated in 1967 contained at least four graves dating from between the late third century and the late sixth century.[5]

Ottoman period[edit]

el Mutallah, 1878

The origin of the town's name is Arabic: المطلة, romanizedal-Muṭallah, lit.'the lookout'.[6] In 1816 the notable traveller James Silk Buckingham visited "a large village, called Metully, altogether inhabited by Druses".[7] In 1875, Victor Guérin described Methelleh or Metelleh as a village with a spring, occupied by Druzes from the Hauran who cultivated a garden to the east.[8] Soon afterwards, in 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine recorded "El Mutallah: A small village, built of stone, containing about 100 Druzes, situated on slope of hill, near a large stream, surrounded by arable land."[9]

Founding of the Jewish moshava[edit]

When the Druze Rebellion of 1895 broke out the men of Mutallah joined its ranks. Since the women were not able to cope with the work, the owner of the land, a Christian from Sidon named Jabur Bey Riskalas (Greek Diplomat to Middle East), sold 12,800 dunams of land to Baron de Rothschild's chief officer Joshua Ossovetski.[10][11][12] It had been inhabited and cultivated by more than 600 Druze tenant farmers. When the Druze Rebellion was put down, the men returned and demanded their tenancy rights back.[11] Ossovetski called in the Turkish authorities, who came to arrest the Druse as deserters and rebels, while Ossovetski offered them paltry compensation to leave the land.[11] Many were dissatisfied and eight years of feuds and violent clashes ensued.[11] Eventually an agreement was reached between the villagers and the Jewish Colonization Association in 1904 for an additional payment of 60,000 francs (3,000 Turkish pounds).[10][11][13] This episode brought much criticism of the methods of Rothschild's agents, including some from other Zionists such as Ahad Ha'am.[11][13][14] The Druze moved to other Druze-inhabited villages, including Isfiya on Mount Carmel.[15]

The Jewish moshava settlement was founded in June 1896 by 60 farming families from more established settlements and 20 families of non-farming professions. Most of the founders were immigrants from Russia. Pioneers (halutzim) from Petah Tikva also joined in settling Metula, as did some religious scholars from Safed.[citation needed]

Mandatory period[edit]

Defensive position used from the 1936–1939 Arab revolt until the 1948 War of Independence

At the end of World War I, Metula was in the area of French military occupation.[16] The British Zionist Norman Bentwich wrote in 1919:

Metullah, the most northern outpost, is acquiring a new function as a summer resort for the rest of the country. Its mountain air and its splendid site, high up above a ravine, down which a stream dashes headlong to Jordan, makes it a chosen place in the dry days, and already its few homesteads are crowded in July and August. Metullah is a summer station for the hardy men and women of the colonies; it lies too far from the high road to attract the tourist, but in course of time it, or some other place in the highland region, will become for the Jewish dwellers of the lowlands what a number of hill stations in the Lebanon are already to the Syrians of the plains.[17]

The 1920 boundary agreement between Britain and France stated that Metula was to be in Palestine, but it was not until 1924 that the change to British control was complete.[16] During the intervening years, the residents of Metula even took part in elections for the Lebanese parliament.[16]

Nahal Ayyun Bridge[edit]

Nahal Ayun Bridge

The bridge over Nahal Ayun was built by the British in the years 1943–44. On June 17, 1946 (Night of the bridges) all four Palmach battalions (the Haganah elite units) captured and destroyed 11 border bridges. As a consequence, on June 29, 1946 ("Black Sabbath"), the British soldiers imprisoned many Yishuv leaders and Palmach members. The bridge was blown up again by the Palmach during the War of Independence. It was repaired in the 1980s.[18]

State of Israel[edit]

In modern Israel, Metula is known as a wealthy town popular as a tourist destination, especially for Israeli schoolchildren on summer vacation.[19]

The "Good Fence" (1976–2000)[edit]

The Good Fence (הגדר הטובה‎, HaGader HaTova or Fatima Crossing) was a border crossing from Metula to Lebanon; it opened in 1976, and was closed in 2000 after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. The border crossing had allowed Lebanese to find jobs in northern Israel, access health services, attend school, and transport goods.[citation needed]

1985 attack[edit]

"Safari" Disaster Memorial site

The Safari Disaster occurred during the South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000). On the afternoon of Sunday, March 10, 1985, a convoy of IDF soldiers in "Safari" model trucks were driving from Metula towards the Lebanese town of Marjayoun. Dozens of soldiers, having just attended Shabbat, were on their way back to duty. In accordance with regulations, one armed jeep in the forefront and two in the rear, and helmets and bullet-proof vests were worn. As they were crossing the narrow bridge over Nahal Ayyun at 13:45 a red Chevrolet pickup truck drove towards them. The soldiers of the first jeep noticed that the driver had friendly smile, and he was signaled to pull over to let the convoy pass. The first jeep and the first safari truck did so. At 13:50 the driver of the Chevrolet detonated a tremendous explosion which shattered windows in Metula itself. Twelve soldiers were killed and 14 wounded.[20]

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Metula became a temporary ghost town when its populace fled Hezbollah rocket fire. It was hit by 120 rockets during the war.[19]

Israel–Hamas war[edit]

In the midst of the Israel–Hamas war, Hezbollah targeted northern Israeli border communities with rockets and missiles, prompting the evacuation of several, including Metula. On October 17, a Hezbollah-launched anti-tank missile struck Metula, resulting in the injury of one civilian and two IDF reservists.[21]

On 19 December, Hezbollah fired artillery shells at the town.[22]

Area and population[edit]

Ice skating in the Canada Centre

The municipality governs a land area of 2,000 dunams (2 km2). According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), in September 2003 Metula had a population of 1,400, predominantly Jewish. Metula was declared a local council in 1949. Also according to the CBS, the population over the years was:

  • 1948 – 172
  • 1961 – 261
  • 1972 – 333
  • 1983 – 589
  • 1995 – 942
  • 2008 – 1,500
  • 2022 – 1,740

Geography and climate[edit]

Park near Nahal Ayyun

Metula lies in the northernmost point of Israel, next to the Lebanese border 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) at 520 m above sea level.

Winters are usually cold and wet, with an average annual rainfall of 900 mm, whereas summers are warm and dry. The river Nahal Ayoun has its sources in Lebanon, about seven kilometers north of Metula.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "Regional Statistics". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 30
  3. ^ Alexandre, 2008, Metulla
  4. ^ Jaffe, 2010, Metulla
  5. ^ a b Dauphin, 1998, p. 641
  6. ^ Daniel Jacobs; Shirley Eber; Francesca Silvani (1998). Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Rough Guides. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-85828-248-0.
  7. ^ Buckingham, 1825, p. 407
  8. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 345–346
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 89
  10. ^ a b Morris, 2001, p. 55
  11. ^ a b c d e f Avneri, 1984, pp. 96-98
  12. ^ Marom, Roy (January 2021). "The Abu Hameds of Mulabbis: An Oral History of a Palestinian Village Depopulated in the Late Ottoman Period". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 48: 2.
  13. ^ a b Yosef Gorney (1987). Zionism and the Arabs, 1882-1948: a study of ideology. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-822721-2.
  14. ^ Alan Dowty (2001). ""A Question That Outweighs All Others": Yitzhak Epstein and Zionist Recognition of the Arab Issue". Israel Studies. 6: 34–54. doi:10.1353/is.2001.0003. S2CID 144575833.
  15. ^ Falah, Salman (1975). "A History of the Druze Settlements in Palestine during the Ottoman Period". In Maoz, Moshe (ed.). Studies on Palestine during the Ottoman Period. Jerusalem: Magnes Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-965-223-589-3.
  16. ^ a b c Biger, 2004, p. 134
  17. ^ Bentwich, 1919, p. 96
  18. ^ See municipality plaque at the site
  19. ^ a b Calm Returns to Israeli Border Town Two Years After War
  20. ^ "Israel in Mourning as 12 Killed in Suicide-truck Bombing Are Buried". 12 March 1985.
  21. ^ Fabian, Emanuel. "Metula missile attack injures 3; IDF kills Hezbollah cell trying to infiltrate border". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  22. ^ الدهيبي, جنى. "هل ينجح الغرب في سحب حزب الله من جنوب الليطاني؟". الجزيرة نت (in Arabic). Retrieved 2023-12-20.


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