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  • מוסמוס
  • مُصمُص
Aerial photo of Musmus
Aerial photo of Musmus
Musmus is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°32′35″N 35°09′23″E / 32.54306°N 35.15639°E / 32.54306; 35.15639Coordinates: 32°32′35″N 35°09′23″E / 32.54306°N 35.15639°E / 32.54306; 35.15639
Grid position 164/216 PAL
Population (2008)
 • Total 3,900

Musmus (Arabic: مُصمُص‎‎, Hebrew: מוצמוץ/מוסמוס‎‎) is an Arab village in Israel's Haifa District. The village is located in the Wadi Ara area of the northern Triangle, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) northeast of Umm al-Fahm. Since 1996, it has been under the jurisdiction of the Ma'ale Iron local council. The village is divided into five neighborhoods: Abu Shehab, Ighbarieh, Southeast, Mahagna, and Sharqawi. In the 2008 census, Musmus' population was 3,900, all of whom were Muslim.[1]
Most of the villagers belong to the Ighbarieh and Mahagna clans. The village is the birthplace of the Palestinian poet Rashid Hussein. Highway 65 passes through the village and splits it into two parts.


There are many interpretations of the name; some say it is a misrepresentation of the name of the Pharaoh Thutmose II who conquered the land, others say that the name is a replica of an Egyptian village which bears the same name.[2] According to a local Arab tradition, a trade caravan passed in the area and saw a man dying of thirst. They handed him a bottle of water and told him "mus, mus" ("suck" in Arabic) and saved his life. The man decided to remain in the place and build his home there and call it Musmus, and around his home the village developed.[3]

The village was built on an ancient site from the Roman-Byzantine and early Muslim periods.[4]

Ottoman era[edit]

The village was established during the 1830s by members of the al-Bashir clan from nearby Umm al-Fahm.[2] The village was noted as a small hamlet by French explorer Victor Guérin in 1875.[5] In the Palestine Exploration Fund's 1882 Survey of Western Palestine, Musmus was described as "a little village on a hillside, with springs to the south-west; the houses of stone and mud".[6]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census the population of the village was 222, all Muslim,[7] increasing in 1931 census to 256 residing in 50 houses.[8]

During the British Mandate, the total land area of Musmus was around 6,000 dunams and its boundaries reached the Jezreel Valley. The village did not have a school, and the children received basic education from Sheikh Abu Farid of Umm al-Fahm, and later by Sheikh Omar Balawi, a literacy teacher from al-Butaymat who moved to Musmus in the 1930s. Toward the end of the British Mandate, the residents began building the village's first mosque, but construction was not completed.[2]

In the 1945 survey, the Musmus population was counted (together with other villages) under Umm al-Fahm.[9]

1948 war and State of Israel[edit]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the village and the surrounding area came under Iraqi control. In March 1949 Jordanian forces replaced the Iraqi forces in Wadi Ara.[10] On 3 April 1949 Israel and Jordan signed the 1949 Armistice Agreements, in which Israel would receive the Wadi Ara area.[11] On 20 April 1949, Musmus was taken by Israeli forces and was later annexed to Israel along with the rest of the Wadi Ara villages.[12]

In 1954 the first mosque was built in the village.[13] Musmus is one of the villages of Wadi Ara that lacked municipal status. In 1973, the Interior Ministry to declare the village as a local council, but the residents rejected the proposal.[14] Musmus remained without municipal status[15] and was under the administration of mukhtars (village headmen) who were appointed by the Interior Ministry[16] until 1992, when the Interior Ministry established the Nahal Iron regional council. The locals objected to the administrative arrangement and sought independent municipal status for each village. To allay local concerns, the Interior Ministry established an investigative committee to examine other options, and in 1996, decided to split the regional council into two local councils: Ma'ale Iron, which includes Musmus, and Basma.[17]

In 2002, a suicide bombing attack on an Egged bus at the Musmus junction on Highway 65 killed seven people and wounded thirty. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.[18] In 2009, an Israeli court ordered the demolition of a house that was built illegally in the village. When Interior Ministry workers arrived at Musmus with police reinforcements to carry out the demolition order, they were met with resistance from the inhabitants. The police used crowd control weapons to disperse the riot, lightly wounding five women.[19] In 2013 the far-right wing party Otzma Yehudit held a march in the village in protest against illegal construction in Arab communities in Israel. The residents protested and called for the Jewish marchers to leave. There was a large police presence at the protest, but no major incidents occurred.[20]



According to the 2008 census of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Musmus had 3,900 residents, 99.7% of them Muslim.
42.5% were under age 17, 54.4% were aged 18–64, and 3.2% were over 65. The median age was 22.[21]

Development of the population[1][7][8][22]
Year 1922 1931 1961 1972 1983 1995 2008
Population 222 256 738 1,248 1,838 2,461 3,900


According to the 2008 CBS census, 40.5% of residents were in the annual civilian labour force; 66.3% of the men and 16.1% of the women. 32.6% of the male workforce were employed in construction; 20.7% in wholesale, retail trade, and Auto Mechanism; 15.1% in education; and the rest in other sectors. 54.5% of the female workforce worked in education and 17.9% in health services, social service, and welfare service, and the rest in various other sectors.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "מפקד אוכלוסין 2008 – עלה עירון – איזור סטטיסטי 3" [2008 Census – Ma'ale Iron – Statistical area 2] (PDF) (in Hebrew). Ministry of Interior (Israel). Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Musmus village". Umm El Fahem Archive. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Hareuveni, Immanuel; Eretz Yisrael Lexicon; Ministry of Education p.635
  4. ^ "מוסמוס" [Musmus] (in Hebrew). Mapa. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Guerin, 1875, pp. 238 −239
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 45
  7. ^ a b Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Jenin, p. 30
  8. ^ a b Mills, 1932, p. 69
  9. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 17.
  10. ^ The Politics of Partition; King Abdullah, The Zionists, and Palestine 1921–1951 Avi Shlaim Oxford University Press Revised Edition 2004 ISBN 0-19-829459-X pp. 299, 312
  11. ^ "Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "צפון השומרון בחודשי המלחמה האחרונים" [North Samaria in the last months of the war] (in Hebrew). Independence War Sites. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "נחנך מסגד" [Mosque inaugurated]. Davar (in Hebrew). 13 January 1955. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  14. ^ Boger, Mary (2008). A Ghetto State of Ghettos: Palestinians under Israeli civizenship. p. 577. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Peretz, Issac (16 May 1986). "הודעה בדבר בצגת רשימות הבוחרים לכנסת לשנת פנקס החוברים ה'תשמ"ו/ה'תשמ"ז – 1986–1987" [Announcement about presentation of the lists of electors for the Knesset for Electoral Register year 5746-7 (1986–7)]. Ministry of Interior (Israel). Maariv. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "מעלה עירון [Ma'ale Iron]" (in Hebrew). Iron Construction Committee. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "רקע היסטורי" [Historical background]. Ma'ale Iron Regional Council (in Hebrew). Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Fatal Terrorist Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  19. ^ Ofir, Sharon Roffe (11 January 2009). "Clashes break out in Wadi Ara demolition; 5 wounded". Ynet. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Ben Solomon, Ariel (16 January 2013). "Right-wing activists march in Arab town, Musmus". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "Census 2008 – Ma'ale Iron – Statistical Area 2" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics (Israel). Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  22. ^ 1995 Census – List of communities, geographical characters and population 1948, 1961, 1972, 1983, 1995, Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 25 May 2016


External links[edit]