From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Safsaf is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic صفصاف
Name meaning "the Osier willow"[1]
Also spelled Safsofa
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 33°00′42″N 35°26′44″E / 33.01167°N 35.44556°E / 33.01167; 35.44556Coordinates: 33°00′42″N 35°26′44″E / 33.01167°N 35.44556°E / 33.01167; 35.44556
Palestine grid 192/268
Population 910[2][3] (1945)
Area 7,391[3] dunams
Date of depopulation 29 October 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary cause Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Current localities Kfar Hoshen,[5][6] Bar Yohai[7]

Safsaf (Arabic: صفصاف‎, the weeping willow, also known in Roman times as Safsofa) was a Palestinian village located 9 kilometres northwest of Safed, present-day Israel. Its villagers fled to Lebanon after the Safsaf massacre in October 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.


The village was called Safsofa in Roman times.[8]

Ottoman era[edit]

In the early sixteenth century CE, Safsaf was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, and by 1596, it was a village in the nahiyah ("subdistrict") of Jira, part of Sanjak Safad. It had a population of 138, and it paid taxes on several agricultural items including wheat, barley, olives and fruits, as well as other types of produce, such as beehives and goats.[9]

In 1875 Victor Guérin described it as a village with fifteen Muslim families.[10]

In 1881 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Safsaf as a small village situated on a plain, with a population of about 100. They also noted that "ornamented stones of a preexisting public building" had been built into the doorway of the village mosque.[11] The villagers cultivated olive and fig trees and vineyards.[12]

A population list from about 1887 showed Sufsaf to have about 740 inhabitants, all Muslim.[13]

British Mandate era[edit]

Safsaf became a part of the British Mandate in 1922. During this time, the village lay on the eastern side of the Safad-Tarshiha highway and extended in a northeast-southwest direction. All the residents of Safsaf were Muslims. A mosque and several shops were located in the village center, and an elementary school was established during this period. Agriculture was the main economic activity, and it was both irrigated from springs and rainfed. Fruits and olives were cultivated on the land north of the village.[6]

In the 1922 census of Palestine Sufsaf had a population of 521; all Muslim,[14] increasing in the 1931 census to 662, still all Muslims, in a total of 124 houses.[15]

Safsaf. 1945. Survey of Palestine

In the 1945 statistics the population was 910 Muslims,[2] with a total of 7,391 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[3] Of this, a total of 2,586 dunums were allotted to cereals; 769 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[6][16] while a 72 dunams was built-up (urban) area.[17]

1948, and aftermath[edit]

On October 29, 1948, Israeli forces assaulted the village as part of Operation Hiram.[18] After the villagers surrendered, some 50-70 men were massacred while bound and three women were allegedly raped.[6][19][20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 95
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 11
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 71
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #45. Also gives causes of depopulation.
  5. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxi, Settlement #49, established January 1949.
  6. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 491
  7. ^ Established in 1979. Khalidi, 1992, p. 491
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 490
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p.177, quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 490.
  10. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 418- 419
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 257. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 491
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.200. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 491
  13. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 190
  14. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 41
  15. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 110
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 121
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 171
  18. ^ Welcome to Safsaf, Palestine Remembered, retrieved 2007-12-12
  19. ^ Benvenisti, 2000, p. 153
  20. ^ Nazzal, 1978, p. 93-96
  21. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 481


External links[edit]