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Jabneel, Iamnia, Jamnia
Mamluk minaret in Yibna
Mamluk minaret in Yibna
Etymology: Built (God "Allah" Builts)[1]
Historical map series for the area of Yibna (1870s).jpg 1870s map
Historical map series for the area of Yibna (1940s).jpg 1940s map
Historical map series for the area of Yibna (modern).jpg modern map
Historical map series for the area of Yibna (1940s with modern overlay).jpg 1940s with modern overlay map
A series of historical maps of the area around Yibna (click the buttons)
Yibna is located in Mandatory Palestine
Location within Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 31°51′58″N 34°44′47″E / 31.86611°N 34.74639°E / 31.86611; 34.74639Coordinates: 31°51′58″N 34°44′47″E / 31.86611°N 34.74639°E / 31.86611; 34.74639
Palestine grid126/141
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation4 June 1948[3]
 • Total59,554 dunams (59.554 km2 or 22.994 sq mi)
 • Total5,420[2]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary causeExpulsion by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesYavne,[4] Beit Raban, Kfar HaNagid, Beit Gamliel

Yibna (Arabic: يبنى‎; Jabneh or Jabneel in Biblical times; Jamnia in Roman times; Ibelin to the Crusaders), was a Palestinian village with a population of 5,420 in 1948, located 15 kilometers southwest of Ramla.[5] Yibna was taken by Israeli forces on 4 June 1948, and was depopulated during the military assault and expulsion.[6]


The tell with the ruins of the Mamluk minaret built in 1337[7]

Pre-Islamic periods[edit]

Based on written sources and archaeology, the history of Yavneh/Jabneh/Yibna goes back to the Iron Age and possibly to the Bronze Age. The Hebrew Bible mentions Yavneh repeatedly, as does Josephus. For more see Yavne.

The harbour of Javneh[edit]

The harbour of ancient Yavneh has been identified on the coast at Minet Rubin (Arabic) or Yavne-Yam (Hebrew), where excavations have revealed fortification going back to the Bronze Age Hyksos.[8] It has been in use from the Middle Bronze Age until the 12th century CE, when it was abandoned.[9] For more see Yavne-Yam.

Early Islamic period[edit]

The Islamic historian al-Baladhuri (died 892 CE) mentioned Yibna as one of ten towns in Jund Filastin conquered by the Rashidun army led by 'Amr ibn al-'As in the early 7th century.[10]

Also in the 9th century, Ya'qubi (died 897/8 CE) wrote that Yubna was an ancient city built on a hill that was inhabited by Samaritans.[11]

Al-Muqaddasi, writing around 985, said that "Yubna has a beautiful mosque. From this place come the excellent figs known by the name of Damascene."[12] Yaqut wrote that in Yubna there was a tomb said to be that of Abu Hurairah, the companion (sahaba) of the Prophet. The author of Marasid also adds that tomb seen here is also said to be that of ´Abd Allah ibn Abi Sarh, another companion (sahaba) of the Prophet.[11]

In 2007, remains ranging from the Early Islamic period until the British Mandate period were uncovered.[13] An additional kiln, and part of a commercial/industrial area were uncovered at the west of the tell in 2009.[14]

Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods[edit]

The Crusaders called the city Ibelin and built a castle there in 1141.Two excavation seasons led by Professor Dan Bahat starting in 2005 revealed the main gate.[citation needed] Its namesake noble family, the house of Ibelin, was important in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and later in the Kingdom of Cyprus. Ibelin was captured by Saladin in 1187. Salvage excavations at the west of the tell unearthed a stash of 53 Crusader coins of the 12th and 13th centuries.[14]

Ibelin's parish church was transformed into a mosque, to which a minaret was added during the Mamluk period in 1337. The minaret survives until today, while the mosque (the former Crusader church) was blown up by the IDF in 1950.[7][15]

Maqām Abu Hurayra, described as "one of the finest domed mausoleums in Palestine", is located in Yavne. Since the 12th century, it has been known as a tomb of Abu Hurairah, a companion (sahaba) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. After 1948 the shrine has been taken over by Sephardic Jews who believe that the tomb is the burial place of Rabbi Gamaliel of Yavne.[16]

Ottoman period[edit]

In 1596, Yibna was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza with a population of 129 households, an estimated 710 persons, all Muslims. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, summer crops, sesame seeds and fruits, as well as goats, beehives and vineyards; a total of 34,000 Akçe. 16/24 of the revenue went to a waqf.[17]

In 1799, it was noted on the map that Pierre Jacotin compiled that year, named Ebneh.[18]

An American missionary, William Thomson, who visited Yibna in 1834, described it as a village on hill inhabited by 3,000 Muslim residents who worked in agriculture. He wrote that an inscription on the mosque indicated that it had been built in 1386, while Denys Pringle indicates 1337 as the construction year of the minaret.[7][19][20] In 1838, Yebna was noted as a Muslim village in the Gaza district.[21][22]

An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that Jebna had a population of 1042, in 348 houses, though the population count included men, only.[23][24]

In 1882, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described Yibna as a large village partly built of stone and situated on a hill. It had olive trees and corn to the north, and gardens nearby.[25]

British Mandate[edit]

In 1921, an elementary school for boys was founded in Yibna. By 1941-42 it had 445 students. A school for girls was founded in 1943, and by 1948 it had 44 students.[5]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Yebna had a population of 1,791 inhabitants; all Muslims,[26] increasing in the 1931 census to 3,600 inhabitants; 2 Jews, 7 Christians, 1 Bahai, and 3,590 Muslims, in a total of 794 houses.[27]

In 1941, Kibbutz Yavne was established nearby by refugees from Germany, followed by a Youth Aliyah village, Givat Washington, in 1946.[5]

Yibna 1929 1:20,000
Yibna 1941 1:20,000
Yibna 1945 1:250,000

In 1944-45 the village had a population of 5,420; 5,400 Muslims and 20 Christians,[2] while the total land area was 59,554 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[28] In addition there were 1,500 nomads living around the village.[5] A total of 6,468 dunums of village land was used for citrus and bananas, 15,124 dunums were used for cereals, 11,091 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 25 dunums were planted with olive trees,[5][29] while 127 dunams were classified as built-up, urban areas.[30]

1948 and aftermath[edit]

Members of the Yiftach Brigade standing on the roof of a building in Yibna at the start of Operation Dani

Yibna was in the territory allotted to the Jewish state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan.[31] In mid-March 1948, a contingent of Iraqi soldiers moved into the village. In a Haganah reprisal on March 30, two dozen villagers were killed.[citation needed] On April 21, the village commander was arrested by the British authorities for the drunken shooting of two Arabs.[32]

During the Arab-Israeli war, residents of Zarnuqa sought refuge in Yibna, but left after the villagers accused them of being traitors.[33]

On 27 May, following the fall of Al-Qubayba and Zarnuqa, most of the population of Yibna fled to Isdud, but armed males were refused entry. On 5 June, when Israeli troops arrived, they found the village almost deserted apart from a few old people who were ordered to leave.[33]

After 1948, a number of Israeli villages were founded on Yibna land: Kfar HaNagid and Beit Gamliel in 1949, Ben Zakai in 1950, Kfar Aviv (originally: "Kfar HaYeor") in 1951, Tzofiyya in 1955.[34] According to Walid Khalidi, a railroad crosses the village. The old mosque and minaret, together with a shrine can still be seen, and some of the old houses are inhabited by Jewish and Arab families.[citation needed]

Archaeological excavations have revealed that part of the pre-1948 Arab village at Yibna was built on top of a Byzantine-period cemetery and refuse pits.[35]

Cultural references[edit]

Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour made Yibna the subject of one of his paintings. The work, named for the village, was one of a series of four on destroyed Palestinian villages that he produced in 1988 in order to resist the cancellation of Palestinian history; the others being Yalo, Imwas and Bayt Dajan.[36]

Notable residents/decendents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 277
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 30
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #255. Also gives the cause(s) for depopulation
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxi, settlement #75
  5. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.421
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 255
  7. ^ a b c Pringle, 1998, pp. 378-384
  8. ^ Negev, and Gibson, 2001, p. 253
  9. ^ Archeology in Israel - Yavne Yam
  10. ^ The conquered towns included "Ghazzah (Gaza), Sabastiyah (Samaria), Nabulus (Shechem), Kaisariyyah (Cæsarea), Ludd (Lydda), Bayt Jibrin, Amwas (Emmaus), Yafa (Joppa), Rafah, and Yibna. (Bil. 138), quoted in Le Strange, 1890, p. 28
  11. ^ a b Le Strange, 1890, p. 553
  12. ^ Muk.176, quoted in Le Strange, 1890, p. 553
  13. ^ Volynsky, 2009, Tel Yavne Final Report
  14. ^ a b Shimron, Ilanit (2009-04-06). מטמון נדיר נמצא בחפירות ארכיאולוגיות בתל יבנה [Rare Treasure Found in Excavations at Tel Yavne] (in Hebrew). Ynet.co.il (local). Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  15. ^ [Raz Kletter, Irit Ziffer, Wolfgang Zwickel. "Yavneh I: The Excavation of the 'Temple Hill' Repository Pit and the Cult Stands." Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, Series Archaeologica (OBOSA), Book 30. Academic Press Fribourg, Switzerland (ISBN 978-3-7278-1667-3) and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen (ISBN 978-3-525-54361-0). 2010. Pages 2-13 ]
  16. ^ Mayer et al., (1950:22); Cited in Petersen, 2002, p. 313
  17. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 143. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 421
  18. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 171
  19. ^ Thompson (1880), I:145-49. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.421
  20. ^ see also p 638 in W. M. Thomson (1861): The Land and the Book; Or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land
  21. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 118
  22. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 22
  23. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 155
  24. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 133, noted 292 houses
  25. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 414. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 421
  26. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  27. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 6.
  28. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 68
  29. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 117
  30. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 167
  31. ^ "Map of UN Partition Plan". United Nations. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  32. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 259
  33. ^ a b Morris, 2004, pp. 258-59
  34. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 423
  35. ^ Buchennino, 2007, Yavne
  36. ^ Ankori, 2006, p. 82: 'Another series of four works from 1988 relates explicitly to the lost homeland through the titles given to each work by the artist. Mansour named each composition (Yalo, Beit Dajan, Emmwas, Yibna) after a Palestinian village that had been destroyed by Israel since its establishment in 1948. Thus, art became a way of resisting the eradication of Palestinian history and geography,’.


External links[edit]