Abu Zurayq

Abu Zurayq — أبو زُرَيْق
Average Elevation
100 m
Distance from Haifa
24 km
Year Arab Total
1944/45 550 550
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 4401 2092 6493
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 26 2092 2118
26 2092 2118 (33%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 4092 4092
Plantation and Irrigable 282 282
Citrus and Bananas 1 1
4375 4375 (67%)

The village was located in the northern foothills of a region known as the bilad al-rawha', the 'fragrant country' (see Daliyat al-Rawha', Haifa sub-disctrict), which overlooked the plain of Marj ibn Amir. Some of the houses were also built on a small hill next to the Haifa-Jenin highway. Its name probably referred to the Abu Zurayq Bedouin, who settled there. The people of Abu Zurayq were Muslim. Their houses, scattered at some distance from one another, were built of stone and either mud or cement; the roofs were made of concrete or, in some cases, mud, straw, and wood. The village had a mosque and a boys' elementary school and drew its water from a number of sources, among them Wadi Abu Zurayq, a spring, and a well.

Abu Zurayq's economy was based on agriculture and animal husbandry. Grain was the main crop, although vegetables were also grown, using irrigation. In 1942/43, 100 dunums were occupied by olive trees. Fruit trees were tended as well, and one dunum was planted with orange trees. In 1944/45 a total of 4,092 dunums were allotted to cereals; 282 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Next to the village was a tell that dated mainly to the Bronze and Iron ages, although it contained some materials that belonged to the early Islamic period. On the terraced ground above the tell (and below the village), a rich sequence of Paleolithic stone tools have been found. Northwest of Ayn Abu Zurayq were the remains of an isolated Roman farmhouse.

Palmach units gained control of the village on 12 April 1948, after having seized it briefly three days earlier. According to the New York Times, this occurred when the Haganah broke a two-day truce to emerge from the settlement of Mishmar ha-Emeq and overrun a cluster of neighboring villages. The battle over Mishmar ha-Emeq  had erupted on 4 April. On entering Abu Zurayq, the Palmach attackers took fifteen adult males captive, along with some 200 women and children, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. No mention is made of the fate of the men, but the women and children were expelled towards Jenin. The Palestinian newspaper Filastin provides a more graphic account. The paper's correspondent wrote that as dawn broke, on the morning after the Zionist troops had occupied the village, a Haganah unit stationed to the north came across a number of villagers lying face down in the village fields. The Zionist forces surrounded these people-old men, women, and children-and opened fire, killing two women and four children, and taking a group of thirty people captive. Later, an Arab force counterattacked, liberating the villagers and taking them to safety in Jenin.

Morris quotes Israeli sources as saying that some of Abu Zurayq's houses were blown up on the night of occupation, adding that the demolition of the village was completed by 15 April. This is confirmed by the New York Times, which quotes the British authorities as saying on 16 April that Haganah engineers had blown up the houses left standing in the village. The Palestinian daily Filastin states that thirty houses were blown up in the course of capturing the village, five of which were still occupied.

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands. The settlement of ha-Zore'a, built in 1936, is close by, to the north.

The site is overgrown with cactus plants and fig and olive trees. The level lands in the vicinity are used for agriculture, while the uneven lands in the hills serve as pasture.