PLace

al-Kabri

Place
al-Kabri — الكابْرِي
District
Galilee
Subdistrict
Acre
Average Elevation
80 m
Distance from Acre
12.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 728
1944/45 1520
1944/45 * 5360
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 * 37308 90 10030 47428
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total) *
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable * 16979 10030 27009
Built-up ** 252
17231 10030 27261 (57%)
Cultivable (Total) **
Use Arab Jewish Total
Cereal * 14056 67 14123
Plantation and Irrigable ** 5278 23 5301
Citrus and Bananas *** 743 743
20077 90 20167 (43%)
Number of Houses (1931)
173

The village was situated in the area where the western slopes of the Galilee Mountains met the plain of Acre. A highway linked it to the settlement of Nahariyya (to the west), which was itself on the coastal highway that led south to Acre. Its name may have been derived from the Syriac kabiraya, meaning "large, wealthy." The Arab geographer al-Maqrizi (d. 1441) called it al-Kabira and said that the Mamluk ruler al-Ashraf allocated its income to one of the charitable organizations in Cairo in 1291. The Crusaders called it Cabra. In the late nineteenth century, al-Kabri was a village built of stone with a population of 400. The villagers planted the surrounding area with fig, olive, pomegranate, mulberry, and apple trees. The village was known for its springs, including Ayn Mafshuh, Ayn Fawwar, Ayn al-Asal, and Ayn Kabri, which together had an annual discharge of 8.6 million cubic meters. This made it one of the main sources of fresh water in Palestine and the principal one in Acre sub-disctrict. Aqueducts that channelled water from the spring to Acre were built during the Hellenistic period. Two canals were also built in the nineteenth century for the same purpose, by two successive governors of Acre, Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar , in 1800, and by Sulayman Pasha, in 1814.

During the British Mandate, the village houses were made of stone and cement, stone and mud, or reinforced concrete. Its entire population was Muslim. AI-Kabri had its own mosque and a boys' elementary school. Its economy was based on agriculture and animal husbandry. In 1944/45 a total of 743 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 14,056 dunums were allotted to cereals; 5,278 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 540 dunums were planted with olive trees. During the latter part of the Mandate period, some villagers in al-Kabri raised cattle.

The village stood over part of a large archaeological site that extended southwest toward the twin villages of al-Nahr and al-Tall. This area was first occupied in 3200 B.C. and was densely populated until about 500 B.C., when Persia conquered this region. The site contained the foundations of buildings, pieces of mosaic, and rock–hewn tombs. Next to the village lay a khirba that contained the remains of a square building made of coarsely chiseled stones and cisterns carved in rock.

The village was occupied on the night of 20–21 May, as part of the second stage of Operation Ben-Ami, in Acre sub-disctrict. The History of the War of Independence states, probably mistakenly, that it fell later, in mid–July, during Operation Dekel. Morris writes that most villagers had already fled before its occupation, following a 'Haganah retaliatory action, in which a number of villagers were killed.' He does not mention when this took place or how many casualties were left by the 'retaliatory action.' The village apparently was regarded as a center of 'anti–Yishuv forces.'

When interviewed by Palestinian historian Nafez Nazzal in the 1970s, villagers confirmed that the war had reached al-Kabri well before the final May attack. They recalled a raid on 1 February 1948, when a small Zionist unit had attempted to blow up the house of a village leader allied with the Mufti of Jerusalem. After that hit–and–run attack, villagers often tried to block Jewish traffic on the main highway to the north. On 28 March, the villagers ambushed three armored cars and an accompanying military convoy, an action in which the local Arab Liberation Army (ALA) unit initially refused to participate. As the battle progressed and the villagers gained the upper hand, the ALA joined in; seventy–four Haganah soldiers were killed in the battle, according to the villagers. A New York Times report corroborated the clash, putting the number of casualties at forty–nine Jews and six Arabs killed, and added that the Jewish convoy had consisted of five trucks and an armored car. This triggered a British bombardment of al-Kabri. Later, during the final attack on the village, an undisclosed number of villagers were taken captive and some were killed, according to the villagers' testimony. Others were killed during their dispersal in Galilee when Zionist forces found out that they were from al-Kabri.

On 18 January 1949, a kibbutz was inaugurated in place of the destroyed village and named Kibbutz Kabri, according to records consulted by Morris. It was established in the northwest part of the village site. The settlements of Ga'ton , built in 1948, Me'ona , built in 1949, 'En Ya'aqov , built in 1950, and Ma'alot , built in 1957, are today all to the east of the site on lands that belonged either to al-Kabri or to the village of Tarshiha, some 10 km east of al-Kabri. Because the last Mandate–era map of village landholdings amalgamates the lands of al-Kabri and Tarshiha , it is impossible to determine whether it is al-Kabri's land or the land of Tarshiha which has now been occupied by the latter four settlements. The newest settlement on al-Kabri's lands is Kefar Vradim, built in 1984.

All that remains of the village are crumbled walls and stone rubble, overgrown with thorns, weeds, and bushes. The settlement of Kabri uses the land adjacent to the site for agriculture and as a pasture.