PLace

al-Khayriyya

Place
al-Khayriyya — الخَيْرِيَّة
District
Lydda
Subdistrict
Jaffa
Average Elevation
25 m
Distance from Jaffa
7.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 886 914
1944/45 1420 1420
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 7182 5842 648 13672
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 167 608 775
Built-up 26
193 608 801 (6%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Cereal 2355 3097 40 5492
Plantation and Irrigable 1275 122 1397
Citrus and Bananas 3359 2623 5982
6989 5842 40 12871 (94%)
Number of Houses (1931)
212

The village was situated in a flat area in the central coastal plain. A network of roads passing through and near it afforded the village easy access to the cities of Jaffa, Lydda, Ramla, and Tel Aviv as well as to the surrounding villages. In the early eighth century B.C. the Assyrian king Sennacherib recorded the names of towns on the coastal plain of Palestine that had been conquered, and one of them, Banai Berka, was on the site of al-Khayriyya. In Roman times it was known as Beneberak, and during the Crusades there was a castle on the site that the Crusaders built and called Bombrac. Throughout the Ottoman period the village was known as Ibn Baraq. In 1596, al-Khayriyya was a village in the nahiya of Ramla (liwa' of Gaza) with a population of 154. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, fruits, and sesame, as well as on other types of produce and property, such as goats, beehives, and vineyards. The residents changed the name of their village to al-Khayriyya (the good, the giving) during the Mandate to distinguish it from the Zionist colony of Bene Beraq that was founded 6 km north of the village in 1924.

AI-Khayriyya's population at that time was predominantly Muslim; only twenty of the inhabitants were Christian. The village had two schools, one for boys and another for girls. The boys' school, established in 1920, was attached to a plot of 8 dunums of land used for agricultural training. The girls' school was founded in 1945. By 1946, 183 males and 69 females were enrolled in these schools. The residents worked primarily in agriculture and animal husbandry. In 1944/45 a total of 3,359 dunums of village land was devoted to citrus and bananas and 2,355 dunums were allotted to cereals; 1,275 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Numerous artesian wells supplied them with irrigation water.

The village had been exposed to hostile military activity for several months before it was finally occupied. On 15 December 1947, the Palestinian newspaper Filastin reported that the villagers of al-Khayriyya were digging defensive trenches around the village and manning outposts at its entrances, apparently in response to attacks on nearby Salama and al-'Abbasiyya. On 12 February 1948, the newspaper reported that Zionist forces had moved into an orchard belonging to the village under cover of night and had blown up a house; no casualties were mentioned.

Al-Khayriyya was one of a cluster of villages east of Jaffa occupied during Operation Hametz (see Bayt Dajan, Jaffa sub-disctrict), which was designed to 'cleanse the area' and encircle Jaffa. The village was seized by the Haganah's Alexandroni Brigade on 29 April 1948.

The settlement of Kefar Azar (135162) was established on what was traditionally village land in 1932. The settlements of Ramat Pinqas (135160) and Ramat Ef’al (134161) were established north of the village site in 1952 and 1969, respectively, on village lands. The site now lies within the suburbs of the town of Giv'atayim (132164).

A handful of houses and one of the schools remain. One deserted house, surrounded by shrubs and wild vegetation, has simple architecture: a rectangular door, small side windows, and a flat roof. A two-storey house, identified as having belonged to Ahmad al-Tibi, is used as a store. It has rectangular doors and windows and a gabled roof. Cypress, fig, Christ's-thorn, and orange trees grow on the site. Part of the adjacent land is cultivated and the rest is occupied by buildings.