PLace

al-Samakiyya

Place
al-Samakiyya — السَمَكِيَّة
Known also as: 'Arab al-Samakiyya
District
Galilee
Subdistrict
Tiberias
Average Elevation
-200 m
Distance from Tiberias
11 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 * 290 290
1944/45 380 380
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 10474 52 10526
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 6372 52 6424
6372 52 6424 (61%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 4034 4034
Plantation and Irrigable 66 66
Citrus and Bananas 2 2
4102 4102 (39%)
Number of Houses (1931)
60
*

The village was located in a volcanic area on the northern coast of Lake Tiberias. It was linked by a secondary road to the highway which wound around the lake shore to the city of Tiberias. The village was built close to the site of the Roman/Byzantine city of Kefar Nachum (or Capernaum). Now in ruins, this city is known as Tall Hum, although there is no actual tell (mound) on the site. In his discussion of the route around the northern edge of Lake Tiberias, Josephus referred to al-Samakiyya as a village that cultivated fertile agricultural land and was called Capharnaum by the inhabitants. It was mentioned in the New Testament as the city where Christ resided most of the time after leaving Nazareth.

The American biblical scholar Edward Robinson mentioned that the small tribe of al-Samakiyya used some houses in Abu Shusha, to the southwest, as storage places. The village of al-Samakiyya had no distinctive settlement pattern; its houses were dispersed southwest of Wadi al-Wadabani. Some of these dwellings were Bedouin tents made of goat's hair, while others were houses built of stone and mud, stone and cement, or concrete. The 380 inhabitants of the village consisted of 330 Muslims and 50 Christians. They relied for their livelihood on livestock breeding and agriculture (mainly grain). In 1944/45 only 2 dunums were devoted to citrus and bananas while 4,034 dunums were allocated to cereals; 66 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Several churches and monasteries were located in the hills between al-Samakiyya and the nearby village of al-Tabigha, including an Italian monastery, a Franciscan church, and a Greek Orthodox church. (The residents in the area claim that Christ delivered his 'Sermon on the Mount' on one of these hills, called Khirbat al-Mubaraka, or 'the blessed.')

One source mentions that a Bedouin tribe in the area named the 'Arab al-Samakiyya was swept away by Israeli forces during Operation Matate (Broom). That offensive was implemented on 4 May 1948, as a sub-operation within Operation Yiftach (see Abil al-Qamh, Safad sub-disctrict). The aim was to expel the inhabitants of the area, destroy their houses, and 'to join the lower and upper Galilee with a relatively wide and safe strip' of Jewish-controlled territory. On 28 May, the New York Times reported that 'Associated Press correspondents who toured battlefronts on the north and east with Israeli forces said the Arabs had been swept almost virtually clear of northern Galilee by an Israeli operation called 'The Broom.''

The settlement of Amnon, built in 1983 on village land, is 2 km north of the village site. A private farm called Wered ha-Galil and the settlement of Korazin, both built in 1983, are also on village land.

The village site is covered with wild vegetation, piles of basalt stones, and date palm trees. Part of the surrounding land is used as pasture, and the other part is planted with fruit and walnut trees.