PLace

Umm al-Zinat

Place
Umm al-Zinat — أُم الزِينات
District
Haifa
Subdistrict
Haifa
Average Elevation
325 m
Distance from Haifa
20.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 1029
1944/45 1470
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 18684 51 3421 22156
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable 6994 10 3421 10425
Built-up 69
7063 10 3421 10494 (47%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Total
Cereal 9879 41 9920
Plantation and Irrigable 1742 1742
11621 41 11662 (53%)
Number of Houses (1931)
209

The village stood on a rocky cliff on the southeastern section of Mount Carmel, and overlooked the bilad al-rawha' (see Daliyat al-Rawha', Haifa sub-disctrict). A secondary road linked it to the coastal highway and to the Haifa-Jenin highway. Its name, Umm al-Zinat, means 'source of adornments' in Arabic. In the late nineteenth century, Umm al-Zinat was a village built of stone and situated on a saddle-shaped hill. An estimated 350 people lived in it then, and cultivated 25 faddans (1 faddan = 100-250 dunums).

Umm al-Zinat was among the ten largest villages in the sub-disctrict in terms of both population (1,450 Muslims and 20 Christians) and land area. The village's layout resembled a tennis racquet, with a 'handle' extending towards the northeast. Its houses, built of masonry, were clustered together. A boys' elementary school was established in it in about 1888 under Ottoman rule.

The villagers drew water for domestic use from several wells. They depended for their livelihood on agriculture and animal husbandry, growing grain, vegetables, and fruit trees. By 1943, they had planted about 1,834 dunums of olive trees, the largest unbroken expanse of olive trees in the sub-disctrict. Umm al-Zinat had four manual olive presses. In 1944/45 a total of 9,879 dunums was allotted to cereals; 1,742 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. There were traces in the village itself of earlier settlement; these took the form of the foundations of buildings, rock-cut tombs, and, in the eastern part of the village, a stone sarcophagus. One km south of the village was Khirbat al-Haramis, where the ruins of an ancient but as yet undated village were found.

In the early days of the war, an attack was carried out by a Zionist unit composed of ten militiamen who were dressed in British army uniforms, employing a tactic that was commonly used to gain entrance to Arab villages. The Palestinian newspaper Filastin reported that the raid occurred on the night of 19-20 January and was driven back it did not mention any casualties.

In the aftermath of the fall of Haifa, in late April 1948, Haganah forces occupied a number of villages in the surrounding area during Operation Bi'ur Hametz (passover Clearing). Umm al-Zinat was captured on 15 May by the Golani Brigade's Fourth Battalion, according to the official History of the War of Independence. The village was situated on what the Haganah considered its 'alternate supply route' to Haifa, since the coastal road was 'blocked' by a cluster of Palestinian villages (the Little Triangle) until the end of July. The New York Times quoted Haganah sources as saying on 15 May that they had taken 'several' Arab villages on the slopes of Mount Carmel and near Afula.

Zionists established the settlement of Elyaqim on the southern side of the village site in 1949.

The houses have been reduced to rubble, piles of which are scattered over the site. The site itself is overgrown with thorns, bushes, cactuses, and pomegranate and fig trees. There is also a small forest on part of the site. The village's cemetery is still visible. Part of the surrounding land is used by Israeli farmers as cattle pasture and is planted with fruit and olive trees.