PLace

al-Haram

Place
al-Haram — الحَرَم
Known also as: Sayyiduna 'Ali
District
Lydda
Average Elevation
25 m
Subdistrict
Jaffa
Distance from Jaffa
16 km
Population
Year Arab Jews Total
1944/45 520 360 880
1931 333
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 2681 4745 639 8065
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable 175 643 405 1223
Built-up 18
193 643 405 1241 (15%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Cereal 2096 4057 234 6387
Plantation and Irrigable 256 45 301
Citrus and Bananas 136 136
2488 4102 234 6824 (85%)
Number of Houses (1931)
83

The village was situated on a low sandstone hill on the central coastal plain, overlooking the Mediterranean seashore. Built around the shrine of al-Hasan ibn 'Ali (d. A.D. 1081), a descendant of the second Muslim caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the village also was known as Sayyiduna 'Ali ('our lord 'Ali'). The Syrian Sufi traveller al-Bakri al-Siddiqi, who journeyed in the area in the mid-eighteenth century, reported that he was given overnight lodgings in the mosque of al-Haram. Traditionally, people from all over Palestine came to the shrine during the summer to pray, perform rituals, and collect souvenirs. Al-Haram's population was predominantly Muslim. The village houses were made of stone or adobe brick and were built close together. An elementary school, founded in 1921, had an enrollment of sixty-eight students by the mid-1940s. Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy; in 1944/45, 136 dunums of village land were devoted to citrus and bananas and 2,096 dunums were allocated to cereals; 256 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition to agriculture, the residents engaged in fishing. Eight hundred m north of the village lay Khirbat Arsuf (132178). Excavation at this site in 1977 and 1982 revealed the remains of a suq (market) dating to the early Islamic period. However, the history of the site spans from the fifth century B.C. to the sixteenth century A.D. During the Hellenistic period it was known as Apollonia. The Crusaders built a fortress there that they called Arsur. Arshuf was also mentioned in the sixteenth-century Ottoman tax records. It seems that it was only after the site of Arshuf had been abandoned, some time in the seventeenth century, that al-Haram was built.

Al-Haram was probably seized by Zionist troops some time before the end of the British Mandate on 15 May 1948. By this time, Zionist forces were in control of the whole coastal area between Haifa and Tel Aviv (see Abu Kishk, Jaffa District).

The settlement of Rishpon (133178) was built in 1936 on the northern border of al-Haram's lands; Kefar Shemaryahu (133176) was established in 1937 southeast of the village site, on what had traditionally been village land.

The shrine, a few houses, and the cemetery are all that remain of the village. The partially renovated shrine is a large complex with an elaborate architecture, including arched colonnaded porticos and a minaret that rises atop one of its buildings. Near the shrine, the ruined foundations of village houses are visible; further away, several houses stand which are presently inhabited by Jews. The dilapidated cemetery overlooks the sea and is used as a parking lot for Israeli tourists.