PLace

al-Kafrayn

Place
al-Kafrayn — الكَفْرَيْن
District
Haifa
Average Elevation
250 m
Subdistrict
Haifa
Distance from Haifa
29.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 920 920
1931 * 657 657
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 9981 901 10882
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 40 766 806
Built-up 18 18
58 766 824 (8%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Cereal 9776 135 9911
Plantation and Irrigable 147 147
9923 135 10058 (92%)
Number of Houses (1931)
95
*

Al-Kafrayn was located in an open landscape of gentle slopes and shallow wadis. It was built on a hilltop surrounded by wadis that separated long, sloping hills, about 6 km north of Wadi 'Ara. A secondary road led northwest to the Haifa-Jinin highway (which bordered on Marj ibn 'Amir). Al-Kafrayn, which means 'the two villages' in Arabic, was called Caforana by the Crusaders. In the late nineteenth century, al-Kafrayn had 200 residents who cultivated 30 faddans (1 faddan = 100-250 dunums; see Glossary). Al-Kafrayn was rectangular in shape, its longest side extending from east to west. The residents, who were Muslim, built their houses of mud and cement and also maintained a mosque and a boys' elementary school that was established about 1888, during the Ottoman period. The village lands contained about ten wells and springs. Its economy was based on cattle-breeding and agriculture. The primary crop was grain. In 1944/45 a total of 9,776 dunums were allotted to cereals; 147 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Al-Kafrayn contained a number of ruins that revealed its long history, such as the foundations of buildings, columns, and tombs.

Zionist forces claimed to have occupied the village on 12 April 1948, and Arab Liberation Army (ALA) records indicate that Arab forces withdrew from an area just west of al-Kafrayn the following day. The Palmach attack on al-Kafrayn was part of an operation launched after the battle of Mishmar ha-'Emeq (see Abu Shusha, Haifa District). When Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion and the Haganah command rejected the ALA's offer of a ceasefire in that battle, they also decided to attack and destroy about ten villages near the settlement, including al-Kafrayn, which, acording to the New York Times, was the largest. A 12 April Haganah broadcast was quoted by the New York Times as saying that it was the fifth village around Mishmar ha-'Emeq to be occupied by their forces.

Israeli historian Benny Morris reports that the village was partially destroyed during its occupation, but final demolition was postponed for a week, due to the Palmach's plan to use the village to train units to fight in built-up areas. On 19 April the Haganah General Staff was informed: 'Yesterday company exercises in fighting in built-up areas took place south and east of Mishmar Ha'emek. At the end of the exercises, the village of el Kafrin was blown up completely.'

No Israeli settlements are on village lands, but some of these lands are occupied by a military training camp.

The site and its surrounding area are divided between a military training camp and a cow pasture. A rubble-filled area has been fenced in and is covered with dirt, underbrush, and thorns. Almond, olive, and fig trees are scattered around the site.