PLace

'Arab al-Safa

Place
'Arab al-Safa — عَرَب الصَفا
Known also as: al-Safa
District
Galilee
Average Elevation
-225 m
Subdistrict
Baysan
Distance from Baysan
7.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 650 650
1931 540
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 7549 2523 2446 12518
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 100 1524 1624
100 1524 1624 (13%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Cereal 7449 2460 922 10831
Plantation and Irrigable 14 14
Citrus and Bananas 49 49
7449 2523 922 10894 (87%)
Number of Houses (1931)
108

The village extended over a wide area south of the village of Masil al-Jizl and Wadi al-Shaykh Mahmud, and overlooked a broad, open area to the east of the Jordan. A secondary road linked it to the Baysan-Jericho highway that ran 5 km to the west of it, and dirt paths connected it to neighboring villages on the Jordan. In the late nineteenth century, the French traveler Guérin passed through Arab al-Safa, where he reported finding several ancient tombs. Like many villages in Baysan District, Arab al-Safa was originally a summer camping site for nomadic Bedouin that later became a permanent settlement when the Bedouin adopted a sedentary way of life.

Several springs flowed in village lands near the Jordan. The village houses, built of cane and mud, and the tents of some villagers were scattered on both sides of the secondary road that led to the Baysan-Jericho road. Agriculture was the main source of livelihood for the predominantly Muslim population. Their arable lands lay to the east of the village, most notably in the zawr (see Glossary) on the Jordan. Their crops included grain and vegetables. Palm trees were planted in the southeast, near a spring. In 1944 a total of 7,449 dunums was allotted to cereals. Other lands, particularly those of the katar (bad lands; see Glossary) and the nearby swamps, were nonarable.

The village of Arab al-Safa was depopulated on 20 May 1948, most probably in the wake of the fall of Baysan, which had been captured around one week earlier in an operation that targeted the entire Baysan Valley. The occupying forces were units of the Golani Brigade, acting within the framework of Plan Dalet.

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands. However, Tirat Tzvi, founded in 1937, is close to the site on the lands of al-Zarra'a, to the southwest; Sde Eliyyahu, established in 1939, is also close by on the lands of Arab al-Arida, west of Arab al-Safa.

Three palm trees stand on the village site. The surrounding lands are used for growing wheat.