PLace

Dayr al-Dubban

Place
Dayr al-Dubban — دَيْر الدُبّان
District
Jerusalem
Average Elevation
225 m
Subdistrict
Hebron
Distance from Hebron
26 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 730 730
1931 543 543
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 7777 7 7784
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 2361 7 2368
Built-up 58 58
2419 7 2426 (31%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 5358 5358
5358 5358 (69%)
Number of Houses (1931)
112

The village stood on a sloping hill at the end of the western foothills of the Hebron Mountains. Secondary roads linked it to the adjacent villages of 'Ajjur, to the northeast, and Tall al-Safi, to the northwest. These roads ultimately led to the highways connecting the cities of Hebron, al-Ramla, Gaza, and Jerusalem. The village name was probably a colloquial variant of al-dhubban ('flies'), raising the question of whether the ancient inhabitants of the village worshipped Ba'l Zabub ('lord of flies'), the chief Canaanite deity in 'Aqrun (south of al-Ramla). In 1596 Dayr al-Dubban was a village in the nahiya of Jerusalem (liwa' of Jerusalem), with 396 inhabitants. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, olive trees, vineyards, and fruit trees, as well as on goats and beehives. In the early nineteenth century the American biblical scholar Edward Robinson reported passing near Dayr al-Dubban on his way to examine some caverns nearby.

The modern population of the village was Muslim. Rainfed agriculture represented its main economic activity, followed by animal husbandry. The people of Dayr al-Dubban cultivated two grain crops annually, one in summer and the second in winter. As a customary practice they divided the land into eastern and western sections, planted one section during one season and left the other fallow. The land that was immediately adjacent to the site was gradually planted with fig trees, grapes, and vegetables. In 1944/45 a total of 5,358 dunums was allocated to cereals. Animals were pastured on the nonagricultural land. Dayr al-Dubban was built on an archeological site containing the foundations of buildings, mosaic floors, burial places, and rock-hewn presses. The village was located in an area rich in archaeological sites; there were five sites within the 2 square km of land surrounding the village.

During Operation Yo'av (see Barbara, Gaza District), the Israeli army's Giv'ati Brigade moved north and east towards Hebron while other forces were pushing southwards in the direction of Gaza and the Negev. Dayr al-Dubban was captured during the northwards push, falling into Israeli hands on 23-24 October 1948, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. A couple of days before its capture, the New York Times quoted the comment of an Israeli military spokesman on the overall operational aims. The spokesman said on 21 October that the Israeli army had no intention of capturing Egyptian army strongholds in the area, but 'in operations to cut the roads, some places were so weakened that it seemed the obvious thing to take them.' Morris states that most of the villagers in the Hebron area had fled before the arrival of Israeli troops, but that some were also expelled.

The settlement of Luzit (139121), composed of Moroccan Jews, was established northeast of the village site in 1955.

The site is overgrown with thorny plants, foxtail, khubbayza (mallow), and a few cactuses and olive trees. The village's old roads are easily identifiable. There are also remnants of stone terraces and a cave. Onions, other vegetables, and fruits are grown on the adjacent land by Israelis farmers.