PLace

'Awlam

Place
'Awlam — عَوْلَم
Known also as: 'Ulam
District
Galilee
Average Elevation
250 m
Subdistrict
Tiberias
Distance from Tiberias
15 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 720
1931 * 555
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 10816 7725 5 18546
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable 3963 3029 5 6997
Built-up 28 22 50
3991 3051 5 7047 (38%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Total
Cereal 6623 4516 11139
Plantation and Irrigable 202 158 360
6825 4674 11499 (62%)
Number of Houses (1931)
139
*

The village was situated on the slopes of the westward-flowing Wadi 'Awlam (a tributary of Wadi al-Bira) and faced the northwest. It was linked by a secondary road to a highway that led to Tiberias and some neighboring villages. 'Awlam is identified with the important Roman city of Oulamma, which the Crusaders referred to later as Heulem. In 1596, 'Awlam was a village in the nahiya of Tiberias (liwa' of Safad) with a population of eighty-three. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as on other types of property, such as goats and beehives.

In the late nineteenth century, 'Awlam was described as a village built of adobe bricks and was situated on elevated ground. The village's 120 residents cultivated 30 faddans (1faddan = 100-250 dunums; see Glossary). During the British Mandate the village had an irregular shape, with its longest axis running from east to west. Most of the houses (which were built very close to each other) were built of stones and adobe brick. Their roofs were made of timber and reeds covered with a layer of mud. A small number of houses, however, were built of stone and cement, or concrete. The villagers, all of whom were Muslims, included members of a Bedouin tribe called the 'Arab al-Muwaylhat. The village had a mosque and an elementary school that was founded in the Ottoman period but was closed during the Mandate.

The villagers drew their drinking and domestic water from more than six springs. They relied on agriculture and cattle breeding for their livelihood. They planted various kinds of grain; vegetables and fruits (such as figs, grapes, and pomegranates) also were cultivated. Fruit orchards were planted to the north, northwest, and west of the village. In 1944/45 a total of 6,623 dunums were allotted to cereals; 202 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. As mentioned above, historical documents indicate that the village was built on at least part of the site of an earlier town. This is confirmed by the many examples of reused building materials and the unused fragments of earlier construction that were found in the village.

Israeli military intelligence claimed that the villagers were ordered to leave on 6 April 1948 by the Arab Higher Committee, ostensibly because they feared that the villagers would support the Zionists. However, this claim is belied by the History of the Haganah, which states that units of the Golani Brigade entered 'Awlam in the following month, on 12 May, and that the villagers 'fled in fear of the Jews.' With this operation, the lower Galilee was emptied of its Arab inhabitants. In the same assault, the Haganah took three other villages: Sirin (Baysan District), Hadatha, and Ma'dhar. It is not clear what became of the inhabitants.

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands. Zionists established Kefar Qish (192230) 4.5 km west of the village site in 1946, on lands belonging to the nearby village of Ma'dhar.

Nothing remains of the village buildings except stone rubble; only a spring that was used by the villagers has been left unchanged. The site has been made into a cow pasture, and cactuses grow on it. The nearby lands are cultivated by the residents of the Kefar Qish settlement.