Subscribe to Print Edition | Mon., October 01, 2007 , | | Israel Time: 02:26 (EST+7)
Haaretz israel news English
web haaretz.com
  Back to Homepage
Print Edition
Diplomacy
Defense Arts & Leisure Real Estate Jewish World National Advertising
Magazine Week's End Business Opinion Rosner's Domain Anglo File Books Travel
del.icio.us
Digg It!  new
Last update - 07:42 06/08/2006
The seven lost villages
By Danny Rubinstein

Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and his followers occasionally mention the fact that in 1948 the "Zionist entity" annexed several Lebanese villages, expelled their residents, stole their property and destroyed their homes. He is referring to seven villages that were part of Mandatory Palestine, and whose inhabitants were Shiite Muslims. At the time they were called Metawalis, a name almost certainly derived from the word wali, which in Arabic means "to be loyal and holy"; the loyalty is to Caliph Ali and his descendants, who are central to Shiite Islam.

Although Nasrallah's principal demands are Israeli withdrawal from the Shaba Farms and the release of Lebanese prisoners, it is clear that when circumstances allow, he will demand the return of these villages to Lebanon and the return of the refugees to their lands.

Between 1916 and 1923, struggles, mainly diplomatic, took place over setting the northern border of Mandatory Eretz Israel, which is the present border line. The main players in the dispute were France, which had received the mandate over Syria and Lebanon, and Britain, which had received the mandate over Palestine-Eretz Israel. Other political groups also were involved, such as the Zionist Histadrut and representatives of the Arab National Movement, which was then just starting out.

Advertisement
When the border was finally drawn, there were several Shiite villages on the Eretz Israel side. According to the population registries of the end of the British Mandate period, a small community of about 4,000 Metawali Shiites remained in Eretz Israel. Some researchers believe this group originated in Persia, and that they arrived in South Lebanon in the seventh century, at the initiative of the Caliph Muawiya. There is no proof of that.

The northernmost of the Shiite villages is Ibel al-Qamah, which was located about two kilometers south of Metula. Until it was destroyed in 1948, this little village stood on the ancient tel of the biblical city of Avel Beit-Maakha, which is mentioned in the book of II Samuel. Metula-born archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov remembers that there were few families in the village, half of them Christian and half Shiite. He says there was a small church in the village, whose bell served after 1948 to summon the members of Kibbutz Kfar Giladi to their dining room.

At the time there were rumors that the Shiite mukhtar of Ibel al-Qamah, Abu Sheikh, had a lover with whom he met secretly in Metula. According to Ben-Dov, in 1948 Abu Sheikh went on a pilgrimage to the sacred burial site Nebi Yusha (today the Yesha Fortress, west of the Hula Valley). On the winding road ascending to the grave the bus was attacked by a unit of the Palmach (the pre-State Jewish commando force) and Abu Sheikh was killed. Despite that, Ben-Dov testifies to the exceptionally good relations that prevailed for many years between the residents of Metula and their neighbors, the Metawali farmers.

Nebi Yusha was one of the important gravesites of holy men visited by the Metawalis living in the hills of south Lebanon, hills that were then called Jebel Amal. Magen Broshi, former head of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, was a Palmach man, and a member of Kibbutz Maayan Baruch in 1947-48. A fluent speaker of Arabic, he hiked in the surrounding villages and once participated in the regular hilula (pilgrimage celebration) at Nebi Yusha.

According to Broshi, surrounding the grave were several houses of the Metawalis who were in charge of the compound, and members of the small Bedouin tribe who hosted and protected him lived nearby. Broshi particularly remembers how strictly the Metawalis observed the laws of purity. They avoided eating with anyone who was not a Shiite, and this custom distanced them from the Sunni majority in the region.

In any case, Broshi says he often visited the largest Shiite village in Eretz Israel - Hunin. The village was located on the spot where Moshav Margaliot stands today, on a hill west of Kiryat Shmona. Some of Hunin's houses were built with the stones of the large Crusader fortress called Chateau Neuf (in Arabic, Qal'at Hunin), whose central section is still standing. Mustafa Dabar, an Arab from Jaffa who was exiled in the 1948 war, wrote in his encyclopedia, "Our Land of Palestine," that on the eve of the war, almost 2,000 people lived in Hunin.

Three additional Shiite-Metawali villages were located within the boundaries of the British Mandate. The first, Qadas, was small, and stood adjacent to Nebi Yusha, near the tel of the bibilical city of Kedesh Naftali. To the south stood the village of Malkiya, adjacent to the kibbutz of the same name, where the only battle against the Lebanese Army was waged during the War of Independence.

During that same battle, Rehavam Zeevi commanded a Palmach unit while the unit of the Lebanese army was commanded by Hazim Khaladi, a scion of a famous Palestinian family from Jerusalem. Khaladi was a professional soldier, who fought in the ranks of the British army during World War II and afterward served as the commander of an officers' training school in Damascus. Later he returned to his home in East Jerusalem and served as the director of the Jordanian tourist bureau in the city. After the Six-Day War, Zeevi, who was then the head of the IDF Central Command, met him, and they went together to Malkiya and recalled the 1948 battle.

Southeast of Malkiya, on the northern highway near present-day Moshav Avivim, stood the village of Salha. The village was known for its Taggart fort, which was built by the British in 1938 as a garrison fort at the height of the Arab rebellion, as part of the plan for building the "northern fence" to separate Eretz Israel from Lebanon. The fortress - like those in Nebi Yusha and in other locations in the Galilee - was named after British police officer and engineer Sir Charles Taggart, who initiated their construction after have acquired experience in suppressing insurgencies in India. The residents of the Shiite villages in Eretz Israel, which were part of the Safed district, fled in May of 1948, with the capture of the Arab part of the city of Safed by Palmach forces. The refugees crossed the border to the nearby Metawali villages in south Lebanon. Broshi recalls that at least in one instance he and his friends distributed leaflets in the villages of the Upper Galilee, asking the residents not to leave.

In the late 1970s, when the Israeli government opened the Good Fence, and many of the villagers of South Lebanon began to work in Israel, archaeologist Ben-Dov visited Nebi Yusha and was surprised to discover the holy site had been cleaned and renovated somewhat. It was obvious to him that some of the Metawali workers were coming to prostrate themselves on the grave of the holy man.

When Nasrallah and Hezbollah talk about the Shiite villages under Israel's jurisdiction, they mention two additional ones, which were located in the Western Galilee: Tarbikha, which is now the site of Moshav Shomera, and the town of Al-Bassa - now Betzet - whose residents were Metawalis and Christians.

The comprehensive book "The Arabs of Eretz Israel" written in 1947 by Yaakov Shimoni (in Hebrew), also tells of Shiites from South Lebanon who came during the British Mandate years to work as laborers in Haifa. They even had a small clubhouse in the lower city. As far as we know, none of them remained in Israel.
Bookmark to del.icio.us
Lights out
Electric company cancels emergency bond issue due to credit rating reduction fears.
No free lunches
Accountant General Zelekha demands VIPs pay taxes on their free medical benefits.
  1.   metawli and shiites 15:05  |  Ali 06/08/06
  2.   Eretz Robbery 15:31  |  Charles Norham 06/08/06
  3.   what will they want next 16:04  |  zionist forever 06/08/06
  4.   we should also claim historic jewish lands into 16:19  |  ralph 06/08/06
  5.   look up elba dig in syria, lets also claim our historc lands 16:19  |  ralph 06/08/06
  6.   The lost villages... 16:22  |  Jean-Pierre Zahar 06/08/06
  7.   reclaiming villiges 16:27  |  Aron Nilsson 06/08/06
  8.   Charles - Hail oh superior one .. 16:56  |  SA 06/08/06
  9.   Charles - Hail .. oh superior one 17:00  |  SA 06/08/06
  10.   answer to the gentleman from Oxford 17:09  |  Jeff Abel 06/08/06
  11.   To Aron 17:10  |  y 06/08/06
  12.   Zionist Forever 17:11  |  SA 06/08/06
  13.   answer to Charles Norham 17:33  |  Jeff Abel 06/08/06
  14.   The West Bank Is Jewish 17:34  |  Menahem 06/08/06
  15.   #2 History outside of Oxford 17:42  |  Kate 06/08/06
  16.   #2 Charles 18:09  |  DB 06/08/06
  17.   of course they will demand but that does not make them right 18:22  |  ralph 06/08/06
  18.   what will they want next 18:53  |  Mustang 06/08/06
  19.   The Ancient World and The End for Nasrallah. 19:21  |  Amos Magram 06/08/06
  20.   Charles Norham - MUSTAFA 19:22  |  ANTI IDIOTS 06/08/06
  21.   differences between Jewish culture in the area and this 19:25  |  toronto 06/08/06
  22.   #16 19:31  |  from toronto 06/08/06
  23.   analyze this!! eretz THIS!!!!! 20:29  |  robbery 06/08/06
  24.   To #23, "Robbery" 21:12  |  you are wrong 06/08/06
  25.   get over it! 21:17  |  eve 06/08/06
  26.   I believe that there has been someone else 21:35  |  very sorry 06/08/06
  27.   Metwali 23:10  |  Omar 06/08/06
  28.   Our Land..no matter time 23:55  |  Lebanese 06/08/06
  29.   Justice and peace 23:58  |  Anis Sury 06/08/06
  30.   seven villages 00:41  |  Jeanbo 07/08/06
  31.   Justice & Peace: The Seven Lost Villages...and more 00:54  |  Bob 07/08/06
  32.   The seven lost villages...and more 00:58  |  Bob 07/08/06
  33.   "Anti Idiots" 01:03  |  Bob 07/08/06
  34.   ...Quote from Abbass.... 01:35  |  Bob 07/08/06
  35.   lost village or not lost village 01:39  |  isaac 07/08/06
  36.   The expulsion of Jews from Wadi Abu Jamil, Beirut 01:48  |  Jake 07/08/06
  37.   Bob from San Francisco 01:51  |  Jake 07/08/06
  38.   To eve #25 Re: get over it 01:55  |  Hussein 07/08/06
  39.   about sharing 02:23  |  marx 07/08/06
  40.   Terrorism in Britain Response to #2 03:02  |  Clint Eastwood 07/08/06
  41.   judaism has about 3000+years on you... 03:03  |  xiao 07/08/06
  42.   Eratz Roberry - Title by Terrorism 03:32  |  Rick 07/08/06
  43.   only silly haaretz would even talk of this. 03:38  |  ralph 07/08/06
  44.   ANSWER 04:16  |  SDF 07/08/06
  45.   Nasrallah is going to have a hard time demanding ... 05:11  |  Barbara 07/08/06
  46.   Eretz robbery 05:18  |  Larry 07/08/06
  47.   Southern Lebanon 05:56  |  Red 07/08/06
  48.   Amos makes sense 05:56  |  Mark 07/08/06
  49.   To no 7 06:05  |  Marie 07/08/06
  50.   Hussein - go back to the arabian peninsula 06:09  |  DavidAK 07/08/06
  51.   Bob #30 -- you forget the million jews driven out by the Arabs 06:19  |  DavidAK 07/08/06
  52.   Phoenicians owns it all... 07:08  |  Paul 07/08/06
  53.   To Bob of San Francisco about the lost tribes 07:08  |  Power to the zionist 07/08/06
  54.   HOW HUMAN IS ISRAEL ! 07:28  |  ALI 07/08/06
  55.   charles norham 07:33  |  observer 07/08/06
  56.   charles norham 07:34  |  observer 07/08/06
  57.   JEWISH PARADOXE 07:36  |  ALI 07/08/06
  58.   to # 41 07:42  |  sam 07/08/06
  59.   historic land.. 07:55  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  60.   Nation building 08:01  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  61.   Reclaiming land 08:15  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  62.   The seven lost villages 08:28  |  Walid AbiDaoud 07/08/06
  63.   How about reparations instead of land? 08:30  |  Ron Kelly 07/08/06
  64.   Charles Norham 08:35  |  sg 07/08/06
  65.   Justice..? 08:49  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  66.   To David AK, NY 09:12  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  67.   To Barbara, USA 09:23  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  68.   Lost Jewish Villages Jordan, Gaza, Etc. 09:24  |  Yochanan Avraham 07/08/06
  69.   People do not OWN lands: They live on them. 09:33  |  AA 07/08/06
  70.   Justice - the Modern way 09:42  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  71.   #5 09:47  |  Don 07/08/06
  72.   to charles - why is academia so stupid 10:00  |  Don 07/08/06
  73.   Pawn to Rook4 10:55  |  Jeff Jafaar 07/08/06
  74.   Re: 64 - AA Land vs. People 11:05  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  75.   check: to 69 - JJ 11:15  |  Sid Has 07/08/06
  76.   #50, paul idiot 12:04  |  vladimir 07/08/06
  77.   The seven lost villages 12:04  |  fvg 07/08/06
  78.   Terrorism in Britain Response 12:11  |  NS 07/08/06
  79.   Walid AbiDaoud - Hezbollah`s wish 12:42  |  uruandimi 07/08/06
  80.   A Quote from a wise man 12:53  |  NS 07/08/06
  81.   Ali #56 - Accept the wish for peace 13:07  |  uruandimi 07/08/06
  82.   No more withdrawals from any land 13:29  |  Avi 07/08/06
  83.   #2 Charles: What did English cancer do for centuries? 13:35  |  Englishvictim 07/08/06
  84.   ce what you preach 13:41  |  Gunther 07/08/06
  85.   lost villages 13:55  |  rivka richterich 07/08/06
  86.   Addition to Kates Message 14:43  |  John Stoll 07/08/06
  87.   THE ANSWER - KEEP ON FIGHTING 15:14  |  mike 07/08/06
  88.   Dealing with terrorists 16:04  |  Ron 07/08/06
  89.   THE ANSWER: CONQUER LEBANON,DESTROY TERROY TERROR, BOMB DAMASCUS! 17:11  |  -VOICE of MOSHIACH)) 07/08/06
  90.   The seven lost villages 17:37  |  Craig 07/08/06
  91.   To the Lebanese posters 17:56  |  dave 07/08/06
  92.   to # 76 18:01  |  Craig 07/08/06
  93.   Irsael will need to return lots of land for peace 18:24  |  BB 07/08/06
  94.   Wadi Abu Jmil 18:37  |  Serge 07/08/06
  95.   Lost Villages 19:07  |  Michaelm 07/08/06
  96.   Charles Norham, Ever been to Ulster? 19:09  |  Gerry Adams 07/08/06
  97.   lost villages; lost anything 19:27  |  Coke Smith 07/08/06
  98.   No Jewland 19:37  |  Pat 07/08/06
  99.   To Hussein#38 19:56  |  Christian 07/08/06
  100.   #51 AMEN TO THAT! 19:58  |  Christian 07/08/06
  101.   #98 20:08  |  Christian 07/08/06
  102.   #93 20:12  |  Christian 07/08/06
  103.   #93 20:12  |  Christian 07/08/06
  104.   Phoenicians 20:21  |  Gabriel 07/08/06
  105.   To #3 21:00  |  Jimmy 07/08/06
  106.   Where does the anger REALLY come from? 21:02  |  Napoleon 07/08/06
  107.   To #7 21:07  |  Jimmy 07/08/06
  108.   Nr. 38, 50 21:19  |  eve 07/08/06
  109.   After Arafat`s demise,orphaned Danny Rubinstein 21:26  |  Absolute Sweden 07/08/06
  110.   Lebanon 21:48  |  Goff 07/08/06
  111.   contribution of the arabs 22:08  |  leila 07/08/06
  112.   Return city of Madina to the Jews 22:23  |  DJStahl 07/08/06
  113.   History/Bible 22:25  |  leila 07/08/06
  114.   W`ll get it back 22:31  |  Hunini 07/08/06
  115.   Hussein #38 - Arab colonialist robbers 23:14  |  uruandimi 07/08/06
  116.   leila #108 - Illiterate Arab herdsmen 23:37  |  uruandimi 07/08/06
  117.   #107 Eve 23:38  |  Michael 07/08/06
  118.   Reply to #111 23:48  |  Steve 07/08/06
  119.   how dare them 23:50  |  robert 07/08/06
  120.   Return Home 00:03  |  Matthew 08/08/06
  121.   contribution 00:06  |  eve 08/08/06
  122.   reply to 114 00:18  |  eve 08/08/06
  123.   NO SHIITES IN Al-Bassa - now Betzet 01:03  |  Nizar 08/08/06
  124.   Laughable 01:08  |  Mika 08/08/06
  125.   Cancer 01:15  |  MD 08/08/06
  126.   To Charles Norham 01:21  |  Mark Cohen 08/08/06
  127.   Re #116 01:24  |  Anytime 08/08/06
  128.   Historic Jewish land claims 01:33  |  Michael Everett 08/08/06
  129.   "Get over it"?! 01:52  |  Mike 08/08/06
  130.   Hebrew is `Language of Canaan`, like Phoenician 01:58  |  Jake 08/08/06
  131.   Re 114 Gaza photos 02:13  |  DJStahl 08/08/06
  132.   Re 112 Jewish color 02:20  |  DJStahl 08/08/06
  133.   "metawli" 02:56  |  Frank 08/08/06
  134.   Bob 03:27  |  james 08/08/06
  135.   to Bob 03:34  |  Heinz 08/08/06
  136.   The Lost Villages 03:39  |  Sami 08/08/06
  137.   URUANDIMI 04:21  |  Marcel 08/08/06
  138.   To #105 ( Jimmy)-Shebaa Farms 05:02  |  Jake 08/08/06
  139.   TO #107 (JIMMY)-OTTOMANS 05:08  |  JAKE 08/08/06
  140.   eve 107 05:23  |  bart 08/08/06
  141.   Mohaamed, A Product of Roman Catholic Deception 05:43  |  ivanvivian 08/08/06
  142.   TO#111(HUNINI)-WW-LL GET IT BACK 06:00  |  JAKE 08/08/06
  143.   To Michael, #120 06:13  |  Gene 08/08/06
  144.   To bart, #123 06:18  |  Gene 08/08/06
  145.   Religion and WarLand 06:23  |  Paul 08/08/06
  146.   A more nuanced response 06:52  |  Leon 08/08/06
  147.   Muslim Victims 07:07  |  Gene 08/08/06
  148.   To # 124 Jake 08:08  |  Hunini 08/08/06
  149.   Jean-Pierre Zahar 08:41  |  Babbet 08/08/06
  150.   the 7 lost villaves 10:33  |  darine 08/08/06
  151.   nasrallah is remaining 10:39  |  nasrallawiya 08/08/06
  152.   Hear, O Israel! 10:40  |  Amos Magram 08/08/06
  153.   contribution of thye arbs/part 3 12:33  |  leila 08/08/06
  154.   response to "how dare them" 12:37  |  leila 08/08/06
  155.   Why the Palestinians place bombs... 12:38  |  Craig 08/08/06
  156.   to mark cohen 12:51  |  leila 08/08/06
  157.   Hebrew Language 13:02  |  leila 08/08/06
  158.   What did you think? 13:20  |  Jules 08/08/06
  159.   to Menahem #14 13:24  |  zeev 08/08/06
  160.   leila #153 - Algebra under Arab occupation 14:20  |  uruandimi 08/08/06
  161.   Hunini - The Arab countries are new 14:34  |  uruandimi 08/08/06
  162.   lost war = lost areas 14:54  |  Martin 08/08/06
  163.   #44 14:59  |  larry 08/08/06
  164.   Truth, justice and the American way 15:32  |  hanoi 08/08/06
  165.   Algebra under Arab occupation 15:53  |  leila 08/08/06
  166.   Hunini - The Arab countries are not new 16:01  |  leila 08/08/06
  167.   reply to Jeff Abel 16:09  |  jon 08/08/06
  168.   to uruandimi/netherlands 16:23  |  jon 08/08/06
  169.   inhabitants of the land 17:26  |  jon 08/08/06
  170.   Leila, you are partly right 17:30  |  Jake 08/08/06
  171.   The Arabs of Eretz Isreal 17:47  |  carl Foster 08/08/06
  172.   jon - Arab expansion 17:59  |  uruandimi 08/08/06
  173.   to david 18:09  |  David 08/08/06
  174.   Thank you Danny! 18:09  |  Amoz 08/08/06
  175.   Leila- ask for your money back 18:28  |  Peace 08/08/06
  176.   jewish and muslim 18:40  |  godless 08/08/06
  177.   to #171 19:26  |  leila 08/08/06
  178.   159 Zeev 19:58  |  David 08/08/06
  179.   Craig # 155 20:00  |  David 08/08/06
  180.   Lost Villages 20:02  |  Lebanese 08/08/06
  181.   to Hunini (#148) 20:03  |  Danny 08/08/06
  182.   Turning Every one to Nassrallah 20:55  |  sam 08/08/06
  183.   What will they want next 21:01  |  Dave 08/08/06
  184.   Zionist vs Jihadist 21:22  |  ToniD 08/08/06
  185.   defending charles norham 21:30  |  adine 08/08/06
  186.   Charles Norham 22:00  |  Elliot 08/08/06
  187.   ToniD from Oregon is the pathetic one 22:11  |  Jay Patriot 08/08/06
  188.   To Martin from Munich 22:25  |  Lebanese in Canada 08/08/06
  189.   #36 Reply:correction 22:53  |  Jad 08/08/06
  190.   well, yes get over it! 23:25  |  eve 08/08/06
  191.   to 163 "Truth, justice and the American way" 23:40  |  eve 08/08/06
  192.   The Right to Jewish Independence 00:08  |  Nehemia Hovesh 09/08/06
  193.   The seven lost villages 01:12  |  Dr. Nano 09/08/06
  194.   who should be Israel, the Holy Land. 06:15  |  siminov 09/08/06
  195.   to David #178, about your question 10:59  |  zeev 10/08/06
  196.   to Nehemia Hovesh #192 11:57  |  zeev 10/08/06
  197.   Hezbollah and Amal hijacked Lebanon 02:19  |  United Phoenician 13/08/06
  198.   life is more than politics 02:22  |  jimmy 13/08/06
  199.   TRUE FREEDOM 21:38  |  ALI 14/08/06
 Today Online
Israel worried PA will harden its stance ahead of Int'l summit
Responses: 312
Levy: Why must Israel destroy the homes of Palestinian families?
Responses: 217
Most rightists leave sites of new W. Bank outposts
Responses: 91
FM lauds cancellation of U.K. academics' planned boycott
Responses: 79
Rosner's guest: Ruth Wisse discusses the politics of Jews
Responses: 120
Rosner's Domain
* WTR: Majority says Iran is an enemy
* The Israel Factor: On Senator Chris Dodd and Arab democratization
* Wisse: The Nobel Peace Prize belongs to the IDF
* Rosner's Mailbox: Why are the protesters against Ahmadinejad rightwing?


More Headlines
21:46 Most rightists leave sites of new illegal West Bank outpost
23:41 PM Olmert's meeting with Abbas delayed until Wednesday
18:39 Hamas renews call for cease-fire with Israel
17:30 Eilat beaches reopened one day after closure due to sewage leak
02:03 Police planning to relocate to controversial E-1 J'lem corridor
19:15 Spain hosts its first international conference on the Holocaust
01:17 Israeli Arabs demonstrate in Umm al-Fahm to mark October 2000 riots
14:21 Indian Jews outraged after local company labels product 'NAZI'
15:21 Four people killed and three injured in Arava road accident
21:24 Yom Kippur road crash that killed girl to be probed as a murder
01:35 Israeli Gelfand ties for second place at World Chess Championship
12:37 Hamas forces arrest influential Fatah member in Gaza Strip
Previous Editions
Special Offers
Advertisement
Invest in Macedonia
New Business Heaven in Europe
Long-term Israel programs
MASA is your gateway. More programs. More grants.
Eldan Rent a Car
Israel's leading car rental company offers you a 20% discount on all online reservations
JOIN FREE AT JDATE.COM
The most popular online Jewish dating community in the world! Explore the possibilities! Click Here!
Dead Sea Salt
Beauty and skin care from the Dead Sea. Coupon code HAARETZ for 10% off!
Israeli History Documentaries.
Own a piece of Israel?s treasured past.
Junkyard
Junk a car - get free towing nationwide and a tax-deductible receipt.
Holiday Inn and Crown Plaza Israel
Lowest internet rate Guaranteed at ichotelsgroup.com !
Home| TV| Print Edition| Diplomacy| Opinion| Arts & Leisure| Sports| Jewish World| Underground| Site rules|
© Copyright  Haaretz. All rights reserved