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Deir al-Asad

Deir al-Asad
דייר אל-אסד
دير الأسد
Local council
View of Deir al-Asad, 2007
View of Deir al-Asad, 2007
Deir al-Asad is located in Israel
Deir al-Asad
Deir al-Asad
Grid position 175/260 PAL
Country Israel
District North
 • Total 4,756 dunams (4.8 km2 or 1.9 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 13,500
Time zone IST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) IDT (UTC+3)

Deir al-Asad (Hebrew: דֵיר אֶל-אַסַד; Arabic: دير الأسد‎) is an Arab town in the Galilee region of Israel, near Karmiel.[1] In 2003, the municipality of Deir al-Asad merged with Majd al-Krum and Bi'ina to form the city of Shaghur. However, it was reinstated in 2008 after Shaghur was dissolved.[1]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Ottoman era 2.1
    • British Mandate era 2.2
    • 1948, and aftermath 2.3
  • Historic buildings 3
    • Crusader abbey and church remains 3.1
    • Mosque and tomb of al-Assad al-Safadi 3.2
  • Notable residents 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7


Deir al-Asad means "the lion's monastery" in Arabic.[2]


In the Ottoman Turks, the Christians were expelled by Sultan Suleiman I and their descendants later founded the nearby settlement of Bi'ina. The lands of the original Christian settlement and the monastery were given by the Sultan to the sheikh Al-Asad A-Zaffah from Safed and the latter founded the current village.

Ottoman era

Deir al-Asad and nearby Bi'ina were both inhabited by members of the Druze community when Victor Guérin visited in the 1875,[3] but by the late 1870s, they had emigrated to the Hauran to avoid conscription by the Ottoman army.[4] In the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) in 1881, Deir al-Asad was described as a village of 600 Muslims, containing a few ruins of the original Christian settlement. It was surrounded by olive-trees and arable land, with a spring nearby.[5]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Dair al-Asad had a total population of 749, all Muslim.[6] increasing in the 1931 census to 858, all Muslims, living in total of 179 houses.[7]

By 1945, Deir el Asad had 1,100 inhabitants, all classified as Arabs. They owned a total of 8,366 dunams of land, while 7 dunams were public.[8] 1,322 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 1,340 used for cereals,[9] while 38 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[10]

1948, and aftermath

The town is mostly populated by the Asadi and Dabbah families.

Before 1962 the village of Deir al-Asad was self-sufficient in food. It produced enough meat, fruit, wheat and vegetables for itself and sold the surplus in Acre or Nazareth. In 1962 its land in the Majd al-Kurum valley was confiscated for the Karmiel town project, and the village was thereby stripped of its most fertile acres. Only the hill land to the north, consisting mainly of olive groves, remained. This confiscation of land ruined the economy of Deir al-Asad. Today only 10% of the labour force can work on the land, over 80% have to commute daily to the factories of Haifa or work as labourers on Jewish farms.[11][12]

Historic buildings

Crusader abbey and church remains

The large remains of a [15]

Mosque and tomb of al-Assad al-Safadi

The mosque and tomb of al-Assad al-Safadi is a two-domed structure, situated about 50 meters south of the Crusader abbey and church remains. Al-Muhibbi, a biographer writing in 1569, told that al-Assad was a Sufi sage, who was settled in the village with his children and followers after Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had driven the Christians out. The smaller chamber, to the north, holds the tomb of al-Assad al-Safadi, while the southern, larger chamber holds a prayer hall. To the east there is a courtyard.[16]

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b Lessons in an Arab Israeli village
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 42
  3. ^ a b Guérin, 1880, p. 446
  4. ^ Firro, 1992, p. 166
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 150
  6. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  7. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 100
  8. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970 p. 40.
  9. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80
  10. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130
  11. ^ Gilmour, 1983, p. 108.
  12. ^ Amun, Davis, and San´allah, 1977, pp. 4–5.
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 153
  14. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 446, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 168
  15. ^ Pringle, 1993, pp. 80 -92
  16. ^ Petersen, 2001, pp. 131-132


  • (pp. 167 - 169 )
  • (p. 165)

External links

  • Welcome To Dayr al-Asad
  • Survey of Western Palestine, Map 3: IAA,
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