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Title: Hurfeish  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Highway 89 (Israel), Sabalan, Safad, Kisra-Sumei, Ka'abiyye-Tabbash-Hajajre, Zarzir
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  • חֻרְפֵישׁ, חורפיש
  • حرفيش
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259 Ḥurp̄eiš
Official logo of Hurfeish
Hurfeish is located in Israel
District Northern
 • Type Local council (from 1967)
 • Total 4,229 dunams (4.229 km2 or 1.633 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Total 5,200
Name meaning possibly from "snake"[1]

Hurfeish (Arabic: حرفيش‎; Hebrew: חֻרְפֵישׁ) (lit. "milk thistle"[2] or possibly from "snake" [1]) is a Druze town in the Northern District of Israel.


In the Crusader era, Hurfeish was known as Horfeis, Hourfex, Orpheis, or Orfeis.[3] In 1183 it was part of an estate sold from Geoffrey le Tor to Count Jocelyn III.[4] In 1220 Jocelyn III´s daughter Beatrix de Courtenay and her husband Otto von Botenlauben, Count of Henneberg, sold the estate to the Teutonic Knights.[5] It was listed as still belonging to the Teutonic Knights in 1226.[6]

Ottoman era

In 1875 Victor Guérin noted an ancient church, used by the 50 Greek Christians in the village. In addition, Hurfeish had 300 Druze inhabitants.[7]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described Hurfeish as "a village, built of stone, containing about 150 Christians, situated on a low ridge, with figs, olives, and arable land. There are few wells in the village, and four good springs on the south side."[8]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Hurfaish had a total population of 412; 26 Christian and 386 Druze,[9] increasing in the 1931 census to 527; 18 Muslims, 35 Christians and 474 Druze, living in total of 110 houses.[10]

In 1945, it had a population of 830, all classified as Arabs, with a total of 16,904 dunums of land.[11] Of this, 1,039 was plantations and irrigable land, 2,199 was allocated to cereal,[12] while 91 dunams were classified as built-up (urban) land.[13]

1948, and aftermath

Hurfeish surrendered to the advancing Israeli army during Operation Hiram, October 1948. An IDF plan, December 1949, to expel the population was blocked by the Foreign Ministry.[14]

Hurfeish was declared a local council in 1967. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) it had a total population of 5,200 in 2006, with a growth rate of 1.9%. The majority of residents are Druze, with a small number of Christians and Muslims. A large percentage of the population are police and army officers, serving with the Israel Police and the Israel Defense Forces.[15]


Shrine of Sabalan

According to the tradition, Sabalan, a Druze prophet, often identified with the Biblical Zebulon, escaped to cave after he failed to convert Hebron residents to the new religion, then he continued to teach the religion and also built by himself a room over the site of the cave. it is located in Hurfeish, on the top of Mount Zvul.[15]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 72
  2. ^
  3. ^ Pringle, 2009, p. 241
  4. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 15-16, No. 16; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 165, No. 624; cited in Pringle, 2009, p. 241
  5. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43-44, No. 53; Cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 248, No. 934; Cited in Pringle, 2009, p. 241
  6. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 47-48, No. 58; Cited in Pringle, 2009, p. 241
  7. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 73-74
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 198
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 41
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 107
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 69
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 119
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 169
  14. ^ Morris, 1987, pp. 242, 251, 349
  15. ^ a b Hurfeish-Nabi Salaban


  • p. 72

External links

  • From Brazil to Hurfeish: Meet the First Ever Druze Lone Soldier
  • Welcome To Hurfeich
  • Survey of Western Palestine, Map 4: IAA,
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