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Peki'in (alternatively Peqi'in) (Hebrew: פְּקִיעִין) or Buqei'a (Arabic: البقيعة‎), is a Druze town with local council status in Israel's Northern District. It is located eight kilometres east of Ma'alot-Tarshiha in the Upper Galilee. In December 2012 the population was reportedly 5,435.[1]

A tradition of the Jewish community says they lived there continuously from the Second Temple period through the 20th century.[2][3]


  • History 1
    • Ottoman period 1.1
    • British Mandate era 1.2
    • State of Israel 1.3
  • Education and culture 2
  • Tourism 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7


Objects such as potsherds of the Chalcolithic period were found in the village, and a burial site close by, making a 100 dunams (25 acres) settlement a possibility.[4]

The village Baca in Josephus' The Jewish War[5] is thought to be Peki'in.[6][7][8] According to Josephus it marked the border between the kingdom of Herod Agrippa II, and Tyre.

A bundle of Jewish traditions is associated with a certain Peki'in often, appearing in writing under the names Baka, Paka and Peki'in, which gave rise to the theory that a Jewish community lived there continuously from the Second Temple period. According to the Talmud, Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah run a Beth Midrash, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Elazar ben Shimon, hid in a cave from the Romans for 13 years,[9][10] and Shimon bar Yochai went on to teach at the city. However, there is evidence that the identification of Rabbinic Peki'in with Peki'in-Buqei'a is of Ottoman time,[11] and other sites in the vicinity of Rehovot have also been suggested. The first writing where the name Peki'in undoubtedly refers to this village is from a 1765 Hebrew travel book.

In the

  • Welcome To Buqei'a/Peki'in
  • Survey of Western Palestine, Map 4: IAA, Wikimedia commons

External links


  1. ^ PEQI'IN (BUQEI'A) Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
  2. ^ a b c Researchers race to document vanishing Jewish heritage of Galilee Druze village, Eli Ashkenaz, 25 July 2012, Haaretz, "Zinati, who was born in 1931, is the last link in the chain of a Jewish community that apparently maintained a continuous presence in Peki'in since the time of the Second Temple, when three families from the ranks of the cohanim, the priestly caste that served in the Temple, moved there. Since then, the only known break in the Jewish presence was during two years in the late 1930s, when the town's Jews fled the Arab riots of 1936-39. Most of them went to what they called the Hadera diaspora. But one family, Zinati's, returned home in 1940."
  3. ^ Jews and Muslims in the Arab World: Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined, Jacob Lassner, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, p.314, "...the small community of Peki'in in the mountains of the Galilee, not far from Safed, whose present-day residents could demonstrate that they were direct descendents of inhabitants of the village who had never gone into exile."
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  9. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat, 33b
  10. ^ Visitors in the village are still shown a small cave by an old Carob tree, as according to legend, one has nourished the rabbis when they stayed there.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Frankel, 1988, p. 265
  13. ^ Pringle, 1993, p. 80
  14. ^ Ellenblum, 2003, p. 167
  15. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43- 44, No. 53; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RHH, p. 248, No. 934 (38); cited in Frankel, 1988, pp. 253, 264-5
  16. ^ Strehlke, 1869, p. 120, no.128; cited in Ellenblum, 2003, pp. 43-44
  17. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192
  18. ^ See p. 145 for the silk tax, and p. 5 for the date.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Alma's Jewish population had dwindled during the 16th century, and was gone by the mid 18th.
  23. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 78-79, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, p. 197
  24. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, pp. 196-197
  25. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  26. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XVI, p. 50
  27. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 100
  28. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  29. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80
  30. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130
  31. ^ Nowhere to shelter, Haaretz
  32. ^ Dozens injured in Galilee clashes, 10.30.07, Ynet
  33. ^ Last Jewish Family Leaves Peki'in, Ynetnews, 2007
  34. ^ Cabinet approves NIS 680M for Druze, Circassian towns
  35. ^


See also

According to Galib Kheir, head of the town's tourism department, about 60,000 tourists visit Peki'in each year. The tourist trade supports local restaurants and specialty shops. The town also has a hotel and youth hostel.


The Druze Youth Movement in Israel, a movement with 19 branches around the country and a membership of 12,000, has its headquarters in Peki'in. The founder of the movement is Hamad Amar, an Israeli Druze member of the Knesset from Shfaram, who established it to pass on Druze heritage to the younger generation while developing a sense of national Israeli pride.[35]

The Druze Youth Movement in Israel,Peki'in branch

Education and culture

In 2011, the Israeli government approved an aid program of NIS 680 million ($184M) for housing, education and tourism upgrades in Peki'in and other Druze communities in northern Israel.[34]

In October 2007, riots broke out after the installation of a cellular antenna due to concerns that such antennas have been linked to an increase in cancer. Riot police fired bullets and gas grenades, which further angered the residents, who burned down the house of a Jewish family living in the village.[32] In December 2007, the last Jewish family left the town after their car was torched.[33] Only Margalit Zinati, a descendant of a Mustarabim family, has remained there to keep alive the memory of the town's vanishing Jewish heritage.[2]

In July 2006, Peki'in was hit by Katyusha rockets launched by Hezbollah, causing significant damage to homes and orchards.[31]

Druse women of Peki'in, 2011

State of Israel

In 1945 the population was 990, all Arabs, owning 10,276 dunams, while Jews owned 189 dunams, and 3,731 was publicly owned, according to an official land and population survey.[28] Of this, 1,598 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 3,424 for cereals,[29] while 40 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[30]

In 1936, Arab riots forced the Jews of Peki'in to leave their homes for safer parts of the country; only a few of them later returned.[2]

In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Al Buqai'a had a population of 652; 70 Muslims, 63 Jews, 215 Christians and 304 Druse.[25] Of the Christians, 167 were Orthodox and 48 were Greek Catholic (Melchite).[26] In the 1931 census, El Buqei'a had a total population of 799; 71 Muslims, 52 Jews, 264 Christians and 412 Druse, in a total of 190 houses.[27]

British Mandate era

There is a good spring in the village, and two springs near. This is the only place where Jews cultivate the ground. They say it has descended to them from their fathers from time immemorial."[24]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "A good village, built of stone, containing a chapel and a synagogue. There are about 100 Moslems, 100 Christians, 100 Druzes, and 100 Jews. It is situated on the slope of tine hill, with gardens, figs, olives, pomegranates, and arable land.

In 1875, French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village and described it as: "The population at present number 600—Druzes, United Greeks, Schismatic Greeks, and a few Jewish families, who pretend to descend from the ancient inhabitants of the country. Every year in the summer several hundreds of Jews come here from Tiberias to pass the hot season. Most of these Jews came originally from Europe, and are happy in finding here the last indigenous scions of the ancient national stock. ... At Bukeiah, thanks to the two springs which issue from the hill-side, they cultivate on the slopes and almost to the bottom of the valley delicious gardens, watered by numerous streams. Here grow, on different terraces, kept up by great walls, probably ancient, fruit-trees of all kinds, such as citrons, oranges, pomegranates, figs, quinces, and mulberries. The vine flourishes marvelously, as is shown by the enormous trunks. The United Greeks have a little church, which I found shut; the Schismatic Greeks also have one which has replaced a much more ancient Christian sanctuary. Only a few cut stones and the trunk of a column remain of it.The Jews worship in a synagogue of modern date."[23]

Jewish population was recorded at 33 households in 1525, and experienced a rise, drop, stabilization and another rise before 1596.[20] It is said some Kohanitic families immigrated from Kafr 'Inan, possibly in the late 16th century.[21] The Almani family probably came from the village Alma.[22]

Incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with the rest of Palestine, Peki'in appeared in the 1596 tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Akka of the Liwa of Safad. It had a population of 77 households and 7 bachelors who were all Muslims, in addition to 79 Jewish households. The villagers paid taxes on occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives, a press for olives or grapes, and jizya.[17] A tax on silk spinning (dulab harir), which was levied in 1555 on six villages surrounding Mount Meron, rated highest in Peki'in.[18] A silk industry is also attested by an account from 1602,[19] and by several old mulberry trees in the village.

Jews of Peki'in, c. 1930

Ottoman period

Henry de Milly's third and youngest daughter, Agnes of Milly, married Bokehel", to the Teutonic Knights.[15] During this era the village was connected by a road to Castellum Regis.[16]


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