Kfar Tavor (Hebrew: כְּפַר תָּבוֹר, Arabic: كفر تافور) is a village in the Lower Galilee region of Northern Israel, at the foot of Mount Tabor. Founded in 1901, it was awarded local council status in 1949. In 2019 it had a population of 4,311. As of 2017, nearly all of its citizens are Jewish.[2]

Kfar Tavor
  • כְּפַר תָּבוֹר
  • كفر تافور
Local council (from 1949)
Watchmen's Square in Kfar Tavor, sculptor: Asaf Lifshitz
Watchmen's Square in Kfar Tavor, sculptor: Asaf Lifshitz
Kfar Tavor is located in Northeast Israel
Kfar Tavor
Kfar Tavor
Kfar Tavor is located in Israel
Kfar Tavor
Kfar Tavor
Coordinates: 32°41′13″N 35°25′15″E / 32.68694°N 35.42083°E / 32.68694; 35.42083Coordinates: 32°41′13″N 35°25′15″E / 32.68694°N 35.42083°E / 32.68694; 35.42083
Grid position189/232 PAL
 • Head of MunicipalityYosef Dola
 • Total1,231 dunams (1.231 km2 or 304 acres)
 • Total4,311
 • Density3,500/km2 (9,100/sq mi)


Ceramics from the Byzantine era have been found here.[3]

In the early 9th century, under Abbasid rule, Abu Salih Khayr al-Khadim, a eunuch of Caliph al-Mu’tazz b’illah, left all his property in Kfar Tavor (then called Kafr Tabaria) and another Galilee village, Kafr Kanna, to a waqf (religious endowment). The endowments were supposed to be eternal, but were presumably ended by the conquest of the Crusaders in 1099.[4][5][6]

Ottoman periodEdit

Arab villageEdit

In the Ottoman era there was a village here called Mes'ha.[7] In 1596 the village appeared under the name of "Masha" in the tax registers as part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Tabariyya in the Sanjak (district) of Safad. It was noted as "hali"(=empty), but a fixed tax-rate of 25% on agricultural product was paid. These products included wheat, barley and cotton; the taxes totalled 3,300 akçe.[8] In 1799 it appeared as Mechi on the map Pierre Jacotin compiled that year.[9]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described "Meshah" village with a population of 100 Muslims, with houses chiefly of basalt stone, and a few of adobe and stone. The village was situated on an arable plain, without trees. The water supply was from a cistern in the village.[10]

Jewish villageEdit

Kfar Tavor was established in 1901 by pioneers of the First Aliya under the auspices of the Jewish Colonization Association.[11] Twenty-eight farmers settled in the area with the assistance of the philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The new settlement was originally known as Mes'ha, the name of the nearby Arab village.[12] It was renamed in 1903 at the urging of Zionist leader Menachem Ussishkin who visited the site and was surprised to find it had no Hebrew name.[13] At first, there was some debate over whether to use the term kfar ("village"), which some residents thought would bode badly for future growth. Ussishkin responded that he had visited the German town of Düsseldorf, which had also originated as a Dorf, or village, but was now a full-fledged city. The Rothschild administration determined that the site was ideal for cultivating grapes. The vineyards of Kfar Tavor became a supplier of grapes to the country's wineries.[citation needed]

On 12 April 1909 a group of Bar Giora members left Sejera, were they had been based, and met in secret at Kfar Tavor. Led by Israel Shochat and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi it was decided to establish an armed militia - Hashomer. Its members were to act as guards for Jewish colonies and work as laboured towards establishing further colonies.[14]

British Mandate eraEdit

Kfar Tavor History Museum

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Mesha (Kufr Tabur) had a population of 274; all Jews.[15] The 1931 census of Palestine recorded 328 persons in Mas-ha living in 54 houses: 304 Jews, 20 Muslims and 4 Christians.[16]

In the 1945 statistics Kfar Tavor had 230 inhabitants, all Jews. Mas-ha was noted as an alternative name.[17][18]


In the Hameyasdim neighborhood, the core of the village, there is a museum and other sites, including the HaShomer house, the first school and teacher's house (now a library) and a synagogue that was built in 1937. Another school, built in 1911, now serves as the Shenkar Tzfira Music Center. The main street of the neighborhood has houses left from the village's early days, as well as parts of the wall that surrounded it.[13]

Notable residentsEdit

Major General Yigal Allon (1948–49)


  1. ^ "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ https://www.cbs.gov.il/he/publications/doclib/2019/local_authorities17_1759/745_0047.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 730
  4. ^ Mehmet Tutuncu and Lotfi L Abdeljaouad, 2021, Earliest Islamic Waqf on stone
  5. ^ Earliest waqf legacy in the world is deciphered: Two villages in Palestine, Ruth Schuster, Dec. 5, 2021, Haaretz
  6. ^ The earliest known Waqf inscription in stone; a large and impressive calligraphic marble stele, Near East or Egypt, circa 880-900, 8 Oct 2015; Christie's
  7. ^ "The place of unction", according to Palmer, 1881, p. 131
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 187
  9. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 167
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 361
  11. ^ Ben-Porat, Amir (1991). "Immigration, proletarianization, and deproletarianization A case study of the Jewish working class in Palestine, 1882–1914". Theory and Society (20): 244.
  12. ^ Marom, Roy. "The Abu Hameds of Mulabbis: An Oral History of a Palestinian Village Depopulated in the Late Ottoman Period". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 48: 2.
  13. ^ a b http://www.hooha.co.il/place_english.htm[dead link]
  14. ^ Segev, Tom (2018 - 2019 translation Haim Watzman) A State at Any Cost. The Life of David Ben-Gurion. Apollo. ISBN 9-781789-544633 p.96
  15. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Tiberias, p. 39
  16. ^ E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 83.
  17. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 8
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 62


External linksEdit