Nahf (Arabic: نحف‎, Naḥf or Nahef; Hebrew: נַחְף‎)[2] is an Arab town in the Northern District of Israel. It is located in between the lower and upper Galilee, about 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Acre. In 2019 it had a population of 13,113.[1] Archaeologists believe that the area was an important center for viticulture in the Hellenistic period and possibly the Early Bronze Age IB period (ca. 3100 BC).[3]

  • נַחְף
  • نحف
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259Náḥep
 • Also spelledNahef (official)
Naḥf (unofficial)
Nahf is located in Northwest Israel
Coordinates: 32°55′54″N 35°19′11″E / 32.93167°N 35.31972°E / 32.93167; 35.31972Coordinates: 32°55′54″N 35°19′11″E / 32.93167°N 35.31972°E / 32.93167; 35.31972
Grid position179/260 PAL
Country Israel
 • Total6,077 dunams (6.077 km2 or 2.346 sq mi)
 • Total13,113
 • Density2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)


Remains have been found from Early Bronze IB, EB II, Middle Bronze Age II and Iron Age II,[4][5] as well as coins from the Ptolemaic dynasty and Antiochus III.[6] Tombs from the 2nd to the 4th centuries have been found.[7] Nahf contains Persian, Hellenistic and Roman remains.[4][6][5]

From archaeological finds, it is assumed that blown glass vessels were produced in the village during the Byzantine era. A bath, containing a hypocaust from the same period has also been excavated. Dating from the late Byzantine era, it was in continuous use in the early Umayyad era.[8]

In the Crusader era it was known as "Nef."[9][10] In 1249 John Aleman transferred land, including the casalia of Beit Jann, Sajur, Majd al-Krum and Nahf to the Teutonic Knights.[11][12]

Remains, including potsherds of bowls, plates and jars, all from Mamluk era, (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE), have been found in archaeological excavations.[13][5]

Ottoman eraEdit

In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596, Nahaf appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in nahiya (subdistrict) of Akka, part of Sanjak Safad. It had a population of 108 households and 9 bachelors, all Muslims. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on wheat, barley, summer crops, fruit trees, goats and/or beehives, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 6,629 akçe.[14]

A map from 1799 by Pierre Jacotin showed the place, named as "Nafeh".[15] When Victor Guérin visited Nahf in 1875, he described the village as containing 400 Muslims and some Greek Orthodox families,[16] while in 1881 Nahf was described as being built of stone, containing 200 Muslims, with olives and arable land.[17]

A population list from about 1887 showed that Nahf had about 475 inhabitants; all Muslims.[18]

British Mandate eraEdit

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Nahf had a population of 818, 2 Jews, 6 Christians and 810 Muslims.[19] where all the Christians were Orthodox.[20] At the time of the 1931 census the population had increased to 994, all Muslims, in 194 houses.[21]

In the 1945 statistics the population of Nahf was 1,320, all Muslims,[22] who owned 15,745 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[23] 1,088 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 4,571 used for cereals,[22][24] while 44 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[22][25]

State of IsraelEdit

Nahf was captured by Israel on 18 July 1948 during Operation Dekel led by the Sheva (Seventh) Brigade. Its defenders included the town's local militia as well as Arab Liberation Army volunteers. The town was left intact and most residents did not flee their homes. There was a massacre carried out by the IDF Moshe Carmel's troops after the fighting was over.[26] The population remained under Martial Law until 1966.

In and around Nahf, there are a number of archaeological remains dating from the Middle Ages, including mosaics and a cemetery. In a nearby location lies the shrines of Muslim leaders Sheik Muhammad Rabiah and Sheik Mahmud who fought against the Crusaders. The Auba cave, which dates from the time of the Assyrians, is also located here.[27]

Notable structuresEdit

The largest medieval structure in the village is a roughly 10 meter long wall, made of large drafted blocks with a rubble core, which may be of Crusader origin.[9][28]

The Maqam (shrine) of Shaykh Rabi is located on a steep hill above the village, surrounded by a cemetery. It is a domed rectangular building, with an entrance from the east. A deep mihrab ("Islamic prayer niche") is located inside, in the middle of the south side. By the north wall is the elongated cenotaph of Shaykh Rabi.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, pp. 64, 92
  3. ^ Characterizing a Middle Bronze Palatial Wine Cellar from Tel Kabri, Israel
  4. ^ a b Smithline, 2005, Nahf
  5. ^ a b c Cinamon, 2012, Nahf
  6. ^ a b Tepper, 2007, Nahf (East)
  7. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 640
  8. ^ Abu Raya, 2013, Nahf
  9. ^ a b Pringle, 1997, p. 114
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 255. Cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 239
  11. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 78-79, No. 100; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RHH, p. 308, No. 1175; cited in Frankel, 1988, pp. 254, 265
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 208
  13. ^ Lerer, 2009, Nahf
  14. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192
  15. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 166, Cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 239
  16. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 451 - 452 Cited partially in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 255. Translation in Petersen, 2001, p. 239
  17. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 203
  18. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 174
  19. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  20. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XVI, p. 50
  21. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 102
  22. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 4
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  25. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  26. ^ Rogan and Shlaim, 2001, pp. 54-55
  27. ^ Welcome To Nahf
  28. ^ a b Petersen, 2001, p. 239


External linksEdit