Wadi Ara (Arabic: وادي عارة, Hebrew: ואדי עארה) or Nahal 'Iron (Hebrew: נחל עירון), is a valley and its surrounding area in Israel populated mainly by Arab Israelis. The area is also known as the "Northern Triangle".[1]

Wadi Ara

Wadi Ara is located northwest of the Green Line, in the Haifa District. Highway 65 runs through the wadi. The ancient town of biblical fame, Megiddo, known from Revelation 16:16 as Armageddon, used to guard its northern exit during much of the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Geography edit

Wadi Ara is a 20 km wadi (valley) in northern Israel that begins at the meeting point of Samaria, the Menashe Heights, and the Sharon plain. The riverbed begins near Umm al-Fahm and runs southwest on the boundary between the Manasseh hills and the Umm al-Fahm hills. Approximately 1 km west of the Border Patrol intersection on Highway 65, the wadi opens into the Sharon plain, and becomes a tributary of the Hadera Stream, south of Talmei Elazar and north of Tel Zeror.

History edit

Wadi Ara is part of the ancient historical route Via Maris, connecting what is now the Israeli coastal plain with the Jezreel Valley and, in a wider sense, Egypt in the west with Syria and Mesopotamia in the east.

Chalcolithic edit

The site of En Esur has a main occupational level from the Early Chalcolithic period, when a large village with a temple stood at the well-watered site.[2]

Early Bronze Age edit

Also at En Esur, a walled city covered the site during the Early Bronze Age, an exceptionally early and populous urban centre for the Southern Levant.[2]

Late Bronze Age: Thutmose III edit

In the Late Bronze Age, the Egyptian king, Thutmose III (r. 1479-1425 BCE), used the route, then called Aruna, to surprise his enemies, and take control of Megiddo. According to information from a stela from Armant, the king of Kadesh advanced his army to Megiddo.[3] Thutmose III mustered his own army and departed Egypt, passing through the border fortress of Tjaru (Sile).[4] Thutmose marched his troops through the coastal plain as far as Jamnia, then inland to Yehem, a small city near Megiddo.[4] The ensuing Battle of Megiddo probably was the largest battle in any of Thutmose's seventeen campaigns.[3] A ridge of mountains jutting inland from Mount Carmel stood between Thutmose and Megiddo, and he had three potential routes to take.[3] The northern route and the southern route, both of which went around the mountain, were judged by his council of war to be the safest, but Thutmose, in an act of great bravery (or so he boasts, but such self-praise is normal in Egyptian texts), accused the council of cowardice and took a dangerous route[4] through the Aruna mountain pass, which he alleged was only wide enough for the army to pass "horse after horse and man after man."[4]

Ottoman period edit

Egyptians came in Wadi 'Ara as a result of waves of immigration during the first half of the 19th century, and the area currently features a number of villages with a substantial population of Egyptian descent.[5]

1948-49 war edit

Captured by Iraqi Arab League forces under the command of Iraqi officer, Captain Khaleel Jassim, in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, it was ceded to Israel in exchange for territory south of Hebron in the 1949 Israel-Jordan armistice agreement. In March 1949, as the Jordanian army replaced the Iraqi forces, three Israeli brigades moved into positions in Operation Shin-Tav-Shin. Following the operation, Israel renegotiated the ceasefire line in the Wadi Ara area of the Northern West Bank in an agreement reached on 23 March 1949 and incorporated into the General Armistice Agreement. These 15 villages were ceded to Israel.[6]

Educational institutions edit

Hand in Hand – Bridge over the Wadi is a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school located in an Arab village in Wadi Ara. It was established in 2004 with 100 students in kindergarten through third grade. In 2008, classes were offered up to sixth grade and enrollment increased to 200, split evenly between Arabs and Jews.[7]

Proposed land exchange edit

The area has come under political attention as some Israeli politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party have brought up transferring the area to the sovereignty and administration of the Palestinian Authority for a future Palestinian state. In return the Palestinian Authority would transfer specific large Israeli settlement "blocs" within the West Bank east of the Green Line to Israel. According to politicians who support this land-swap, Israel would ensure and secure itself as a primarily Jewish state. However, many politicians within the Knesset disagree and believe it would only decrease Israel's Arab population by a mere 10%, while most Israeli Arabs object to trading Israeli citizenship for Palestinian citizenship.[8]

Localities in Wadi Ara edit

Arab edit

Jewish edit

Historical localities edit

Ancient edit

  • El-Ahwat, possibly the site of biblical Harosheth Haggoyim, a Canaanite fortress and archaeological site
  • 'En Esur – Large Chalcolithic village and Early Bronze Age city, Israel

Pre-1948 Palestine edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Hillel Cohen (6 January 2010). Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967. University of California Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-520-94488-6. ... the villages of Wadi Ara (the area called the northern Triangle)...
  2. ^ a b Borschel-Dan, Amanda (6 October 2019). "Massive Bronze Age megalopolis to be covered over, immortalized in 3-D imaging". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Redford, Donald B. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. p. 156-7. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1992.
  4. ^ a b c d Steindorff, George; and Seele, Keith. When Egypt Ruled the East. p.53-4. University of Chicago, 1942.
  5. ^ Grossman, David (2017). Distribution and Population Density During the Late Ottoman and Early Mandate Periods. Routledge. pp. 44–52. doi:10.4324/9781315128825. They came from Circassia and Chechnya, and were refugees from territories annexed by Russia in 1864, and the Bosnian Muslims, whose province was lost to Serbia in 1878. Belonging to this category were the Algerians (Mughrabis), who arrived in Syria and Palestine in several waves after 1850 in the wake of France's conquest of their country and the waves of Egyptian migration to Palestine and Syria during the rule of Muhammad Ali and his son, Ibrahim Pasha. [...] In most cases the Egyptian army dropouts and the other Egyptian settlers preferred to settle in existing localities, rather than to establish new villages. In the southern coastal plain and Ramla zones there were at least nineteen villages which had families of Egyptian origin, and in the northern part of Samaria, including the 'Ara Valley, there are a number of villages with substantial population of Egyptian stock.
  6. ^ Avi Shlaim, "The Politics of Partition; King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine 1921-1951", Oxford University Press, Revised Edition 2004 ISBN 0-19-829459-X pp. 299, 312
  7. ^ Arab and Israeli Peace, at Least for Children, New York Times
  8. ^ Israeli Arabs and the vote Uri Dromi

32°29′38″N 35°3′16″E / 32.49389°N 35.05444°E / 32.49389; 35.05444