a bit of history, part 2


Dalyiat-el-Ruha was a small village next to the Kibbutz. The land on which the Kibbutz was built was purchased from the village and for almost 10 years the two existed peacefully next to each other. The old Arab-village with its Muslim population and the new Kibbutz with the Jews that came from Europe.
Arab village near Jericho, 1900
Dalyiat-el-Ruha (meaning "fragrant vine" in Arabic- from which also comes the name of the Kibbutz "Dalia"- meaning "tip of a vine-branch" in Hebrew.) was the site of a ceasefire- agreement (hudna) between the "Mamaluks" and the Crusaders in the 13th Century.
Arabs in Palestine, during World War II
In the mid 19th century there were an estimated 60 inhabitants cultivating 10 faddans (approx. 42,000m2) of land and raising livestock.
The Jewish National Fund bought from the village land in 1939 on which the Kibbutz was established. The small hill on which the Kibbutz is today was called "Umm ed-Dafuf" by the villagers.
In 1945 the population of Dalyiat-el-Ruha was 280 and the one of the Kibbutz 320.

In the war of 1948 the villagers fled and the village was destroyed.
It is obvious to me that they were forced to leave. By whom and why exactly is hard to figure out but I wish to think that the people of the Kibbutz were not involved in this and from what I heard they really were not.

Palestinian refugees, 1948
My mother in law thinks that the villagers left (fled) to Jenin together with the people from other Arab-villages in the surrounding. She thinks to recall that their houses were still intact and only later when the villagers tried to return people came to destroy their houses.

My mother in law- Shula (short for Shulamit)- was born 1943 and was amongst the first children born in the kibbutz.
I asked her what she recalls from Dalyiat-el-Ruha.
Her father- his name was Busja- was the mukhtar of Dalia (mukhtar= head of the village). He learned Arabic and was able to communicate with the people of Dalyiat-el-Ruha. Shula remembers that sometimes men from the village came to visit her father and she thought they were a bit scary looking in their traditional clothes and their headdress (kufya). She recalls also baskets filled with cookies they brought.
She remembers walks to the destroyed village where there were still sweet grapes and figs to be found and it was possible to bath in the well.

It is not easy to find any information. And it's hard for me to understand the circumstances in those early years.
I wanted to go and take pictures of the site. Some parts of stone walls are still there. I just haven't had the time so far.

If you are interested in more history of the kibbutz:
Take a look here:
part 1: The Beginning 
part 3: The Ideology
part 4: The Dance-Festival


Petra said…
History and lunch, a good combination. Thanks for providing the first.
Darcy said…
Thank you so much for this. In the US it seems like we hear about Israel all the time on the news, but we never hear about actual people in Israel, just about bombings and wars. My parent's neighbors are from Palestine so I've heard awful story from them, but it's so nice to hear your story and read about your wonderful family and learn that for awhile an Arab and a Jewish village lived side by side. Thank you.

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