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E. Britannica 1891, Safed main city of U. Galilee | mostly Jewish | most Muslims NOT Arabs | some Algerian settlers...

Reader comment on item: The Year the Arabs Discovered Palestine [Long version]

Submitted by Pauline (United States), Jan 7, 2011 at 00:25

From 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' of 1891:
1. Main city of Upper Gallilee: Safed, predominantly Jewish.
2. Most Muslims appear NOT to be Arab.
3. There are some Algerian (Arab) settlers.
4. There are also "wandering Arabs."

Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature, Volume 10, William Harrison De Puy, R.S. Peale, 1891, p. 28


Upper Galilee.—The mountains are tilted up towards the sea of Galilee, and the drainage of the district is towards the north-west On the south the rocky range of Jebel Jermuk rises to 4000 feet above the sea; on the east a narrow ridge 2800 feet high forms the watershed, with steep eastern slopes falling towards Jordan. Immediately west of the watershed are two small plateaus, covered with basaltic debris, near el Jish and Kades.

On the west are rugged mountains with deep intricate valleys. The main drains of the country are—first, Wady el 'Ayun; rising north of Jebel Jermuk, and running north-west as an open valley, and secondly, Wady el Ahjar, a rugged precipitous gorge running north to join the Leontes. The district is well provided with springs throughout, and the valleys are full of water iu the spring time. Though rocky and difficult, Upper Galilee is not barren, the soil of the plateaus is rich, and the vine flourishes in the higher hills, especially in the neighbourhood of Kefr Birim. The principal town is Safed, perched on a white mountain 2700 feet above the sea. It has a population of about 9000, including Jews, Christians, and Moslems. It is one of the four sacred cities in Palestine revered by the Jews, to which nationality the majority of the inhabitants belong. Among the smaller towns we may notice Meirun, near Safed, a place also much revered by the Jews as containing the tombs of Hillel Shammni, and Simon bar Jochai. A yearly festival of most curious character is here celebrated in honour of these rabbis.' The site of Hazor, one of the chief towns of Galilee in Bible times, has also been lately recovered. It was situated, according to Josephus, above the Lake Semechonitis (Bahr el Huleii), and the namo Hudireh, identical with the Hebrew.

Hazor, has been found by the survey party in 1877 applying to a mountain and plain, near an ancient ruin, in the required position. The little village of Kades represents the once important town of Kadesh Naphtali (Josh. xix. 37). The ruins are here extensive and interesting, but belong apparently to the Greek period.
The population of Galilee is mixed. In Lower Galilee the peasants are principally Moslem, with a sprinkling of Greek Christians round Nazareth, which is a Christian town. In Upper Galilee, however, there is a mixture of Jews and Maronites, Druses and Moslems (natives or Algerine settlers), while the slopes above the Jordan are inhabited by wandering Arabs. The Jews are engaged in trade, and the Christians, Druses, and Moslems in agriculture; and the Arabs are an entirely pastoral people.


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