Amka December 2015.jpg
Amka is located in Northwest Israel
Amka is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°58′46″N 35°9′48″E / 32.97944°N 35.16333°E / 32.97944; 35.16333Coordinates: 32°58′46″N 35°9′48″E / 32.97944°N 35.16333°E / 32.97944; 35.16333
Grid position215400/764900 ITM
166/265 PAL
Country Israel
CouncilMatte Asher
RegionWestern Galilee
FoundedBronze age (Beth ha-Emek)
Classic era (Kfar Amka)
1949 (modern Moshav)
Founded byYemenite Jews

Amka (Hebrew: עַמְקָה), also known in Arabic as Amqa (Arabic: عمقا), is a moshav in the Matte Asher Regional Council of Israel's Northern District, near Acre. The location of the moshav roughly corresponds the former Palestinian village, depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Yemenite Jews founded the village's successor Amka in 1949. In 2019 its population was 772.[1]


Palmer thought the name Amka to come from the Arabic form of “deep”,[2] while Ringgren suggested that the name preserves the name of Beth Ha-Emek, a city mentioned in Joshua 19:27 as part of the allotment of the Tribe of Asher.[3]


Ancient period[]

During the Roman period, the village located at the same site was called Kefar Amqa.[4] In the Byzantine period the location was probably identified with the village of "Amico".[citation needed]

Middle Ages[]

During the Crusader period, Amka was referred to as Amca.[4] In 1179 Joscelin III acquired the land of the village,[5] and in 1220 Jocelyn III's daughter Beatrix de Courtenay and her husband Otto von Botenlauben, Count of Henneberg, sold their land, including ‘’Amca’’, to the Teutonic Knights.[6]

In 1283, Amka was mentioned as part of the domain of the Crusaders during the hudna between the Crusaders based in Acre and the Mamluk sultan al-Mansur (Qalawun).[7]

Ottoman Empire[]

Incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, Amqa appeared in the 1596 tax registers as being in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Akka under the liwa' (district) of Safad, with a population of 215.[8] All the inhabitants were Muslim.[9] The villagers paid taxes on a number of crops, such as wheat, barley, olives, cotton and fruit, and on other types of produce, such as goats and beehives.[8][10]

In the early 18th century the village was under control of Shaykh Najm. He had an agreement to sell the cotton from this and other villages under his control exclusively to the Dutch trader Paul Maashook. In return, Maashook would pay the miri (tax slated for funding the annual Hajj caravan), which was normally payable by the village shaykhs (chiefs).[11] The Syrian Sufi teacher and traveler Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi (1688–1748/9), who traveled through the region in the first half of the 18th century, said that he prayed in the village after visiting the citadel of Atlit.[4] In 1776 the village was used as a base by Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar to suppress a revolt led by Ali al-Zahir, one of the sons of Sheikh Zahir al-Umar, who ruled the Galilee between 1730 and 1775.[12]

Excavations in Amka

A map by Pierre Jacotin from Napoleon's invasion of 1799 showed the place, misnamed as El Mead,[13] In the late 19th century, the village was described as being built of stone, situated on a slight rise in a valley, surrounded by olive and fig trees, and arable land. There were an estimated 300 Druze living there.[14] Later, the residents were described as Muslims who maintained a village mosque. In 1887, the Ottoman authorities built a school in ´Amqa.[4]

A population list from about 1887 showed that Amka had about 740 inhabitants, all Muslim.[15]

British Mandate[]

Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation10–11 July 1948[16]
 • Total6,060 dunams (6.06 km2 or 2.34 sq mi)
 • Total1,240[4][17]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesAmka[18]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Amqa had a population of 724 inhabitants, of whom 722 were Muslims and two Christians.[19] The population increased in the 1931 census to 895, all Muslims, living in a total of 212 houses.[20]

In 1945 the population of Amqa was 1,240 Muslims,[21] with over 6,000 dunums (1,500 acres) of land according to an official land and population survey.[17] Of this, 1,648 dunams were plantations and irrigable land; 3,348 used for cereals,[22] while 36 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[23]


The village was captured by Israel's 7th Brigade on 16 July 1948 during Operation Dekel. It was largely destroyed, with the exception of its school and its mosque, and most of its inhabitants were expelled, with the exception of its former Druze inhabitants, who still live nearby. Some of the inhabitants remained in Israel as present absentees.[24] On 1 March 1949 a UN observer reported villagers from 'Amqa amongst a large group of people expelled by the IDF which arrived at Salim in the West Bank. He also noted other villagers from 'Amqa in a group expelled on 26 March.[25] In February 1950, the village was declared a closed area.[26] The Arab population remained under Martial Law until 1966.

A group of Yemenite Jewish immigrants were settled in Amka in 1949.[citation needed] Depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli war,[27][28] all that remains of the Arab village structures are an elementary school for boys, founded under Ottoman rule in 1887 and one mosque. The majority of the remaining Arab buildings of Amqa were destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the late 1950s on the orders of the Israeli government.[4][29][30] The mosque and a schoolroom now used as a warehouse, are the only remaining buildings.[4][31]

Archaeological sites[]

Three khirbas (archaeological ruins) lay within Amka's vicinity and contain the foundations of buildings, well-chiseled building stones, presses, and a cistern. During archaeological searches of the area remnants of a Byzantine church were discovered but due to the destruction of the village no foundations could be established.[32][33][34] The Amka mosque was inspected by Petersen in 1991. The date of the mosque construction is not known, but it bears a general similarity to the nearby mosque of al-Ghabisiyya, and is probably of a similar age, i.e. early 19th century.[31]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b "Population in the Localities 2019" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 40
  3. ^ Ringgren, 2000, p. 204.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Khalidi, 1992, p.4
  5. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 10-11, No. 11; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RHH, p. 154, No. 579, cited in Frankel, 1988, pp. 257, 263
  6. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43- 44, No. 53; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RHH, p. 248, No. 934 (16); cited in Frankel, 1988, p. 263
  7. ^ Barag, 1979, p. 204
  8. ^ a b Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 4
  9. ^ 39 households, according to Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 192
  10. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 Archived 2019-04-20 at the Wayback Machine writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  11. ^ Cohen, 1973, p.12. Cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 93
  12. ^ Petersen, 2001, p. 93. Cohen, 1973, p. 94.
  13. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 162.
  14. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 145
  15. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 172
  16. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #85. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  17. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40 Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxii, Settlement #150.
  19. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  20. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 99
  21. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 4
  22. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80 Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130 Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Charles S. Kamen (1987). "After the Catastrophe I: The Arabs in Israel, 1948-51". Middle Eastern Studies. 23 (4): 453–495. doi:10.1080/00263208708700721.; Sabri Jiryis (1973). "The Legal Structure for the Expropriation and Absorption of Arab Lands in Israel". Journal of Palestine Studies. 2 (4): 82–104. doi:10.1525/jps.1973.2.4.00p0099c.
  25. ^ Morris, 1993, pp. 146-147
  26. ^ S. Jiryis (1976). The land question in Israel. New York and London: Monthly Review Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-85345-377-2.
  27. ^ Nur-eldeen Masalha, ed. (2005). Catastrophe remembered: Palestine, Israel and the internal refugees. Zed Books. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-84277-623-0.
  28. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 5
  29. ^ Ellenblum, 2003, p. 177
  30. ^ Torstrick Rebecca L. (2000) The Limits of Coexistence: Identity Politics in Israel University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0-472-11124-8 p 180
  31. ^ a b Petersen, 2001, p. 93
  32. ^ Ellenblum, 2003, p. 178
  33. ^ The War for Palestine (second Edition 2007) Rogan and Shlaim Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0-521-87598-1 p 66
  34. ^ Khoury, Elias (2007) Gate of the Sun: Bab Al-Shams Translated by Humphrey Davies Macmillan, ISBN 0-312-42670-4 p 308


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