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Al-Maghar, 1940
Al-Maghar is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic المغار
Name meaning The caves[1]
Subdistrict Ramle
Coordinates 31°50′19″N 34°46′56″E / 31.83861°N 34.78222°E / 31.83861; 34.78222Coordinates: 31°50′19″N 34°46′56″E / 31.83861°N 34.78222°E / 31.83861; 34.78222
Palestine grid 129/138
Population 1,740[2][3] (1945)
Area 15,390[3] dunams
Date of depopulation 18 May 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Beit Elazari[5]

al-Maghar was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine. It was depopulated by the Givati Brigade during Operation Barak on 18 May 1948. It was located 12 km southwest of Ramla, situated north of Wadi al-Maghar.


An inscription which was in Greek, and dated to a Christian period was found here.[6][7]

In the 8th century, the village was the birthplace of the Islamic jurist Abu al-Hasan Muhammad al-Maghari.[8]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1517, Al-Maghar, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, and in the 1596 tax registers the village appeared under the name of Imgar, as being in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the Liwa of Gaza, with a population was 22 households, all Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 33,3% on various agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, summer crops, fruit trees, olive trees, and sesame; a total of 6,400 akçe.[9]

In 1863 Victor Guérin found a village with about 200 inhabitants living in adobe houses. He further noted "vast fields, of which the extreme fertility delights the sight." The barley was already partially harvested, and elsewhere the plain was seeded with corn and durrah.[10]

An Ottoman village list of about 1870 indicated 54 houses and a population of 174, though the population count included men, only.[11][12]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as consisting almost entirely of adobe houses, "occupying the south slope of the hill, and built in front of caves in the rock. There are fig-gardens beneath, and pasture-land round it on the north and east. The village is not larger than most of those in the plain." "It has two wells: one north, one west."[13] Figs were noted here.[14]

The Battle of Mughar Ridge between British and Ottoman forces in the World War I was fought in the environs of Al-Maghar.

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Mughar had a population of 966 inhabitants, all Muslims,[15] while in the 1931 census, Mughar had 255 occupied houses and a population of 1,211 Muslims.[16]

In 1945, it had a population of 1,740 Muslims,[2] and the total land area was 15,390 dunums.[3] Of this, Arabs used a total of 1,772 dunums for citrus and bananas, 9,075 dunums were used for cereals, 86 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[17] while 31 dunams were classified as built-up urban areas.[18]

It had an elementary school and in 1945, it had an enrollment of 170 students.[5]

1948, and aftermath[edit]

The village became depopulated on 18 May 1948.[4][19]

The Israeli moshav of Beit Elazari was established on Al-Maghar land.[5]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 272
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 30
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 67
  4. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xix village #256. Also gives cause of depopulation
  5. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 395
  6. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1874, p. 275
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 427
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 394
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 146
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 36
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 154
  12. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 133, noted 56 houses
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 411
  14. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 418
  15. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 9
  16. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 5
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 116
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 166
  19. ^ Morris, 2004, pp. 95, 255, 306, 314, 350,373


External links[edit]