Sakhnin was a Jewish Town until the 7th Century CE / DR.R.S.Lissak

The Arabic Sakhnin was Jewish Sakhni from Biblical times, until the end of the Byzantine period (about 1000 BCE – 628 CE).

Present day Sakhnin is an Arabic city, situated in the Lower Galilee, about 6 kilometres south of the city Carmiel, and has a population of about 25,000. Sakhnin has recently become famous for its soccer club. Sakhnin is also famous for the violent riots in March 1976 and 0ctober 2000.

The Hebrew name of Sakhnin is Sakhni. Prof. Yohanan Aharoni concluded in his book “Eretz Yisrael During Biblical Times”, that “many names of localities have been preserved by their residents to this day, despite all the historical ups and downs and population replacements that took place over time”.

The Pre- Israelite Period (3500 – 1200 BCE)

Sakhnin is a very ancient city. It was established about 3500 years ago by the Canaanites. It was first mentioned in Egyptian documents from the time of Thutmose III (early 15th century BCE) as SKhN or SAKHAN. Its population worked in tanning leather and manufacturing purple dye from snails. This was used to dye the tanned leather purple.

The first Temple Period(1000 BCE- 587 BCE)

Sakhni was included in King David’s kingdom (beginning of the 1st millennium BCE). Following the kingdom’s division under Rehav’am, King Solomon’s son, Sakhni was included in the northern Kingdom of Israel established by Yarav’am (the southern kingdom, which remained under Rehav’am, was named the Kingdom of Judea). Sakhni was famous for its olive and fig trees (Deuteronomy,32,13).

King of Assyria, Tiglath Pileser the 3rd, conquered the Galilee in 732 BCE, and turned it into the Assyrian province of Megido. Assyrian inscriptions and an arcaelogical survey showed that the Lower Galilee was evacuated by the end of the 8th century BCE, and remained deserted during the 7th and 6th centuries. However a place named SIGANA or SUGINUN, was mentioned in Sargon the 2nd time, which give reason to believe that Sakhni may have survived, after all, since there is no evidence that Assyria settled there people from other region.
The Second Temple Period (538BCE – 70 CE)

Sakhni is known to be Jewish sometime after the 6th century BCE and was conquered by the king of Helenistic Egypt Ptolemy the 5th (203 – 181 BCE).

During the Second Temple period, Sakhni was a prosperous Jewish city. Its residents were Zealots during the Great Revolt (66 CE – 70 CE). Josephus Flavius, Governor of the Galilee, retreated to Sakhni from Arav (today’s Arabic town of Arabbe) because it had no walls. Sakhni was one of Flavius’ fortresses.

The Roman and Byzantine Periods (70CE – 640 CE)

During the Mishna and Talmud period Sakhni became a spiritual centre, one of a number of Torah study centers established by Jews in the Galilee. Its synagogue is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud (ref. Michael Avi Yonah, “Historical Geography of Eretz Israel”, p.136).

Sakhni was famous for its teachers and Talmudic sages. Rabbi Hanina Ben Tradyon, who lived in Sakhnin and was head of the local Jewish Law Court, was considered among the greatest sages of his generation. He also taught Torah in his own school, and Jews from other places used to consult with him about current affairs. Brurya, wife of Rabbi Meir, was one of his daughters.
Rabbi Hanina was one of the ten sages executed by Caesar Hadrian after the Bar Kokhba revolt (132 CE – 135 CE): He was arrested by the Romans for violating their ban on teaching the Torah. Taken directly from his school, he was wrapped in tree branches, and to increase his torment the Romans placed water-logged woolen fleece on his heart. He was burned along with a Torah scroll. He died a hero’s death, impressing even the man in charge of his burning. His burial place is in the environs of Sakhnin.
His son joined the rebels and was killed. His wife was executed and his daughter forced by the Romans to become a prostitute.

A synagogue still existed in Sakhni in the 3rd century CE.

Sakhnin is also the grave site of Rabbi Yehoshua D’Sakhnin, who lived there in the 4th century CE. The grave became a place of pilgrimage, visited during the 14th century by a student of the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Nahman, one of the most prominent Rabbis in 13th century Spain).

During the Byzantine period, Christians settled in Sakhni.

Galilean Jews supported the Persians who invaded Israel in 614 CE and ruled there until 628 CE. When the Byzantines succeeded in removing the Persians, on the eve of the Arabic invasion, they massacred the Galilean Jews in revenge for their support of the Persians.

The Arabic-Muslim Period (640- 1099)

Sakhni was taken by the Muslims after they defeated the Byzantines in the Battle of the Yarmuk in 636 CE. According to an Arabic source, the Muslims built the Arabic village Sakhnin on the ruins of the Jewish one, in the time of the Caliph Omar (7th century). There is reason to believe that the Jews of Sakhni were murdered by their Christian neighbors, which were, in turn, murdered by the Muslims.

The Crusaders Period (1099 – 1260)

During the time of the Crusades, Sakhnin was in the hands of the Christians until the Battle of Hattin (1187), when Saladin brought it back under Muslim rule.

The Ottoman Period (1516 – 1918)

During the Ottoman period Sakhnin served as a regional centre. Sheikh Dahar El Omar conquered it in the 1730's and annexed it to his kingdom. It was reconquered by the Ottomans in 1775, and brought back under their control.
By the end of the 19th century, there were 700 people living in Sakhnin, most of them Muslims, and the rest Christians.

British Mandate Period (1918 – 1948)

During the British Mandate period Sakhnin became a central city for the Arabs in the Galilee. According to the Nakba web site its population in 1931 was 1,891 and the number grew to 3,477 in 1948.


Sakhnin was conquered by the Israeli army on July 15, 1948, but was recaptured by the Arab Liberation Army, under Fawzi Al- Qawuqji, and finally surrendered to Israel on July 20, 1948, and was included in it. In 1978 its population numbered approximately 13,000. Today its population is around 25,000, mostly Muslim and a Christian minority. In 1995, Sakhnin was promoted and announced a city, in the presence of Prime Minister I.Rabin.

On March 30, 1976, the "National Committee of Arab Municipalities", called for a strike in Arab settlements in protest of the decision of the Israeli Land Administration in 1975 and 1976 to confiscate land of the village in order to establish the city Carmiel. The strike became violent (stones and Molotov bottles were thrown) and 6 protesters, 3 of them from Sakhnin were killed by the police in its efforts to end the violence.
(When the Israeli Land Administration recently, confiscated Jewish and Arab land in order to build road no.6, from southern to northern Israel, the issue ended with an agreement without violence.)

On October 2000 the national leadership of Israeli- Arabs, called for a strike in Arabic settlements as an act of solidarity with the Intifada in the Western Bank and Gaza Strip. The strike became extremely violent (stoned were thrown on Jewish cars, one driver was killed, policemen were wounded and more). 13 protesters were killed, 2 of them from Sakhnin, by the police in its efforts to end the violence.

The Arabs demanded an investigation commission, but they did not approve its report. Since then the tension between Jews and Arabs became intense.

The National organization of Israeli- Arabs and some other organizations, recently published statements in which they reject the legitimacy of the Jewish state and called to replace it with, in fact, a Bi-National state alongside of a Palestinian state. Since they also called for the settlement of Palestinian refugees in Israel and not in the Palestinian state, the Jews would not only loose their state but they would become a minority, and the Palestinians would, in fact, have 2 states.

The problem is that fighting for civilian equality in the Jewish state, and replacing it with a Palestinian state are two conflicting goals. If you want civil equality in the Jewish state, you can't question its right to exist.

Dr. RSL where are you born?

are your routs going to Poland...? I am sure you are a Kozry! who wanna change the history books of Palestine, just to proof the myth of the tora!

I was born in Israel, and your knoledge on Khazaria is ziro




you are telling lies. The article brought historical facrs.

Israeli Arab leaders are trying to rewrite the history of this country to advance their political agenda.

I am an historian and I am telling the truth.

the israeli history was build on too many lies!

One of the big lies choose the writer here to comment as historical document.Sakhnin was canaaties town, which was build before 3500 years. and had nothing to do with Jews. Rabbi yehushua came to Sakhnin and lived a Wihle, that he took the name Rabbi Yehushua de Sakhnin (means rabbi yehushua from Sakhnin).He was a bliever, and he died there, and the people gave him a grave in Sakhnin. because he was a bliever he got the name (alsadeek- arabic word for believer), until now he is known with this name.
1976 the government of Israel had expropriated lands from the arab-palestinian villages(not setelments how is described by the writer) on purpose to build israeli setelments between the palestinian village, and to prevent a palestinian demografic majority. The palestinian citizines demonstrate against the act. But the israeli gornment choose to stop them with tanks and gunfire-mashines. And this is why, 6 palestinian/israeli citizines were killed by the israeli army. The same was at the year 2000, when the israeli army and police shots 13 unarmed palestinian/israeli citizines, who demonstrate against the govermental politics. the question is what could a plalestinian with stone do against a soldier with gunfire mashines? why the same army and police behave in other way, when Jews demonstrate? why we never hear about dead Jew demonstrator?
Even these 13 palestinians/israeli citizines shot by the israeli army until today no responsibles came to court and stand in a front of any judge!
Stop to write lies and more lies. It´s time to say the truth! Dr. Sam Adams

read the historical books from jewish historians!

I recommand you to read the historical books of few jewish historians like the books from Dr. Ilan Pappe and others!the only one who try to change the history of Palestine is people like you. Dr. Sam Adams


PAPPE and other so called "new historians" are not really writing history. They have a political anti- Israel agenda and they rewrite history to advance their poplitical agenda.

This is not history. Pappe is a communist and communists are famous in "adjusting history" to their political needs

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