Tel Kabri – תֵל כַבְרִי – تَلْ ألْقَهوَة, Tell al-Qahweh, (“the mound of coffee”) is an archaeological tel (mound created by accumulation of debris) in the Western Upper Galilee containing one of the largest Middle Bronze Age (2,100–1,550 BCE) Canaanite palaces in Israel. Kabri is named for the abundance of its perennial springs the presence of which has led to the site’s occupation and use as a water source from 6,400–4,500 BCE to the present day. The site was at the height of its power in the Middle Bronze, controlling much of the surrounding region. Kabri declined as a local power at the end of the Middle Bronze, but the site continued to be occupied at times, on a much reduced level, up until the Israeli War of Independence.
What’s in a Name
By the Iron Age, 1200-500 BCE, the site was called Rehov, and this continued into the Phoenician period which was concurrent with the Iron Age. Kabri might have been the same city as Rehov, referred to in the Ancient Egyptian list of enemy polities or from the topographic lists by Pharaoh Thutmose III.
Early in the Roman Period (64 BC–500s CE), the town of Kabrita had been established to the east of the tel.
The site is mentioned in the 3rd century Mosaic of Rehov, as marking one of the northernmost bounds of Jewish resettlement after their return from Babylonian exile.
Middle Bronze Period
In the early and middle Middle Bronze I, Tel Kabri – along with Megiddo, Aphek, and Akko – was one of the earliest cities in the Levant. At the peak of its power, Kabri may have controlled a domain that stretched from Mount Carmel in the south to the Tyre in the north. By 1500 BC, the site was abandoned for reasons unknown.
In the Iron Age, the site was reoccupied by Greek mercenaries under hire from the Phoenician city-state of Tyre. This town was destroyed by the armies of the Neo-Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II around 585 BC. After this destruction, the town was rebuilt and this new town grew during the Persian period (538–332 BC) and habitation at the tel itself ends at this point.
Kabrita became the Arab village of el-Kabira, which by the late 1200s AD was called al-Kabrah, eventually became al-Kabri. The name of Kabrita, and the later names, were derived from the triconsonantal Semitic root, כבר, meaning ‘great or powerful’, in reference to the plentiful water from Kabri’s springs.
The village was called Le Quiebre by the Crusaders.
In addition to al-Kabri which is located east of the site, during the Ottoman Period, two additional Arab villages were founded on the actual site – en-Nahr and et-Tel.
Al-Kabri was first badly shaken by the Palmach raid on the village on the night 31 January/1 February 1948, in which the house of the main anti-Israeli al-Husayni-affiliated notable, Fares Efendi Sirhan, was demolished by a huge explosion. After this, Sirhan and his family fled to Lebanon.
On the 27 March 1948, the Yehiam convoy bringing supplies to besieged Kibbutz Yehiam was ambushed while passing by al-Kabri and 46 Haganah members were killed.
In April 1948, the Haganah prepared an initial blueprint for an operation called “Ehud”, which provided for attacks on al-Kabri, al Nahar, al-Bassa and al-Zib. The village was likely occupied on the night of 20–21 May during the second stage of Operation Ben-Ami, by which time most of the inhabitants had fled.
Kabri – כַּבְּרִי is a kibbutz in northern Israel in the Western Galilee about 4 kilometres (2 mi) east of the Mediterranean seaside town of Nahariya. In 1949 a new kibbutz was founded on the site of the village by displaced members of kibbutz Beit HaArava and young refugees from the Youth Aliyah. Beit HaArava was located along the Jordan River near Jericho, and had been evacuated during the Israeli War of Independence, was subsequently destroyed by the invading Jordanian forces. Beit HaArava’s children and noncombatant women members had been evacuated to kibbutz Shefayim during the War of Independence. The members subsequently divided in 1949 into two groups. One became the founding members of Kabri and the other joined Gesher HaZiv, another kibbutz in the Western Galilee.
The kibbutz is located on lands which used to belong to the depopulated Palestinian villages of Al-Kabri and al-Nahr.