The largest Druze town in Israel (and the most southern) is Daliyat el-Carmel, located on Mount Carmel in the heart of the Carmel National Park, southeast of Haifa. Established some 400 years ago, Daliyat el-Carmel, together with Isifiya, has a population of 20.500 and 88.2% are Druze. Its name means “Vine Branches of the Carmel”. Druze residents, who trace their ancestry to the hill country near Aleppo (Halab) in northern Syria, attested to by their strong Aleppo accent and the name of the largest family in the village – Halabi.
The large market in the center of the town boasting traditional Druze and Arab products draws tourists from Israel and from abroad, and there is a memorial center for fallen Druze IDF soldiers. The shrine of Abu Ibrahim is located in Daliyat el-Carmel, it attracts Druze from all over Israel, in fulfillment of vows and to receive a blessing. Ruins of several Druze villages are located in the vicinity.
The village Kisra-Sammia’a is situated in a mountain area of the Western Galilee region, south of Ma’alot. It was founded in 1991 by joining two villages following the dissolution of Regional Council Merkaz ha’Galil (Central Galilee). Pop. 5.900 of which 94.6% Druze. Kisra was the smallest Druze village in the country in the nineteenth century. Next to the village is the shrine of the Muslim prophet Shams.
(In Arabic Usfiya, meaning ‘storm’, due to the weather in this mountainous village)
Isfiya, also on Mount Carmel, was built on the ruins of a Byzantine settlement. Many Crusader ornaments and relics found on the walls and in the houses led historians to believe that the village was once a Crusader center. In 1930, remains of the fifth-century Jewish settlement of Husifah were unearthed in the village. They include a synagogue with a mosaic floor bearing Jewish symbols and the inscription “Peace upon Israel”, and some 4.500 gold coins dating from the Roman Period.
The modern village was founded in the early eighteenth century, when residents made their living from the olive oil, honey and the excellent grapes growing in the region. Some 9.000 people live today in Isfiya: 70% Druze, the rest Christians and Muslims. The tomb of Abu Abdallah is located here.
Shfar’am derives its name from Shofar ha’Am, meaning ‘Shofar of the People’. Its Arab name is Shfa Omar or Omar’s Health, after the Muslim general Omaro Bin-Elias. The village of Shfar’am is northeast of Haifa, a settlement with ancient roots. Shfar’am is mentioned in the Talmud, and in the second century was the seat of the Sanhedrin (the supreme Jewish religious and judicial body). The Jewish community in Shfar’am, dating from the end of the Middle Ages, slowly dwindled away during the 19th and early 20th century. Some 27.000 Druze, Christians and Muslims live in Shfar’am today, 4.500 of them are Druze (14.4%) and the village has a number of holy sites and prayer houses for all three communities, as well as housing for discharged Druze soldiers.
Abu Sinan, near Acco, another large Druze town in the area, is mentioned in Crusader documents from the year 1250, as the fortress of “Busnen”. Abu Sinan became important during the reign of the Druze Emir Fahr ed-Din al-Mani, who built a palace there for his son Ali in 1617. Today Abu Sinan is home to about 3.900 persons – 26.8% Druze and the rest Christians and Muslims. The tombs of Nabi Zakarya (This is, in all likelihood, the Jewish prophet Zechariah) and Sheikh al-Hanbali are located in the town. It is a very modest site; there is no set date for gatherings there.
The village of Hurfeish is situated on Road 89 east of Ma’alot in Galilee. Founded about 400 years ago and has a Local Council since 1967. Pop. 4.700, 95.7% of them Druze. Above the Druze village of Hurfeish is the site of the tomb of the important prophet Sabalan. Sabalan was a Druze prophet, believed to be either Zebulun, the sixth son of the Patriarch Jacob, or one of the emissaries who propagated the Druze religion in the eleventh century. It is the site of an annual festive pilgrimage and is visited throughout the year by those who have taken a vow to do so.
In 1972, a monument was erected in Hurfeish in memory of Druze soldiers who fell serving with the Israel Defense Forces.
The village Julis (Golis) is situated east of Road 70 between the Akhi’ud and Kabri crossroads, 10 km east of Akko. South of Abu Sinan is the tranquil village of Julis, home of Sheikh Amin Tarif, the longtime spiritual leader of the Israeli Druze community, who died in October 1993. His grandson Saleh Tarif, who lives in Julis, was the first Druze to be appointed a minister in the Israeli government. It was founded in the 16th century and has 5.100 inhabitants, mostly Druze.
The village Yarqa is a Druze village in the Western Galilee, northeast of Akko (Acre). They have a Local Council since 1959, with 11.800 inhabitants, that is 98.7% Druze in the total population.
Druze have lived in Jatt, a small village northeast of Abu Sinan, since the eleventh century. Druze sacred texts mention Sheikh Abu Arus, who was responsible for the propagation of the Druze faith in the region, and was buried in the village. Local Council Yanu’ah-Jatt was founded in 1990 by joining two villages (Yanu’ah and Jatt). The village of Yanuah is mentioned in the Bible (as Janoah), the Talmud, and Crusader documents.The population today numbers some 4.900 and all of them are Druze.