Safad Before 1948
The city of Safad , the undeclared capital of Galilee, had a population of 9,530 Arabs and 2,400 Jews and a total urban land area of 1,1,429 dunums. The city lies in the hills of eastern Galilee and was long the most important town in northern Galilee. Its strategic and economic value stemmed from the fact it lay along historic trade and communications lines between Syria and Egypt. Safad’s importance thus made it a prize for various armies over centuries, including those of Crusadors, Napoleon, and various Islamic dynasties. War was not the only disaster to befall Safad, like other towns in Palestin, it sustained damage during earthquake of 1837.
Safad City, like many other cities in Palestine, was founded by the Can’anites. Its ancient name was “ Safat” which means “al-withaq or al’ata` “ in Arabic ( offer or bond/tie).
The fall of Safad on May 10, 1948 was a great shack to the Palestinians in Galilee. The villagers of the Hula Valley were disheartened and terrified; a great number of the villagers in Eastern Galilee began to flee. Almost all of the villages surrounding the city of Safad were now evacuated.