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Druze villages

Beit Jann


Rising nearly 1,235 feet above sea level and covering a similar number of acres is the Druze village of Beit Jann. The village, which is clad in white, snowy garb in the winter, is home to 10,200 people, all of whom are Druze bar a single Muslim family that arrived in 1948. Until Independence the villagers made their living out of agriculture, particularly the cultivation of vines; the vine was naturally chosen as the emblem of the Local Council upon its establishment in 1964. Only a handful of the villagers still grow vines. Most residents are now employed by the defense forces and outside employers or engage in tourism, as evident by Beit Jann's flourishing 350 guestrooms.
Beit Jann was settled as early as the Second Temple Period, but the Druze only came to the ruinous village some 400 years ago. According to legend, two hunters from the Syrian village of Jarma, Fares Halabi and his friend Ando, arrived at Hirbat Beit Dagon, where the village's oldest house now stands. Fares chased a hare but had lost it as it escaped into the thicket. The patient Fares waited until the hare would emerge, but after a long while realized that something must be hidden in the thicket. Creeping in he uncovered the entrance to a cave - the very foundation of the old house, where Crusader and Mamluk relics were later discovered. Inside he found stone bows and a water hole. He came outside and told Ando: "So far, we have shared everything we hunted, but not this time." Ando gave in and was shown around the precious discovery. Following the uncovering of the house Fares Halabi brought his family to Beit Jann, soon to be followed by other families. The old house is today inhabited by the 11th generation of Halabis.
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