Nahf (Arabic: , Na?f or Nahef; Hebrew: ) is an Arabtown in the Northern District of Israel. It is located in between the lower and upper Galilee, about 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Acre. In 2018 it had a population of 12,846. Archaeologists believe that the area was an important center for viticulture in the Hellenistic period and possibly the Early Bronze Age IB period (ca. 3100 BC).
From archaeological finds, it is assumed that blown glass vessels were produced in the village during the Byzantine era. A bath, containing a hypocaust from the same period has also been excavated. Dating from the late Byzantine era, it was in continuous use in the early Umayyad era.
Remains, including potsherds of bowls, plates and jars, all from Mamluk era, (fourteenth-fifteenth centuries CE), have been found in archaeological excavations.
In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596, Nahaf appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in nahiya (subdistrict) of Akka, part of Sanjak Safad. It had a population of 108 households and 9 bachelors, all Muslims. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on wheat, barley, summer crops, fruit trees, goats and/or beehives, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 6,629 akçe.
In the 1945 statistics the population of Nahf was 1,320, all Muslims, who owned 15,745 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey. 1,088 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 4,571 used for cereals, while 44 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
State of Israel
Nahf was captured by Israel on 18 July 1948 during Operation Dekel led by the Sheva (Seventh) Brigade. Its defenders included the town's local militia as well as Arab Liberation Army volunteers. The town was left intact and most residents did not flee their homes. There was a massacre carried out by the IDF Moshe Carmel's troops after the fighting was over. The population remained under Martial Law until 1966.
In and around Nahf, there are a number of archaeological remains dating from the Middle Ages, including mosaics and a cemetery. In a nearby location lies the shrines of Muslim leaders Sheik Muhammad Rabiah and Sheik Mahmud who fought against the Crusaders. The Auba cave, which dates from the time of the Assyrians, is also located here.
The largest medieval structure in the village is a roughly 10 meter long wall, made of large drafted blocks with a rubble core, which may be of Crusader origin.
The Maqam (shrine) of Shaykh Rabi is located on a steep hill above the village, surrounded by a cemetery. It is a domedrectangular building, with an entrance from the east. A deep mihrab ("Islamic prayer niche") is located inside, in the middle of the south side. By the north wall is the elongated cenotaph of Shaykh Rabi.