Coordinates: 31°51′13″N 35°14′00″E / 31.85361°N 35.23333°E / 31.85361; 35.23333
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabicالرّام
 • Latinal-Ramm (official)
al-Ram (unofficial)
Al-Ram behind the separation barrier
Al-Ram behind the separation barrier
Al-Ram A-Ram Er-Ram is located in State of Palestine
Al-Ram A-Ram Er-Ram
Location of Al-Ram within Palestine
Coordinates: 31°51′13″N 35°14′00″E / 31.85361°N 35.23333°E / 31.85361; 35.23333
Palestine grid172/140
StateState of Palestine
 • TypeMunicipality
 • Total3,289 dunams (3.3 km2 or 1.3 sq mi)
 • Total25,595
 • Density7,800/km2 (20,000/sq mi)
Name meaningFrom Hebrew Ramah, "The Hill". In Arabic: "Stagnant water"[1]

Al-Ram (Arabic: الرّام), also transcribed as Al-Ramm, El-Ram, Er-Ram, and A-Ram, is a Palestinian town which lies northeast of Jerusalem, just outside the city's municipal border. The village is part of the built-up urban area of Jerusalem, the Atarot industrial zone and Beit Hanina lie to the west, and Neve Yaakov borders it on the south,[2] with a built-up area of 3,289 dunums. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, a-Ram had a population of 25,595 in 2006.[3] The head of A-Ram's village council estimates that 58,000 people live there, more than half of them holding Israeli identity cards.[4]


Ancient Israel[edit]

Al-Ram is commonly thought to be the site of the biblical city of Ramah in Benjamin.[5][6][7][8] Archeological evidence shows that the town was heavily populated during the Iron Age II, declined during the Persian period, and later revived during the Hellenistic period.[9]

Classical period[edit]

Ossuaries dated to the first century BC and CE were discovered at Al-Ram bearing Hebrew inscriptions with names such as Miriam, Yehohanan, and Shimon ben Zekhariya.[10]

Crusader period[edit]

In Crusader sources, Al-Ram was named Aram, Haram, Rama, Ramatha, Ramitta, or Ramathes.[11] Al-Ram was one of 21 villages given by Godfrey of Bouillon (r. 1099–1100) as a fief to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[12][13] All the inhabitants of the village who were mentioned in Crusader sources between 1152 and 1160 had names which imply they were Christian.[14][15] The village was mentioned around 1161, when a dispute about a land boundary was settled.[15][16]

Ottoman period[edit]

In 1517, the village became part of the Ottoman Empire along with the rest of Palestine. In the 1596 tax records, it appeared as Rama, located in the Nahiya of Jabal Quds of the Liwa of Al-Quds. The population was 28 households, all Muslim. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3% on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, olive trees and vineyards, in addition to occasional revenues, goats and beehives; a total of 4700 akçe.[17]

In 1838, Edward Robinson found the village to be very poor and small, but large stones and scattered columns indicated that it had previously been an important place.[5] In 1870 the French explorer Victor Guérin found the village to have 200 inhabitants,[18] while an Ottoman village list of about the same year showed that Er-Ram had 32 houses and a population of 120, though the population count included men only.[19][20]

In 1883, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described Er-Ram as a "small village in a conspicuous position on the top of a white hill, with olives. It has a well to the south. [..] The houses are of stone, partly built of old material".[21] "West of the village is a good birkeh with a pointed vault; lower down the hill a pillar-shaft broken in two, probably from the church. On the hill are cisterns. Drafted stones are used up in the village walls. At Khan-er-Ram, by the main road, is a quarry with half-finished blocks still in it, and two cisterns. The Khan appears to be quite modern, and is in ruins. There are extensive quarries on the hill-sides near it."[22]

In 1896, the population of Er-Ram was estimated to be about 240 persons.[23]

British Mandate period[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Al-Ram had a population of 208, all Muslims.[24] This had increased in the 1931 census to 262, still all Muslim, in 51 houses.[25] Al-Ram suffered badly in the 1927 earthquake, with old walls collapsing.[26]

In a survey in 1945, Al-Ram had a population of 350, all Muslims,[27] and a total land area of 5,598 dunams.[28] 441 dunams were designated for plantations and irrigable land, 2,291 for cereals,[29] while 14 dunams were built-up area.[30]

Jordanian period[edit]

The Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, 2011

In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Al-Ram came under Jordanian rule.

In 1961, the population of Al-Ram was 769.[31]


Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Al-Ram has been under Israeli occupation.

The population in a 1967 census conducted by the Israeli authorities was 860, 86 of whom originated from the Israeli territory.[32]

According to ARIJ, after the 1995 accords, 33.2% (or about ~2,226 dunums) of Al-Ram's land is classified as Area B land, while the remaining 66.8% (~4,482 dunums) was defined as Area C.[33] Israel has confiscated land from Al-Ram in order to build two Israeli settlement/Industrial parks:

In 2006, the Israeli High Court rejected three petitions objecting to the construction of a security barrier separating Al-Ram from Jerusalem.[35] The route of the fence planned to encircle northern Jerusalem has been revised several times. The latest plan, effectively implemented, called for a "minimalist" route following the municipal boundary at a distance of several hundred meters. This has left the town of Al-Ram almost entirely outside of the fence, with the exception of the southern part of the town, called Dahiyat al-Barid.[36][37]


Neolithic mask[edit]

The Survey of Western Palestine mentions that Dr. Chaplin, who had visited er-Ram with an interest for archaeological remains, had "a very curious stone mask... in his possession, obtained from the village. It represents a human face without hair or beard, the nose well-cut, the eyes and mouth very feebly designed. The mask is hollowed out behind, and has two deep holes at the back as if to fix it to a wall. It is over a foot in longer diameter, and curiously resembles some of the faces of the Moabite collection of Mr. Shapira. There cannot well be any question of its genuine character, and nothing like it has been found, so far as I know, in Palestine."[22][38] By 2018, a total of 15 such stone masks from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period have been discovered in the Southern Levant, one known to have had been bought in the late 19th century from villagers in Er-Ram and now kept at the Palestine Exploration Fund in London.[39]

Dr Thomas J. Chaplin (1830–1904) was the director of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews' own British Hospital for the Jews in Jerusalem for some 25 years.[40]

Crusader remains[edit]

Two Crusader structures have been identified in the town.


Archaeologists have identified the ruins of a Crusader courtyard building developed from an initial tower, as the grange of a Frankish new town founded by 1160.[41]

Former Crusader church[edit]

19th-century drawing of a lintel from a Crusader church, repurposed as a maqam[22]

The former (old) mosque of Al-Ram was once a Crusader parish church.[15][42][dubious ]

In 1838, Robinson noted that "A small mosk with columns seems once to have been a church".[5]

In 1870, Guérin described "a mosque, replacing a former Christian church, of which it occupies the choir; the inhabitants venerate there the memory of Shaykh Hasen. The columns of this sanctuary come from the church."[43]

In 1881, Lieutenant Conder reported: "At the shrine which is so conspicuous near this village are remains of a former chapel. The lintel stone (as it would seem), with a bas-relief of rosettes, has been found by Dr. Chaplin within the building."[22][38]

In 1883, SWP noted that "west of the village is the Mukam of Sheik Hasein, once a small Christian basilica". It further described it as "The remains of the north aisle 6 feet 8 inches wide, are marked by four columns 2 feet in diameter. The chamber of the saint's tomb occupies part of the nave, and into its north wall the lintel of the old door is built, a stone 10 feet long, half of which is visible, with designs as shown. In the courtyard east of this chamber is an old well of good water and a fine mulberry-tree. In the west wall of the Mukam other stones, with discs in low relief, are built in."[22]

Sister cities[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 324
  2. ^ "The Separation Barrier surrounding a-Ram". Btselem. January 1, 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Projected Mid -Year Population for Jerusalem Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006". Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Israel's Apartheid Wall Surrounding a-Ram". B'Tselem. Palestine Media Center. June 27, 2005. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, pp. 315-317
  6. ^ Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Rama - (al-Ram) Archived 2012-10-03 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 25 October 2017
  7. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, Ramah, accessed 26 October 2017
  8. ^ Na'aman, Nadav (2019-10-02). "Reconsidering the Ancient name of Nebi Samwil". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 151 (3–4): 202–217. doi:10.1080/00310328.2019.1684772. ISSN 0031-0328.
  9. ^ Finkelstein, Israel (2018). Hasmonean realities behind Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. SBL Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-88414-307-9. OCLC 1081371337.
  10. ^ Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: a multi-lingual corpus of the inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad. Vol. IV: Iudaea / Idumaea. Eran Lupu, Marfa Heimbach, Naomi Schneider, Hannah Cotton. Berlin: de Gruyter. 2018. pp. 231–233. ISBN 978-3-11-022219-7. OCLC 663773367.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Pringle, 1998, p. 179
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 11
  13. ^ de Roziére, 1849, p. 263: Haram, cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 16-17, No 74
  14. ^ Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 70- 71, No 278; p. 92, No 353
  15. ^ a b c Pringle, 1998, p. 180
  16. ^ Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 96, No 365
  17. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 117
  18. ^ Guérin, 1874, p. 199 ff
  19. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 158
  20. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 127, also noted 32 houses
  21. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 13
  22. ^ a b c d e Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 155
  23. ^ Schick, 1896, p. 121
  24. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V||, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  25. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 42
  26. ^ Pringle, 1983, p. 163
  27. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 25
  28. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 58 Archived 2018-11-03 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 104 Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 154 Archived 2014-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 23
  32. ^ Perlmann, Joel (November 2011 – February 2012). "The 1967 Census of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Digitized Version" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  33. ^ Ar Ram Town Profile, ARIJ, 2012, pp. 18-19
  34. ^ a b Ar Ram Town Profile, ARIJ, 2012, p. 19
  35. ^ High Court: A-Ram fence is our defense, Dec. 13, 2006, The Jerusalem Post
  36. ^ Btselem (January 2016). "The Separation Barrier surrounding a-Ram". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  37. ^ Harel, Amos (November 10, 2003). "Separation fence to include wide area east of Jerusalem". Haaretz. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  38. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 438
  39. ^ Gannon, Megan (30 November 2018). "Haunting, 9,000-Year-Old Stone Mask Discovered in a Field in the West Bank". Live Science. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  40. ^ Lev, Efraim; Perry, Yaron (2004). "Dr Thomas Chaplin, Scientist and Scholar in Nineteenth-Century Palestine". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. London: Palestine Exploration Fund. 136 (136:2): 151–162. doi:10.1179/003103204x4067. S2CID 161268746. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  41. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 88
  42. ^ Wilson, 1881, p. 214: picture
  43. ^ Guérin, 1874, p. 200, as translated in Pringle, 1998, p. 180


External links[edit]