Coordinates: 31°45′08″N 35°10′55″E / 31.75222°N 35.18194°E / 31.75222; 35.18194
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المالحة מלחה
Etymology: The salt-pan[1]
Village boundaries of Maliha in the Mandatory Palestine period
Palestine grid167/129
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation21 April 1948, 15 July 1948[2]
 • Total13,449 dunams (13.449 km2 or 5.193 sq mi)
 • Total1,940[4][3]
Cause(s) of depopulationInfluence of nearby town's fall
Secondary causeMilitary assault by Yishuv forces

Malha is a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem, between Pat, Ramat Denya and Kiryat Hayovel in the Valley of Rephaim. Before 1948, Malha was an Arab village known as al-Maliha (Arabic: المالحة).



Excavations in Malha revealed Intermediate Bronze Age domestic structures.[6] A dig in the Rephaim Valley carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the region of the Malha Shopping Mall and Biblical Zoo uncovered a village dating back to the Middle Bronze Age II B (1,700 – 1,800 BCE). Beneath this, remains of an earlier village were found from the Early Bronze Age IV (2,200 – 2,100 BCE).[7]

Bronze Age settlement excavated in Malcha, between Malha Mall and Teddy Stadium

According to the archaeologists who excavated there in 1987–1990, Malha is believed to be the site of Manahat, a Canaanite town on the northern border of the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:58–59[clarification needed]).[8] Remains of the village have been preserved at the Biblical Zoo.[8]

Byzantine- to Late Ottoman-period Georgian presence[edit]

Malha was a Georgian village in the fifth century, in the time of King Vakhtang I Gorgasali, who was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church.[9] There was a connection to the nearby Georgian Holy Cross Monastery and other Georgian religious establishments around Jerusalem, with travellers noticing distinct habits among Malha's residents for centuries.[9] Eventually they adopted Islam and integrated into the surrounding Arab society.[9] By the 18th and 19th centuries, little more than the faint traces of a church, the few remaining locals naming themselve "Gurjs", Georgians, and their right of working the lands of the Holy Cross Monastery remained as witness of the Georgian past.[10]

Ottoman period[edit]

Maliha in the 1940s Survey of Palestine map. The map shows the location of the Teddy Stadium, built in the 1990s, and referred to by Arabs as "Maliha stadium".[11][12]

In the 1596 tax records al-Maliha, (named Maliha as-Suqra), was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Jerusalem under the Liwa of Jerusalem. It had a population of 52 Muslim households, an estimated 286 persons. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 33,3% on wheat, barley, and olive and fruit trees, goats and beehives; a total of 8,700 akçe. 1/3 of the revenue went to a waqf.[13]

In 1838 it was noted by Edward Robinson as el Malihah, a Muslim village, part of the Beni Hasan district.[14][15]

An Ottoman village list from about 1870 showed Malha with a population of 340, in 75 houses, though the population count included men, only.[16][17]

In 1883, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described the village as being of moderate size, standing high on a flat ridge. To the south was Ayn Yalu.[18]

In 1896 the population of Malha was estimated to be about 600 persons.[19]

British Mandate period[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Malhah had a population 1,038, all Muslims,[20] increasing in the 1931 census to 1,410; 1,402 Muslims and 8 Christians, in a total of 299 houses.[21] Georgian researcher, B.V. Khurtsilava, connected the steep population rise between 1868 (c. 200), to 1896 (some 600) and the 1920s-30s (c. 100-1400) with a strong influx of people of various ethnic backgrounds.[22]

In the 1945 statistics the population of Malha was 1,940; 1,930 Muslims and 10 Christians,[4] and the total land area was 6,828 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[3] Of the land, a total of 2,618 dunams were plantations and irrigable land and 1,259 were for cereals,[23] while a total of 328 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[24]

1948 war[edit]

In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the village of al-Maliha, with a population of 2,250, was occupied as part of the battle for south Jerusalem.[25] In the early part of the war, Al-Maliha, along with al-Qastal, Sur Baher and Deir Yassin, signed non-aggression pacts with the Haganah.[26] On April 12, 1948, in the wake of the Deir Yassin Massacre, villagers from al Maliha, Qaluniya and Beit Iksa began to flee in panic.[27] The Irgun attacked Malha in early morning hours of July 14, 1948. Several hours later, the Palestinian Arabs launched a counter-attack and seized one of the fortified positions. When Irgun reinforcements arrived, the Palestinians retreated and Malha was in Jewish control, but 17 Irgun fighters were killed and many wounded.[citation needed] The Arab inhabitants fled to Bethlehem, which remained under Jordanian control. The depopulated homes were occupied by Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern countries, mainly Iraq. Some of the land in Malha had been purchased before the establishment of the state by the Valero family, a family of Sephardi Jews that owned large amounts of property in Jerusalem and environs.[28]


Malha, circa 1950

The first Palestinian fedayeen raid in Israel took place in November 1951 in Malha when a woman, Leah Festinger, was killed by infiltrators from Shuafat, at the time part of Jordan.[29]

Recent development[edit]

View of Malha, 2007
The Jerusalem Technology Park in Malha

Under the aegis of the Jerusalem Municipality, the neighborhood was modernised and a large housing development was established on the nearby hill and its eastern slopes. At the bottom of the hill are the Malha Shopping Mall, Teddy Stadium, Pais Arena Jerusalem, Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and the Jerusalem Malha Railway Station. Malha is now considered an upscale neighborhood. Schools include a vocational high school (ORT) and an elementary school, the Shalom School. The Jerusalem Technology Park houses many companies, including some high-tech start-ups as well as international media offices.[30] In 2019, plans were approved for the construction of 30-floor towers in the technology park.[31] A line of the Jerusalem Light Rail is being built from Jerusalem's Central Bus Station to the Malha sports complex.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 322
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #361. Also gives the cause for depopulation
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 57
  4. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 25
  5. ^ Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Archived 2012-02-12 at the Wayback Machine Depopulated Jerusalem Localities of the year 1948 by Selected Variables
  6. ^ An Intermediate Bronze Age Farmhouse at Newe Shalom
  7. ^ Refaim Valley: The Palestinian villages of Al Wallaja and Battir, Archaeological View
  8. ^ a b Nahal Refa'im - Canaanite Bronze Age villages near Jerusalem. History: ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES NO. 6. Posted 20.11.2000. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accessed 25 September 2023.
  9. ^ a b c Georgian ambassador's move to Jerusalem highlights history, Jerusalem Post. Re-accessed 25 September 2023.
  10. ^ Khurtsilava, Besik V. (2017). Sentries of "Jvari": On the traces of Gurjs from Malha. Ch. 2. First Data on forgotten tribesmen, pp. 23-24 (English translation). In "Georgia and Holy Land", Tbilisi. Accessed 25 September 2023.
  11. ^ Arab MK welcomes cancellation of Argentina soccer game, Jun 6, 2018; Arutz Sheva, ""I congratulate the Argentine team on its decision to cancel the game at Al-Maliha Stadium," tweeted Zahalka, referencing the name the Arabs use to call the Teddy Stadium, where the game was to have been played."
  12. ^ Beitar cancels Barcelona match after demand to not have game in Jerusalem, July 15, 2021; Jerusalem Post: "Palestinian Football Association president Jibril Rajoub received a letter from Laport about the match planned in Jerusalem on August 4 "in a stadium built on the ruins of the Palestinian village of al-Malha, whose residents were forcibly expelled and displaced in refugee camps," Wafa reported."
  13. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 118. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 304
  14. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 123
  15. ^ Robinson & Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 156
  16. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 157, also noted it to be in the Beni Hasan district
  17. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 122, also noted 75 houses
  18. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 21. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.304
  19. ^ Schick, 1896, p. 125
  20. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  21. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 41
  22. ^ Khurtsilava, Besik V. (2017). Ch. 4. Pages of sad history of Malha residents, pp. 29-30.
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 103
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 153
  25. ^ Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Archived 2012-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Morris, 2004, pp. 75, 91
  27. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 239
  28. ^ Sephardi entrepreneurs in Jerusalem: The Valero family, 1800-1948, Joseph B. Glass, Ruth Kark
  29. ^ Ynet Encyclopedia
  30. ^ Malha Technological Centre Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Two 30-floor towers approved for Jerusalem's Malha, Globes
  32. ^ Jerusalem light rail to expand to 5 lines, 27km of tracks


External links[edit]

31°45′08″N 35°10′55″E / 31.75222°N 35.18194°E / 31.75222; 35.18194