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Nabi Sabalan-Hurfeish
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Nabi Sabalan
Any visit to the Galilee should include Druze villages like Hurfeish. This is worth a special trip just to be able to say that you saw and experienced the Druze community living in Israel.
According to tradition, Hurfeish also has the highest ratio of Druze police and army officers. Some 500 police and army officers live in this village, with a total population of only 4,500.
The atmosphere in Druze villages is warm and friendly, the views are beautiful and the ancient Druze culture is seen at its most picturesque in the form of religious men and women in traditional dress.
The residents of Hurfeish (the name means 'briar thorn' in Arabic) are known for their friendliness, which adds to the enjoyment of a stroll through the village's narrow lanes and alleys, past ancient houses.Take a look at the small shops on the way to the holy Druze burial site of Nabi Sabalan on top of Mount Zvul.
There are some 80,000 Druze in Israel, living in about 18 villages. The name Druze reportedly originates from Mohammed ben Ismail Nashtakin-al-Darazi, an early messenger of the sect, now considered a heretic. The tenets of the Druze faith are kept secret and passed on verbally from one generation to another, each new generation undertaking to maintain the secrecy and fulfill the beliefs of the sect. This group of 'knowledgable initiates' (Uqqal) are easily recognizable by their traditional dress ?blue gown and white veil for the women, and distinctive trousers, robes (also blue) and white headdresses for the men. The Druze of Israel have traditionally identified closely with the State, for better or worse, which includes serving in the IDF.
It is pleasant to wander around the narrow streets of Hurfeish, look at the old houses, meet the friendly local residents, observe the older generation and have a glimpse of their tradition in the local Druze museum. Alternatively, you can drive from the center of the the village on the road that leads up to the mountain peak, the site of the grave of the Prophet Nabi Sabalan, and a wonderful observation platform overlooking the surrounding mountains and villages.
Visit the holy grave of Nabi Sabalan first, then enjoy the impressive panoramic view. The annual Druze pilgrimage to the burial site takes place on September 10th. Not many details are known about the holy prophet himself. Some people identify him with Zvulun Ben Yaakov who, tradition has it, interpreted the Druze religious texts while inhabiting this cave. Another tradition holds that the holy burial site is the best place to make rivals and opponents swear a solemn oath during an argument, as a way of proving who is lying and who telling the truth.
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