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Khaybar (Khaibar) Definition

Khaybar - (or Khaibar) is an oasis lying about 95 miles (150 km) north of Medina (ancient Yathrib), Saudi Arabia. It included several Jewish town, the largest Jewish settlement in Saudi Arabia, conquered by Mohammed about 628 A.D. Khaybar is situated in a volcanic region covered by malarial swamps. The Jews of Khaybar were a rich community of traders as well as farmers, raising grapes, dates, vegetables and grain. They produced silk garments that were sold and known throughout the Hejaz. They manufactured metal work implements and weapons The settlements of Khaybar were concentrated around three centers - Natat, Shiqq and Katiba.

The Jewish Banu Nadir tribe of Medina, expelled from Medina about 625, moved to Khaybar. The Banu Nadir claimed to be descendants of Aaron the priest, though  many of the Jews of the Arabian peninsula are thought to have been converts to Islam. Mohammed  took advantage of the Hudna of Hudaibiyeh with the Meccans to turn against Khaybar. In 628 he conquered Khaybar and put to death many of its leaders. He took a wife, Saffiya, from Khaybar, after beheading her husband Kinana al Rabi of the Bani Nadir. Kinana was killed after being tortured to learn the location of the treasures of Khaybar.  Mohammad allowed some Jews to live there, supposedly exacting a tribute of 50% of their crops. In 642, the caliph Umar expelled many of the Jews of Khaybar, but a Jewish community persisted there, especially around Katiba at least until the twelfth century. Supposedly, some of the Jews of Khaybar or their descendants arrived in Palestine. Some apparently settled in Tiberias and lived there as late as the 16th century. One such family is the Muhamara of the village of Yutah.

Khaybar! Khaybar! and slogans mentioning Khaybar became a traditional Muslim chant during attacks on Jews and in demonstrations. One such chant is  Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad saufa ya‘ud, meaning "Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return". The Hizbullah version is Khaybar, Khaybar ya Sahyoun, Hizbullah qadimun, meaning "Khaybar, Khaybar O Zionists, Hizbullah is coming soon." Hezbulla renamed one model of their Syrian-supplied rockets, used in the 2006 Lebanon war against Israel, Khaybar II.

Ami Isseroff

October 10, 2008


Synonyms and alternate spellings: Khaibar

Further Information: Pogrom


Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

uu - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.


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This work and individual entries are copyright © 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

 

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