Kfar Saba

Kfar Sava
  • כְּפַר סָבָא
  • كفار سابا
Hebrew transcription(s)
  ISO 259 Kfar Sava
  Translit. Kfar Sava


Kfar Sava
Coordinates: 32°10′17″N 34°54′30″E / 32.17139°N 34.90833°E / 32.17139; 34.90833Coordinates: 32°10′17″N 34°54′30″E / 32.17139°N 34.90833°E / 32.17139; 34.90833
Country  Israel
District Central
Founded 1903
  Type City (from 1962)
  Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo
  Total 14,169 dunams (14.169 km2 or 5.471 sq mi)
Population (2015)[1]
  Total 96,922
Website www.kfar-saba.muni.il (Hebrew)

Kfar Saba (Hebrew: כְּפַר סָבָא), officially Kefar Sava, is a city in the Sharon region, of the Central District of Israel. In 2015 it had a population of 96,922.


The origins of the name are not known - in Hebrew it means 'grandfather's village'.

Paving a street in Kfar Saba, 1929


Kfar Saba (ancient Capharsaba) was an important settlement during the Second Temple period,[2][3] and is mentioned for the first time in the writings of Josephus, in his account of the attempt of Alexander Jannaeus to halt an invasion from the North led by Antiochus (Antiquities, book 13, chapter 15). Kfar Saba also appears in the Talmud in connection to corn tithing and the Capharsaba sycamore fig tree.[2]

Excavations on the site have revealed the remains of a large Roman bathhouse. In the Byzantine periods the ruins of the bathhouse were first converted into fish pools, and later into some form of industrial installation.[4]

Ottoman era

Mausoleum of Nabi Yamin/Benjamin's Tomb

In 1596, the Arab village of Kafr Saba was inhabited by 42 Muslim families.[5] In the 1870s it was described as "a mud village of moderate size with mud-ponds around it and good water in the wells of Neby Yemin, to the east."[6] The Jewish town of Kfar Saba was established in 1898 on 7,500 dunams of land purchased from the Arab village.[7] Despite attractive advertisements in Jerusalem and London, attempts to sell plots to private individuals were unsuccessful, as the land was located in a desolate, neglected area far from any other Jewish settlement.[3] The Ottoman pasha of Nablus, to whose governorate the land belonged, refused to give building permits, therefore the first settlers lived in huts made of clay and straw. They earned their living by growing almonds, grapes and olives. Most of the manual laborers on the land were peasants from Qalqilya. Only in 1912 were permits given and the settlers moved to permanent housing.[3]

In the Palestine campaign of World War I, Kfar Saba was on the front line between General Allenby's British Army and the Ottoman army, and was destroyed. At the same time about a thousand residents of Tel Aviv and Jaffa came to live in the town. They had been forcibly deported from their homes by the Ottomans.

British Mandate

Due to the Jaffa riots of 1921 these deportees returned to their original cities. In 1922 the original residents returned and in 1924 additional settlers joined them. In this period the cultivation of citrus fruit developed. The first elections for the local council were held.[8]

State of Israel

In August 1947, a Jewish man was found shot to death outside the village.[9] In December 1947, Arab and Jewish leaders in the area pledged to keep the peace between the local communities.[10] In the months leading up to the 1948 war, Kfar Saba was attacked by local militia from Arab Kafr Saba. The Arab Liberation Army (ALA), an army consisting of volunteers from several neighboring Arab countries, sent troops to aid in these attacks.[11] In 1962 Kfar Saba was awarded city status, with head of the local council, Mordechai Surkis, becoming its first mayor.[12]

Located just across the Green Line from Kalkilya, Kfar Saba has been a frequent target of terrorist attacks. In May 2001, a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt killed a doctor and wounded 50 at a bus stop in Kfar Saba.[13] In March 2002, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on passersby at a major intersection, killing an Israeli girl and wounding 16 before being shot dead.[14] In April 2003, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the Kfar Saba train station during the morning rush hour, killing a security guard and wounding 10 bystanders.[15]


Hadarim neighborhood, Kfar Saba

The census of 1922 listed the population of Kfar Saba as 14 Jews.[16] By the census of 1931 it had grown to 1405 inhabitants, in 395 houses.[17] In 1945, the town had a population of 4,320 Jews.[18]

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), in 2001, the ethnic makeup of the city was 99.9% Jewish and 0.1% Others. Additionally, there were 523 immigrant residents. Also according to the CBS, there were 37,000 males and 39,600 females in 2001. The population of the city was spread out with 31.1% 19 years of age or younger, 16.3% between 20 and 29, 17.7% between 30 and 44, 20.2% from 45 to 59, 3.5% from 60 to 64, and 11.3% 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate was 2.0% for that year.

The city is ranked high on the socio-economic scale (8 out of 10).[19] Kfar Saba has a listed population surpassing 100,000 as of 2014.


Arim Mall in downtown Kfar Saba
Beit Sapir Auditorium as seen from the Jerusalem pedestrian street in the city center. Arim Mall can be seen in the background.
Kdoshei Kahir park in Kfar Saba.

According to CBS, there were 31,528 salaried workers and 2,648 self-employed in Kfar Saba in 2000. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried worker was ILS 7,120, a real change of 10.1% over the course of 2000. Salaried males had a mean monthly wage of ILS 9,343 (a real change of 9.9%) versus ILS 5,033 for females (a real change of 9.7%). The mean income for the self-employed was 8,980. 1,015 people received unemployment benefits and 1,682 people received an income guarantee.

In May 2004 the exploration company Givot Olam said that the Meged-4 oil well, located northeast of Kfar Saba, has exceeded original predictions and contains an extremely valuable deposit of oil.[20]

Schools and religious institutions

Kfar Saba railway station

In 2010, Kfar Saba had 12 secular elementary schools, 3 religious elementary schools, 8 secular high schools and 3 religious high schools. The city is served by 105 synagogues.[21]

Health care

Meir Hospital is located in Kfar Saba.[22] Meir Hospital is a major medical center named for Josef Meir, the first head of the General Sick Fund and the first director of the Israeli Ministry of Health.[23] The hospital accepts all patients, Jews and Arabs, including patients from cities within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, such as Qalqilyah.[24]

Environmental issues

Kfar Saba has won multiple awards for environment protection efforts. Kfar Saba is also the site of Israel's first biofilter project.[25]


The lily pond at Sapir Center.

Nabi Yamin

SanDisk's Israel facility

A Mamluk caravanserai complex, including the mausoleum of Nabi Yamin, is located by the Kfar Saba – Qalqilyah road. The site contains an inscription dated to the 14th century.[26] The site has been associated with the tomb of Benjamin, son of Jacob.[27] North of this complex is a smaller tomb whose cupola has been painted green and is being maintained by local Palestinian Muslims, who consider it the "real" tomb. Jews and Muslims venerate Benjamin. Kfar Saba is in the heart of Dan's tribal area, but there are traditions that explain why Benjamin's tomb is located in the land of the tribe of Dan. The traditional burial place of Simeon, son of Jacob, lies close to Kfar Saba. It is a small domed structure that sits in a field not far from kibbutz Eyal. According to Meron Benvenisti, the site was until 1948 only holy to Muslims, and Jews ascribed no holiness to it.[28] Today the dedicated inscriptions from the Mamluk period remain engraved on the stone walls of the tomb but the cloths embroidered with verses from the Qur´an, with which the gravestones were draped, have been replaced by draperies bearing verses from the Hebrew Bible.[29]

First well

Kfar Saba park

The modern development of Kfar Saba started when water was discovered in the early 1920s. The first well was excavated at this time, followed by many others over the next two decades. The Kfar Saba Water Plant was founded to centralize the water supply system. The city’s first well is located in the courtyard of Kfar Saba City Hall.[30]

Amrami's dairy farm

The site of the dairy farm of Baruch Amrami, who transferred the administration of the Kfar Saba settlement from Petah Tikva to a local committee and founded the water company and the first bank of the village in the 1920s, is on the corner of Amrami and Rothschild Streets. The cowshed and Amrami's "office" are still standing.[31]

Nordenstein house

Due to the lack of security during World War I, the settlement was abandoned. In 1922, the Nordenstein family returned and built the first defensible stone house. It took another two years for other families to return (mostly from Petah Tikva). The Nordenstein House is still standing on HaEmek Street, near the central bus station.

Kibbutz HaKovesh dining hall

A stone house on Tel Hai Street designed for defense (outlooks and sharp-shooting parapets) served as the communal dining room of Kibbutz HaKovesh. The pioneers themselves lived in tents. In 1948, the kibbutz moved north to secure the Kalkiliya front. The building now houses the Kfar Saba Civil Guard.

City's Park

Kfar Saba's Park is one of the biggest parks in the Sharon area. It has an area of 250,000 m2. The park includes: kids playgrounds, water fountains, roller Skate Arena, fitness facilities, and shaded dining areas. The park is open daily between 6:30AM and 11:00PM. There is free parking for city residents in different locations around the park.

Eva Fischer Fund

The Kfar Saba's Municipality Center contains the Eva Fischer's Fund, where you can see the artworks about the Shoah that the Italian painter gave to the city. (Eva Fischer - 1920-2015)


Remnants of an ancient Israelite village were discovered east of the city, and are believed to be the ruins of biblical Capharsaba. The Kfar Saba Archaeology Museum exhibits artifacts found in the region.[32]


Kfar Saba has one large industrial zone in the east of the city. It contains hi-tech offices and industrial plants, including Teva Pharmaceuticals' plant.

Kfar Saba is the primary filming location of FX's new drama Tyrant (TV series), which takes place in the fictional Arab country of Baladi.[33]

Notable residents

Twin towns and sister cities

Kfar Saba is twinned with:


  1. "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  2. 1 2 The Origin of the Name Capharsaba Kfar Sava Municipal Council
  3. 1 2 3 Vilnai, Ze'ev (1976). "Kefar-Sava". Ariel Encyclopedia (in Hebrew). Volume 4. Israel: Am Oved. pp. 3790–96.
  4. According to Ayalon, 1982. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p.233
  5. Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). "Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century". Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 140.
  6. C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener, The Survey of Western Palestine, II, p134.
  7. Carl Hoffman (June 17, 2009). "Pride and preservation". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  8. History Kfar Saba Municipal Council (Hebrew)
  9. Haganah Kills 11 in Palestine Hunt for Arab Gunmen NY Times, August 16, 1947
  10. 6 Dead, 26 Injured in Haifa Fighting NY Times, December 25, 1947
  11. Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab–Israeli War, Yale University Press, p. 164
  12. Mordechai Surkis: Public Activities Knesset website
  13. Jessica Steinberg (2001-05-04). "Israeli yuppie town of Kfar Saba now finding itself on the front line of the battle with the Palesti". JWeekly.com. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  14. "security: Suicide attacks in Kfar Saba and Jerusalem kill one Israeli". israelinsider. 2002-03-17. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  15. "Guard killed and 10 hurt in Israel suicide attack". The Independent. 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  16. Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Table VII.
  17. Mills, 1932, p. 14
  18. Village Statistics 1945
  19. "Local councils and municipalities, by socio-economic index, ranking and cluster membership" (PDF). 2003. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  20. Welcome to Givot Olam Oil Givot Olam
  21. "Kfar Saba community guide". Nbn.org.il. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  22. Ayala Hurwicz (2007-05-07). "Sheba - Largest Hospital in Israel" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  23. Meir Medical Center history Archived June 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. Meir Maternity Ward Staff Save 20 Year-Old Arab Mother
  25. "Kfar Saba Biofilter Successfully Concludes First Winter". The Jerusalem Post. 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  26. (Hebrew)Yoav Regev (יואב רגב), ed., The New Israel Guide (מדריך ישראל החדש), vol. 8, p. 94, 2001.
  27. Vermeulen, Urbain; Steenbergen, J. van (2001). Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk Eras III: Proceedings of the 6th, 7th and 8th International Colloquium Organized at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in May 1997, 1998, and 1999. Peeters Publishers. pp. 366–. ISBN 9789042909700. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  28. Benvenisti, 2002, p. 276
  29. Benvenisti, 2002, p. 277
  30. "The Kfar Saba water tower". Water-tower.co.il. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  31. Deutch, Gloria (2008-01-03). "Streetwise: Rehov Amrami, Kfar Saba". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  32. TravelNet in cooperation with Israel museums. "Archaeology Museum of Kfar Saba". Ilmuseums.com. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  33. Press, Viva Sarah. "FX's New TV Series 'Tyrant' About Syrian Leader is made in Israel". Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  34. "Veteran journalist and broadcaster Nakdimon Rogel dies". Jerusalem Post. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  35. "Wiesbaden's international city relations". Retrieved 24 December 2012.
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