AKHBAREI/ACCHABARON (Heb. עַכְבָּרֵי; modern Akbara), village in Upper Galilee possibly mentioned in the inscriptions relating to the campaigns of Tiglath-pilesar iii (eighth century b.c.e.) near the line of fortifications erected by Josephus in 66 c.e. (Jos., Wars, 2:573; idem, Life, 37, 188). Eleazar, son of Simeon b. Yoḥai, died there, and when the people of Biri proposed removing his body to Meron, the inhabitants of Akhbarei objected (bm 84b). The amoraim Hananiah b. Akbari and Yose b. Avin lived there and Rabbi Yannai established a bet midrash with his pupils supporting themselves from agriculture. According to tradition the burial places of Yannai, Nehorai, and Dostai were pointed out at the site (Kaftor va-Feraḥ, 11, 47a). According to one source (Eccles. R. 2:8) pheasants were raised there. A Jewish community still existed in Akhbarei in the 11th century, but in 1522 the Jewish traveler Moses Bassola found its synagogue – referred to in Arabic by the locals as "el-kenisah" – in ruins. The remains of the synagogue were identified by Z. Ilan and subsequently partly excavated by E. Damati in 1988. Walls of houses, tombs, cisterns, and oil presses are also known from the site. It is identified with the Arab village of Akbara (now deserted), situated on a high cliff 3 mi. (5 km.) south of Safed, which used to cultivate olives, fruit, and tobacco.
S. Klein (ed.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 1 (1939), 117; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 235; Press, Ereẓ, 4 (1955), 724f.; G. Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways (1935), index; B. Maisler (Mazar), in: bjpes, 1 (1933), 1–6; Neubauer, Géogr, 226f. add. bibliography: Z. Ilan, Ancient Synagogues in Israel (1991), 51; Y. Tsafrir, L. Di Segni, and J. Green, Tabula Imperii Romani. Iudaea – Palaestina. Maps and Gazetteer. (1994), 56.
[Michael Avi-Yonah /
Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]