Avelim or Ovelim

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AVELIM or OVELIM and other variants (Heb. אֲבֵלִים or אוֹבְלִים; "vale" or "pasture"), a valley and village in Galilee, about 7½ mi. (12 km.) northwest of Sepphoris. It was inhabited in the Late Bronze Age and rebuilt in Roman times. The tannaim Yose b. Peredah and Eliezer b. Judah lived in Avelim (Tosef., Er. 1:1; Er. 11b; Tosef., Ma'as. Sh. 1:9). One of the caravan routes leading from Egypt to Damascus and Mesopotamia passed near it, as did the Roman road connecting Acre and Sepphoris. According to the amora Abba b. Kahana (c. 400), Job's oxen and asses were stolen by marauders (Job 1:14) in the valley of Avelim (pdrk 66; et al.), which may reflect the insecurity of the region in his own time. Avelim is the present-day village of Ibillīn, with a population of about 1,500 in 1970 (60% Christian and 40% Muslim). In 2002 the population was over 10,000 (55% Muslim and 45% Christian). Income was about half the national average.

Relics from several periods have been discovered in the area. From the Roman period there is a mikveh, from the Byzantine period a dwelling, and a wall dating to the Crusaders period was also found. A synagogue of the talmudic period, including part of a decorative lintel with an Aramaic inscription and a stone decorated with a menorah, was found at Khirbat ʿIbillīn.


Press, Erez, 1 (19512), 4; S. Klein, Sefer ha-Yishuv, 1 (1939), 1; S.J.L. Rapoport, Erekh Millin, 1 (1914), 4; Neubauer, Géogr., 259–60; Press, in: Jeschurun, 17 (1930), 261–7; J. Braslavi (Braslavski), Le Heker Arzenu (1954), 74, 277–80; Ginsberg and Klein, in bjpes, 2, nos. 3–4 (1935), 47–48 (inscription not in Frey, Corpus).

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]