Arbel (Hebrew: אַרְבֵּל) is a moshav in northern Israel. Located
on Mount Arbel next to the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias, it
falls under the jurisdiction of Lower Galilee Regional
Council. In 2006 it had a population of 364.
Arbel was established in 1949 by demobilized soldiers on the
lands of the depopulated Palestinian Arab village of Hittin,
whose residents fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It
was initially a moshav shitufi (a collective smallholder's
settlement that combines the economic features of a kibbutz
with the social features of a moshav. Farming is done
collectively and profits are shared equally), but became a
moshav ovdim (a workers co-operative settlement) in 1959.
It existed already during the First Temple Period as Beit
Arbel (Hosea 10:14), probably on the Tel north of today's
In Second Temple times, the village of Arbel was the home of
the sage Nitai the Arbelite, to whom the Mishnah ascribes
the saying: "Keep your distance from a bad neighbor, do not
associate with the wicked, and do not despair of
retribution" (Avot 1:7).
Arbel is notable for the ruins of an ancient synagogue, one
of the oldest synagogue in the world that stands amid the
remnants of an ancient Jewish village on the western edge of
the moshav. The door of the synagogue, still standing, was
carved form a massive natural outcropping of limestone, and
the synagogue itself situated so as to make use of the stone
as a handsome door. It is carved with decorative floral
motifs and medallions. A carved groove for a mezuzah can be
seen. Three sides of the building had carved stone benches.
The two story building had three rows of columns with
Corinthian capitals on the first floor and Ionic capitals on
the second floor.. It was also a site fortified by Daher