July 22: Anniversary of the Bombing of the British Military Intel HQ in the King David Hotel 70 Years Ago
On July 22, 1946, the Irgun resistance organization blew up a section of the King David Hotel, killing 91 British, Arabs and Jews. The Library of Congress - Matson collection includes several pictures of the bombing's aftermath.
Those photographs pretty much marked the end of the Matson Photo Service's 65 years in Jerusalem. According to the Library, "In 1946, in the face of increasing violence in Palestine, the Matsons left Jerusalem for Southern California."
The attack still raises the question of the involvement of the Jewish underground in terrorism.
The following appeared in Myths and Facts, 1989, written by the publisher of Israel Daily Picture.
The King David Hotel was the site of the British military command and the British Criminal Investigation Division. Two events led the Irgun commanders to choose the British military headquarters as a legitimate target. ï»¿ï»¿ On June 29, 1946, British troops invaded the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem and confiscated large quantities of documents. Simultaneously, over 2,500 Jewish leaders from all over Palestine were placed under arrest. Not only were the documents of crucial importance to the Jewish liberation movement, but papers on Jewish agents in Arab countries were also confiscated, endangering vital intelligence activities. The information was taken to the King David Hotel. ï»¿
One week later, Palestinian Jewish anger against the British and their blockade of Palestine grew. Word arrived of the massacre of 40 Jews in a pogrom in Poland; 40 Jews who might have been saved had the doors to Palestine been opened for the survivors of Hitler's concentration camps.On July 22, the Irgun planted bombs in the basement of the hotel. Several calls were placed warning the British to evacuate. They refused. For decades the British denied that they had been warned. In 1979, however a member of the British parliament introduced evidence that the Irgun had indeed issued the warning. He offered the testimony of a British officer who heard other officers in the King David Hotel bar joking about a Zionist threat to the headquarters. The officer who overheard the conversation immediately left the hotel and survived.
The U.S. Navy Evacuated 6,000 Jews from Jaffa in 1914/1915
The book is moving forward, so we cannot publish new pictures and essays at this time.
But, here are two never-before-seen pictures from the book showing Jews boarding and disembarking from the USS Tennessee after their expulsion by the Turks in 1915.
Stay tuned for information on the book's publication.
|Jewish refugees boarding and registering in Jaffa.|
|Jewish refugees disembarking in Alexandria Egypt.|
Jewish Festivals - Shavuot The Book of Ruth Recreated 100 Years Ago This feature is one of our most popular posting
The Long History of Jewish/Israeli Ties with Jordan
Days before Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948, Golda Meir travelled to Jordan disguised as an Arab peasant to meet with King Abdullah to urge him to stay out of the pending Arab attack on the soon-to-be state. (He didn't.)
History books provide glimpses of nearly a century of ties between Hashemite rulers and Jewish leaders, starting with the pre-state of Israel. Dr. Chaim Weizman of the Zionist Organization met with Emir Faisal in January 1919 and signed an agreement of understanding. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) was the interpreter for the meeting, but it is not certain to this day just how much of an "agreement" it was. Nevertheless the acts of meeting and dialogue were monumental.
On September 25, 1973, Abdullah's grandson, King Hussein of Jordan, secretly visited Israel to warn Prime Minister Golda Meir of imminent attacks on Israel by Egypt and Syria. (Tragically, his warnings were not given their due seriousness.)
These two photographs, however, fill in some of the years. The first shows Emir Abdullah's personal bodyguards in 1922 -- armed Jewish Yemenite warriors from the Habani tribe. The three men were brothers -- Sayeed, Salaah, and Saadia Sofer. Notice their traditional side curls (peyot). The men of the Habani tribe were known as tall, muscular and fierce warriors.
Hashemites also used Circassian bodyguards.
In 1932, King Abdullah was again in close relations with the Jewish Yishuv when he inaugurated the major hydro-electric power plant in Naharayim located on the Transjordan side of the Jordan-Yarmuk Rivers confluence. The Jewish project was headed by Pinhas Ruttenberg, the founder of the Palestine Electric Company. The joint project required security cooperation between the two sides to protect the plant and power lines.
More information on the power plant can be found here, The Great and Electrifying Pinchas Ruttenberg.
|Ruttenberg watches Emir Abdullah start the turbines at the Naharayim power plant. (1932, Library of Congress) Is that one of Abdullah's bodyguards watching on the right?|| || |
Passover: Whoever Is Hungry, Come and Partake of this Yemenite Seder
Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals mentioned in the Bible along with Sukkot and Shavuot. Historians and rabbinic literature refer to hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who filled the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem, bringing sacrifices to the Temple.
Today as well, Jews from all over the world and from all over Israel make their pilgrimages to the holy city.
The Temple Institute's depiction of a Passover seder at
the time of the Temple. Note the pascal lamb on the table.
The Library of Congress photographic collection includes a series of photographs of Yemenite residents of Jerusalem celebrating their Passover seder in 1939. Note their low table and compare it to the painting of a Seder during the time of the Temple, taken from the Passover Seder Haggadah of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem.
In 1882, the Christians of the American Colony adopted a wave of Yemenite Jews who arrived in Jerusalem penniless, hungry and sick. The Colony believed the Jews were from the lost tribe of Gad. For decades the American Colony photographers continued to take pictures of the Yemenite community.
|Yemenite Passover Seder: Drinking wine in the Kiddush ceremony. Note the table is covered at that point, |
and all men are leaning to their left as prescribed. (Library of Congress)
|Washing hands during the Seder. Note the children's involvement and wonderment. A major theme of|
the Seder is to teach the children about the Exodus from Egypt.
The Yemenite community has a tradition of a soft matza, similar to Middle East pita or laffa bread, which they bake daily during Passover.
Discussing the local Yemenite matza, an ancient traveler to Tza'ana in Yemen quoted his Yemenite host, "There is no requirement that the matzos be dry and stale because they were baked many days before Pesach. Every day we eat warm, fresh matza. "
The traveler reported, "I enjoyed their special kind of matza -- it was warm, soft and didn't have the usual burnt sections which was present in every matza I had ever eaten until then."
Unfortunately for the 1939 Yemenite family, it appears that the only matza available to them was the square and stale machine-made matza.