Every day that passes Israel begins to get back to a more normal way of life.:
Vered Peer photographerArchive
שלושה אנשי דת מוסלמים, ברקע נמל
שלושה אנשי דת דרוזים, חיפה
התצלום נרשם על ידי מר סיני אלכסנדרוביץ'. הרשומות הוסבו באופן אוטומטי ללא הגהה.
נסרק מהתשליל המקורי שברשות מר סיני אלכסנדרוביץ', תל אביב.
סדרה 2: צילומי חיפה והכרמל
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Vered Peer photographerArchive
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One of the highlights of the British campaign to take the Land of Israel was more of a symbolic victory than a military triumph – the conquest of Jerusalem. The rapid advance of the British Army through the Sinai, into Gaza, and then to the outskirts of Jerusalem showed the Ottoman Empire that the military situation was all but lost. Ottoman forces in the city received an order from the high command: total withdrawal from Jerusalem was to be carried out on the 9th of December, 1917. As Turkish troops retreated from the city in droves, Mayor Hussein al-Husayni organized an official surrender mission. The mayor passed through the city’s American Colony on foot, searching for a photographer to document the historic event. When the mayor came across the Colony photographer, Lewis Larsson, he called out to him, “I’m going to hand the city over to the English, bring the camera!” On the way, they stopped at the Italian hospital, removed a white sheet from one of the beds, and tied it to a broomstick. The white flag of surrender was prepared! Now that everything was ready for a traditional ceremony of surrender, the only question left was – who should they actually surrender to? Around five o’clock in the morning, the mayor’s delegation happened upon two British cooks. These men had been sent to procure eggs from a village outside of Jerusalem the previous evening, and had lost their way back to the British encampment. The mayor and his companions hastened to surrender to the two flabbergasted sergeants and presented to them, as representatives of the mighty British army, the official decree and white flag of surrender. This unusual situation became all the more strange when the two sergeants came to their senses and refused to accept the surrender. They asked the dignitaries to postpone the affair for a few hours and to join them while they went to look for their commander. Jerusalem’s surrender to its new imperial overlords was put on hold. As the cooks made their way to the camp, two more sergeants from a British scout patrol suddenly appeared, armed with rifles and demanding, at gunpoint, that the members of the delegation identify themselves. The mayor kept his cool and tried, for the second time, to surrender to two minor representatives of the great British military. The sergeants refused the delegation once again, demanding that they wait until their commander arrived. However, being proper English gentlemen, they did agree to have their picture taken with the city’s honorable dignitaries. The mayor’s delegation with the two scouts who refused to accept their surrender, from the Library of Congress archives Several hours later, a Colonel Watson arrived and was presented to the mayor and his party. Watson considered himself to be of sufficient rank and status, and he agreed to accept the dignitary’s letter of surrender. At the end of the hurried ceremony, the colonel turned to the photographer and asked him, “Where can I have a cup of tea?” From there, the group continued to Shaare Zedek Hospital to celebrate the city’s surrender over tea and biscuits. The next day Larsson the photographer brought the pictures of Watson’s formal ceremony to Major General John Shea’s headquarters. Recognizing the importance of the historical occasion, Larson asked the general about the proper way to transfer the photographs to London. “What pictures?” the general asked in incredulity. “Are you referring to the photographs from the ceremony in which I read the manifesto on the steps of the Tower of David?” When General Shea heard about the events of the previous day from the photographer who had documented them, he was furious at Colonel Watson, who had accepted the surrender of the city on behalf of General Edmund Allenby. He ordered the photographer to destroy the pictures of Watson’s “unofficial” ceremony. He insisted that the “real ceremony of surrender” was the one that had taken place on the steps of the Tower of David. Two days after Mayor al-Husayni’s surrender, the commander of the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force, the officer now in charge of the entire region, arrived in Jerusalem. At the entrance to Jaffa Gate, General Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby descended from his horse and entered the city on foot, lest he be seen as a patronizing and cruel conqueror, looking down at the inhabitants from atop his steed. General Allenby near the Jaffa Gate, the general would dismount his horse and enter the city on foot. Photo: Eric Matson, GPO Allenby abruptly nullified all previous surrender ceremonies and demanded that a third (or fourth, depending on how one counts) surrender ceremony be organized. Mayor al-Husayni was not present at this final ceremony on the pretext that he had contracted pneumonia on the day of the long surrender, two days prior. General Allenby accompanied by officers from the armies of three nations (the United States, France, and Italy) entered Jerusalem via the Jaffa Gate. Photo: The National Library collections Thus, in the absence of the mayor, the official ceremony of surrender was held in the city of Jerusalem. It was attended by General Allenby, leaders of the city’s various communities, and several thousand residents who came to see their new rulers. A few weeks later, Mayor Hussein al-Husayni died of pneumonia. The ceremony of Jerusalem’s surrender to General Allenby. Photo: The National Library collections The quotations above are taken from the article – The Battle over the Photographs of Surrender by Dov Gavish, published in the book Jerusalem 5678, 1917/8: Destruction, Miracle and Redemption (Hebrew) ‘הקרב על תצלומי הכניעה מאת דב גביש, ‘ירושלים תרע”ח, 1917/8: חורבן נס וגאולה If you liked this article, try these: A Glimpse of 19th Century Jerusalem The Man Who Would Be King: Delusions of (Royal) Grandeur in Mandatory Palestine View These Rare Photos Taken Right After the Liberation of Jerusalem!To the article on our blog
For thousands of years, unicorns have intrigued the human soul. Generations of writers have described a large beast with a single horn, its features varying from one account to the next. Great myths were attributed to it and are still a part of today’s popular culture. Unicorns didn’t always appear as we imagine them today – a white horse bearing a large horn. At times it resembled more the image of a goat, donkey or even a combination of different animals, sometimes there were no horses involved at all. Depictions of unicorns come from all over the world; Chinese figurines can be found, for example, in the shape of single-horned dragons. Stories about unicorns were told everywhere, though somehow, the beasts were always said to come from a far away place. Could it be that the myth of the unicorn originally emerged here, in Israel? That is one assumption. Ancient descriptions point to locations such as the Indus Valley in India; others claim that the beast’s depictions are based on the African rhinoceros or Narwhals from the Arctic Ocean. In addition, a common theory ties the stories of unicorns to an animal whose natural habitat is the Negev desert in Southern Israel, its name appearing for the first time in the Bible – the re’em. We know it today as the oryx. A white oryx (re’em) in the Arava region. Photo: Doron Nissim, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority The re’em/oryx, is a type of large antelope; there are several different species of oryx living around Africa and the Middle East. The kind found in Israel and the surrounding Arab countries is the white oryx, or the Arabian oryx, its coat mostly white, with two long, straight horns on its head. Wait a minute – two horns? Here we are, discussing an elusive, mysterious creature whose name clearly suggests a single, majestic horn, and now you tell me we’re dealing with a plain old antelope? Bear with us for a moment please… It may be that the confusion surrounding the re’em and its identification with the unicorn first appeared due to a translation issue: Ancient translations of the Bible into Greek (the Septuagint) and Latin (the Vulgate) interpreted the Hebrew word re’em as ‘unicorn’ (monoceros/unicornis). The re’em is mentioned in many verses in the Bible; it was associated with virtues of strength and power; it is also one of the symbols of the Tribe of Ephraim. Some Hebrew sources, however, have suggested that the Tahash mentioned in the Bible, often translated as “badger”, was in fact the unicorn we have in mind. An illustration of a unicorn in the 14th century Duke of Sussex Bible, held in the British Library Yet it could be that the link between the re’em and the mythical unicorn is based on actual sightings. The Holy Land was always a desired destination for pilgrims and tourists who came to walk the paths traveled by Jesus of Nazareth. Some of the travelers, among them various monks and artists, described their arduous journeys in vivid detail, including accounts of the region’s geography, as well as its flora and fauna. Some of these accounts, primarily from the early modern period, contain depictions, occasionally illustrated, of a mysterious unicorn. An illustration of a unicorn, Gershom Bar Eliezer Pentateuch, 14th century. The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford For example, in one of the first books (as opposed to manuscripts) containing an account of a journey to the Holy Land, composed by the German traveler Bernhard von Breydenbach, we find an illustration of various animals he spotted during his travels. The book was written between 1484-1486. Von Breydenbach traveled from Venice to Jaffa, making his way to Jerusalem before later heading south to the Sinai desert. The illustration shows a number of exotic animals including a camel, a crocodile, a goat, a salamander and – a unicorn. Von Breydenbach wrote that he got a brief glimpse of one in Sinai. Could this have been the re’em, whose natural habitat is the Negev and the surrounding desert areas? An illustration from Bernard von Breydenbach’s book, 15th century. The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection at the National Library of Israel Felix Fabri, a Dominican friar who traveled to the Land of Israel around the same time, also left a detailed description of a unicorn. Fabri’s sighting also occurred in the Sinai desert, with the friar describing a noble animal, with an energy like no other, its horn over one meter long. He quoted locals who told him it was nearly impossible to hunt the unicorn, though he noted that earlier writers expressed the belief that the wild beast could be tamed by the hand of a virgin. During the 16th century, the Franciscan friar Noe Bianco made his own pilgrimage and, naturally, wrote a travel journal describing his journey. He too retraced the pilgrims’ path mentioned above, beginning in Venice before traveling to Jerusalem and then Mount Sinai. In his book we find an engraving similar to the one in Von Breydenbach’s book, depicting exotic animals spotted along the way. The engraving features an illustration of a baboon next to a unicorn, which in this case resembles a large goat. An image from Noe Bianco’s book, Viaggio da Venetia al Santo Sepolcro, et al monte Sina, 16th century What might explain these sightings? According to one theory, the re’em‘s long, straight horns may appear as a single horn if the animal is viewed from the side. A viewer who is only able to get a quick glimpse from such an angle might mistake the oryx for a large horse with a single horn. Nonetheless, the locals who hunted the beast were clearly aware it possessed two horns. Therefore, another theory suggests that the stories are based on re’ems who lost one of their horns at some point, as these protrusions never grow back. What, then, were the unicorns that appeared in the records of travelers to the Land Israel? Were they indeed the large, noble re’ems, who nonchalantly chewed the leaves of desert shrubs as they stared at the excited onlookers? Did the travelers truly encounter mythical horses who surrendered to the touch of a young virgin? Or are these all figments of imagination and campfire legends? We will probably never know. Luckily, we can still search for unicorns today: If you wish to relive the experiences of these early European pilgrims, make your way south to the Arava desert; there you will find, at the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, approximately 200 oryxes who have been reintroduced to nature as part of a local reacclimation project. We prefer to call them ‘unicorns’ If you liked this article, try these: The True Story Behind Harry Potter, Abraham the Jew and the Philosopher’s Stone No Children Allowed: Introducing Lilith, the Jewish Vampire Queen Harry Houdini: The Skeptical Son of a Rabbi To the article on our blog
The Reines collection includes 88 manuscripts that were entrusted to the National Library of Israel in memory of Rabbanit Elka Cyperstein. The collection allows public access, for the first time, to the unpublished writings of Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines (1839-1915). Rabbi Reines was a brilliant scholar with wide ranging interests and impacts. He is known as one of the first rabbis to give wholehearted support to the Zionist movement and founded the Mizrachi movement, an international religious Zionist organization that functioned within the larger secular Zionist organization. Rabbi Reines also founded and stood at the head of a yeshiva which combined traditional intense Talmud study with secular studies and with a broader Jewish studies curriculum including Jewish history and literature. The eleven books that Rabbi Reines published during his lifetime were only a tiny fraction of his writings that existed only in manuscript form. After his passing, Rabbi Reines's son published one more book of his, and prepared a large number of his manuscripts for publication. However, the publisher did not print the manuscripts as promised, and they remained hidden from public view and largely forgotten for decades. Recently descendants of Rabbi Reines learned of the existence of the manuscripts, purchased them, and donated them to the National Library of Israel, where they were digitized and are now available online to all readers. The manuscripts span a wide range of topics, including Talmud and Jewish law, Aggadah, Zionism, and philosophy and Jewish thought.More on this subject