Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The famous British pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) was a sincere philosemite and a Zionist who proposed a scheme not dissimilar to Theodor Herzl’s, and around the same time. For years he lived and worked in the Holy Land, where he delighted in using the faces of Jewish residents in his canvasses of Biblical figures and scenes. In a letter dated 5 June 1876, published in the Manchester Examiner and reproduced in certain other newspapers – including the Manchester Times of 24 June 1876, which is where I found it, and, with some passages omitted, the York Herald, 257 June 1876 – he described the panic that had set in on the day following news of the deposition in Constantinople on 30 May of Sultan Abdülaziz of Turkey (who died in suspicious circumstances four days later).

“It was … the Moslem Sabbath,” wrote Hunt of the day after the news reached Ottoman Palestine. “I was working quietly in my courtyard, enjoying the more than casual stillness, when my wife came in with a man who mysteriously insisted upon seeing me.” It turned out that the visitor was a Christian from Bethlehem and that his sister was one of the Hunt household’s servants. Clearly agitated, the man explained that all the Christians in Jerusalem feared for their safety, and “had all taken refuge in the convents or barricaded themselves in the houses in fear of an immediate massacre; that the convents were already unapproachable; that the city gates were shut; and that the Russian buildings – my last hope [of sanctuary] – were thronged and fastened up, besides being only attainable by traversing a road which, at any moment, might be beset by the [Moslem] fanatics”. For his sister’s sake, and for the Hunts’, the man had hastened “to advise us to do all we could for our defence”.

For various unstated reasons, fleeing to Jaffa was not an option. “Our only course was to barricade the house, which I did by bringing in all the winter firewood, and piling it up against the door, and by blocking up the windows with beds, &c. In the meantime, we had sent out a native servant for intelligence from a family at a long distance. The reply was not encouraging. When I had done all to barricade the house, there were three things to do – to go down to the town to ascertain the actual state of things, to get some money to keep in my pocket for any emergency, and, if possible, to get to my house in town to obtain a large supply of powder there, and the materials for making cartridges, and with these a good supply of native costumes for disguise if necessary.”

Hunt continued:

“I left my house [his rural one] in charge of the tutor, my model for the morning, my wife and little boy and nurse, and the Bethlehem woman, taking with me the native servant, with saddle-bags over his shoulders. We went along with eyes searching for every fact. It was evident that the authorities were doing all they could to establish quiet and confidence. The [Turkish] soldiers, in large bodies, were marching about with a show of good discipline … Inside the town, I was met by people who told me that, for the time, danger had passed. Some were inclined to pooh-pooh the original panic, saying that it had arisen from a misunderstanding of the motive of the general in command in serving out a double and treble supply of cartridges. Others, however, brought proofs that threats of a very distinct kind had been uttered by Moslems against certain Christians, telling them they should soon see what would become of them and their co-religionists … The [European] consuls had been to the Pasha, [who] had apparently satisfied them that the strictest vigilance would be exercised.

The scene in the morning had been a most extraordinary one; the whole population, not the
Christians only, but the Jews and even the Mahomedans, were throwing down the things they had in hand – butchers their meat, bakers their bread, grocers their supplies, and even milkmen and women their jars, and running for their lives. The matter was a mystery at best; but there was a lull in the excitement and I had to profit by it. I got my silver from the banker, and then went to my [Jerusalem] house. I met many Moslem acquaintances, who ordinarily are quite garrulous in their salutations: but this morning they either turned their heads aside altogether, or were most shy in their manner of greeting. At the cafés and other loitering places, the Effendi [the educated elite and officials], dressed in their best green robes and turbans, eyed me apparently with mingled vexation and astonishment … At the door of my house there is a café. All the habitués turned away.’

When Hunt emerged from the empty house – “I had half expected to find a Moslem servant of mine there, for I had given him leave from my [other] residence to go to the mosque to say his prayers, and he had not returned” – having filled two sacks with belongings, he found himself “watched again as if with prejudice, but no one interfered.”

Since that day, the Hunt household, despite “so many assurances had been given of our perfect safety, “ had remained on their guard, especially at night, “for after all the declarations that there was no ground for alarm, we have it proved that on the Friday there was a large army of fellaheen, numbered variously at 1,000 and 5,000, who marched up to the gates of the city which was the occasion of the shutting of the gates – and that these fellaheen before disbanding came to some resolutions (the nature of which is unknown) for future action. For the few following days it seemed possible that we might see the people of Hebron, who are great fanatics, march here. We are told to watch the progress of affairs next Friday, but if that day passes off quietly we shall return very much to only our ordinary degree of caution. However, I shall certainly not leave my gunpowder and cartridges so far away. Those who are most brave now were during the panic most in alarm.”

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz




follow me

Follow by Email


Elder: elder -at- elderofziyon dot com
Mrs. Elder: mrs.elder -at- elderofziyon.com



For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi News nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart Petra MB poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive