Thursday, December 09, 2021

  • Thursday, December 09, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
I just found this description of Jerusalem written in 1909 that described an incident earlier that year. 

The author was Frederic J. Haskin, who was a prominent journalist and author, well known for a newspaper feature where people would ask him questions and he and his staff would find the answers.

I find it hard to believe this story is true, but if it is, it is remarkable. (Notice the antisemitism alongside the sympathy for Jews.)

From the Salt Lake Herald-Republican, December 26, 1909:

Within the year since last Christmas the light of freedom has broken upon this distressed Holy Land and for the first time in all the centuries its people have known the spirit of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. 

For eighteen centuries it has been death for a Jew to enter the court yard of the Church the Holy Sepulchre. For twelve hundred years no Jew has stood upon the site of the Temple of Solomon. Blood-thirsty Christians, forgetting the words of the Master upon the cross, have murdered Jews who so much as dared to approach the grave of Jesus. Cruel believers upon Mohammed have cut the throats of pious Jews who sought to lift up their voices in prayer 'upon the hill where Melchesidek and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David and Solomon, Hesekiah and the Maccabees. invoked the succor of Jehovah. Treacherous and vindictive Jews, suffering under the persecutions of centuries, have dealt death to their enemies of other creeds. ever since Jesus died on the cross of Calvary has Jerusalem and all this Holy Land been drenched with blood shed by murderers who slew their victims in the name of religion. 

Then came this year 1909 of the Christian era, 5669 of the Jewish era and 1327 of the Mohammedan era, and the light of liberty for the first time broke through the clouds of religious intolerance and illumined the churches and synagogues and mosques of the city of Jerusalem. It was the Young Turks' revolution. 

The despotic Sultan Abdul Hamid was overthrown, and the constitution became a realty in benighted Turkey, of which Palestine is a part. What a great celebration it was in Jerusalem! Young men of every creed united in the demonstration of joy. Christians, arm in arm with Jews and Mohammedans, went boldly into the holiest of all 'holy Christian churches, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and gave thanks for their new found liberty. Mohammedans took with them Jews and Christians to the platform of the temple, surrounding the Mosque of Omar, and gave vent to their joyous feelings. Jews took Christians and Turkish political allies into the sacred precincts of their synagogues. Every difference of faith was forgotten In the common joy. 

Of course this religious union lasted only for a day and now the old lines are drawn again, but they are not as taut as they used to be, and never again will they mean death to the trespasser. Turkey is free and the Holy Land is delivered from the curse of despotism. 
I cannot find any record of this in Jewish media of 1909. I cannot believe that the Muslims of Jerusalem, whose opposition to Jews visiting the Temple Mount were based on their own antisemitism, would have changed their policies even for a day without being instructed to. 

But there might be some grain of truth in this story, as Haskin was a legitimate journalist. 








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