Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Khalidi Clan Member Aids Synagogue Construction

The main sociological feature of the Arabs of the former Palestine Mandate is clans:

Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is characterized by three types of clan-like familial structures: tribes, clans, and notable families... A clan, or hamula (plural: hama’il), will consist of at least several extended families (a’ila) claiming a shared ancestry, and linked through the father’s male line. Each extended family will generally include male first and second cousins, the women they marry, and the children of that union. Female children who marry outside of the hamula (and their children) then belong to the other hamula. Their nasab, or “relationship in law”, will bind them to a new hamula...

...The third clan-like grouping in Palestine in the urban elite notable family, a social formation typical throughout the Arab lands of the Ottoman Empire. Many of the most well known and prominent Palestinian families come from this notable, or a’yan, social class: Husayni, Nashashibi, Dajani, Abd al-Hadi, Tuqan, Nabulsi, Khoury, Tamimi, Khatib, Ja’bari, Masri, Kan’an, Shaq’a, Barghouthi, Shawwa, Rayyes, and others. These are extended families that dominated Palestinian politics until the 1980s, and are still relatively prominent today...

One of those clans is the al-Khalidi. Husain Khalidi was a mayor of Jerusalem just like his forefather:

In 1899, the mayor of Jerusalem, Yusuf Dia al-Khalidi, wrote to Zadok Kahn, the chief rabbi of France, saying that the Zionist idea was in theory “natural, fine, and just. . . . Who can challenge the rights of the Jews to Palestine? Good lord, historically it is really your country.” But, like other Palestinian notables, he opposed Jewish immigration, because the land was inhabited and resistance would inevitably follow. “In the name of God, let Palestine be left in peace,” Khalidi wrote. Rabbi Kahn passed the letter on to Herzl, who blithely wrote to Khalidi to reassure him that the Zionists, with their wealth, their skills, and their education, would build an economy to benefit both Arab and Jew.

Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia Professor, has

a reported friendship between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Khalidi's family when Khalidi taught at the University of Chicago. Articles by Aaron Klein and John Bachelor, writers respectively for World Net Daily and Human Events, were referenced by rival political campaigns and reprinted in wider-circulation media.[16][18][19][17]

Khalidi's relationship to Obama has come under increasing interest due to the U.S. Presidential race of 2008.[20] Obama made one of the presentations in praise of Khalidi at a 2003 farewell dinner on the occasion of Khalidi leaving the Chicago Area.[20] The dinner was a celebration of the Chicago area Palestinian community. Obama's remarks alluded to the numerous dinners that he had at the home of the Khalidis.[20]

16 Wallsten, Peter (April 10, 2008). "Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama". CAMPAIGN '08. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-04-11.
17 Ari Berman (2008-03-14). ""The Smear Machine grinds on"", Opinion, CBS. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
18 Aaron Klein (2008-02-27). "Obama Served On Board That Funded Pro-Palestinian Group". Opinion. Jewish Press. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
19 Batchelor, John (February 25, 2008). "The Obama Files". Human Events. Retrieved on 2008-03-12.
20 Peter Wallsten, Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2008

What has all this to do with a synagogue?

Read on here:

A group of rabbis, politicians, philanthropists and right-wing activists gathered Sunday in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City to celebrate the reopening of a synagogue located about 100 meters from the Temple Mount.

"We are here today to mark the return of a Jewish presence to this house of prayer," said Rabbi Shmuel Rabbinovitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites. "Any claims leveled at us by Muslim leaders that we are trying to take control of the Temple Mount are downright lies. According to Jewish law, it is forbidden to go up on the Temple Mount because we are all ritually impure," he went on. "We must not allow the incidents in Acre to influence this joyous occasion. This synagogue is place of prayer and peace."

...The Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue - which was abandoned in 1938 by a group of haredi Jews calling themselves Shomrei Hachomot (Guardians of the Walls), in the wake of waves of Arab violence - is closer than any other Jewish house of prayer to the Temple Mount, according to Rabbinovitz.

...According to Ateret Kohanim, an organization that facilitates the purchasing of land in the Jerusalem area, the courtyard was purchased by the Hungarian Jewish community from the Muslim Khaladi family. Rabbi Yitzhak Ratsdorfer, a Belz Hassid and diamond merchant, financed the building of the synagogue.

...Arab violence that began in 1921 and reached a peak in 1938 resulted in the abandonment of Ohel Yitzhak. Members relocated to Mea She'arim, and the building was rented to Arabs until the 1948 War of Independence. During the 19 years of Jordanian rule that ended in 1967 with the Six Day War, the synagogue was almost totally destroyed. After Israel took control over the Old City, a book store was opened up on the ground floor of the synagogue, the only part of the building left intact.

...In addition to funding the building of the synagogue, the Moskowitz family also funded an extensive archeological dig that uncovered, among other things, a huge Second Temple-era staircase that led to the Holy of Holies.

Isn't that sweet revenge?


Suzanne Pomeranz said...

On the Street of the Chain in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, near the turn to the Kotel, is the Khalidi Family Library...

It was once the burial place of Barka Khan, commander of a ferocious Tartar tribe which got as far south as Gaza in 1244; he died in 1246, in battle, but only because he was drunk... His head was taken to Aleppo. His daughter married Sultar Baybars and one of her brothers built the tomb in Jerusalem for their father sometime between 1264 & 1280. After 1280, the vaulted structures were added, then blocked up in 1390 and the windows were added. In 1900, the Khalidi Family turned the tomb area into the reading room of their family library which boasts something like 12,000+ books and manuscripts there.

Just a little more info on the Khalidi Family in Jerusalem.

YMedad said...

thanks for this and your many other historical contributions to our knowledge

Yaakov Kirschen said...

wonderful posting
and lovely addition by suzanne
hag sameah to us all
yaakov kirschen
dry bones
Israel's political comic strip since 1973

YMedad said...

Well, now, thank yee, Yaakov. Keep up with the cartooning. Or is that caricaturing?