Monday, October 13, 2008

Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Police arrest man, woman suspected of operating brothel

Jerusalem Police detectives detained a man and a woman suspected of owning and operating a brothel in central Jerusalem.

A 60-year old man in dire condition, who had apparently suffered a heart attack, was found in the apartment.

That definitely is bad for business.

P.S. Check back later, I will try to "update" the story.


An Update from 1918-1920:

There was nothing new about the phenomenon of prostitution in the Holy City, 6 yet its scope after the British army's entry into the city in December 1917 was exceptional, evoking considerable attention and anxiety. 7 Over 26,000 British
soldiers were stationed in Jerusalem after the city's conquest. 8 The military government's recognition that prostitutes were a vital necessity for the soldiers 9 took the form of regulations on the subject issued by Major General Money, "chief administrator of conquered enemy territory." 10 The content of these regulations, published on June 27, 1918, but made known earlier, were based on the Ottoman penal code. 11 Demarcating the neighborhoods of Nahalat Shiv'ah and the Milner Houses as areas in which brothels were legally permitted to operate in Jerusalem, their primary objective was to guarantee the soldiers' health and good conduct. 12


6. Margalit Shilo, Nesikhah o shevuyah? Hahavayah hanashit shel hayishuv haya shan birushalayim 1840-1914 (Princess or captive? Jewish women in Jerusalem 1840-1914; Haifa University Press, 2001). In a letter in English to the military governor of the city dated July 26, 1918 (Jerusalem City Archives, Box 1412, no. 15), the rabbis of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi religious high courts mention their appeal two years earlier to the Turkish authorities on the subject of prostitution. A letter from Sarah Thon and others to Ya'akov Thon about prostitution in Jerusalem during World War I, received on August 22, 1917, is in the Central Zionist Archives (CZA), S2/745. In Ad Yerushalayyim: Roman mimei milhemet ha'olam harishonah (To Jerusalem: A novel of the First World War; Jerusalem, 1987, book 3: Shemot), Aharon Reuveni recounts the tale of a young girl who turned to prostitution both to make her living and as an act of defiance; see particularly pp. 289-290, 346, and 386. Yigal Schwartz, in his Afterword to Reuveni's text, refers to the book as a "period novel" (ibid., p. 414). I am grateful to Hava Diner for referring me to this source. [End Page 79]

7. . David Biale, Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America (Berkeley, Ca., 1992), p. 163, cites statistics published in 1906 by the Bureau of Jewish Statistics in Berlin according to which in 1897 there were 44 Jewish prostitutes to every 100,000 people in Russia. The number of Jewish streetwalkers exceeded that of any other ethnic group.

8. Brian Gardner, Allenby (London 1965), pp. 160-161; Tom Segev, Yemei hakalaniyot: Eretz yisrael bitkufat hamandat (Palestine under the British Mandate; Jerusalem, 1999), p. 51.

9. On the importance attributed to prostitution in promoting soldiers' health and morale and discouraging them from raping local women see Laura Hein, "Savage Irony: The Imaginative Power of the 'Military Comfort Women' in the 1990s," Gender and History, 11/2 (1999); Chunghee Sarah Soe, "Uncovering the Truth About the 'Comfort Women,'" Women's Studies International Forum, 21/4 (1998). See also E.M. Sigsworth and T.J. Wyke, "A Study of Victorian Prostitution and Venereal Disease," in: Martha Vicinus, Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age (Bloomington, Ind., 1973), p. 90; and see the manuscript version of the memoirs of Helen Bentwich, CZA, A255/470,p. 22.

10. These regulations were published a number of times. See the proclamation issued by General Money on November 14, 1918, in Proclamations, Ordinances and Notices issued by O.E.T.A. (South), August 1919 (Cairo 1920), pp. 39-40; and Hadashot meha'aretz (News from Israel), No. 5, August 1, 1918. Also quoted by B.Z. Kedar, Mabat ve'od mabat al Eretz Yisrael: Tatzlumei avir mimei milhemet ha'olam harishonah mul tatzlumim benei zemaneinu (Looking twice at the Land of Israel: Aerial photographs of 1917-18 and 1987-91; Jerusalem, 1992), p. 145.

11. Letter of May 1, 1925, by Herbert Samuel to Sir Maugras, Herbert Samuel Archive, Israel State Archives, P/12/649.

12. Sir Wingate's telegram of March 15, 1918, to the Foreign Ministry reports on the soldiers' proper conduct in Jerusalem. Israel State Archives, FO 371, microfilm 628.

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