Thursday, November 19, 2020

July 5, 1922: The U.S. and a Jewish National Home in Palestine

What was the understanding of the United States in 1922 when discussing a treaty with Great Britain that would supervise the rights of American citizens in Palestine?

From a July 5, 1922 exchange of diplomatic consultations:


New York Times Owner/Publisher in Palestine Trip

 It took place in April 1922, Passover time.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

When It Was Suggested Jews Buy Milking Stools

One of the more contentious issues Jews had to contend with at the end of the Ottoman Empire rule in Jerusalem and on into the British Mandate period was whether or not Jews could sit on benches in front of the Wetern Wall.

From Robert W. Nicholson's thesis here:

"...Jews did not own the Western Wall. Legally, it was the absolute property of the Muslim community: the Wall itself was part of the Haram, and the alley was part of an ancient waqf dedicated to North African Muslims. Islamic tradition venerated the site as the place where Muhammad had tethered his Buraq before ascending into heaven. Under the Ottomans, Muslim ownership was rigidly enforced. In 1840, government officials had denied a Jewish request to pave the alley since it was waqf property and connected to the Haram. Jews were forbidden to even raise their voices or display their sacred books before the Wall. In late 1911, the trustee of the waqf appealed to the Ottoman government to stop elderly Jews from bringing benches to the Wall. The concern was that it would establish a precedent that later generations might imply as a sign of ownership. Similar disputes occurred in 1912 and 1914.

These events show that Muslim attempts to restrict Jewish access to the site had been occurring long before the Balfour Declaration...

...For Storrs, the governor of Jerusalem, the Western Wall courtyard would remain a perennial source of anxiety...The most pressing issue involved, of all things, wooden benches. Elderly and infirm Jews who came to the Wall often brought these benches to sit on during long hours of prayer. Muslims alleged that the benches established a precedent for unlawful Jewish rights in the alley. Storrs combed through Ottoman records to determine what rights the Jews actually had been granted. Muslim authorities provided him with several rulings against bringing benches to the Wall. However, it was known that Muslims often entered into practical arrangements allowing Jews to bring these items anyway. Storrs eventually decided that the benches were illegal and that Jews only had a right of way at the Wall. They had the right to visit, but no more than anyone else.

Storrs tried to persuade the Muslims to allow the benches on humanitarian grounds but they refused...

...On September 28, 1925, Jews brought benches to the Wall for the observance of Yom Kippur. Muslims immediately complained to the government, and Storrs ordered police to remove the benches...He...tried to convince the waqf to build stone benches in the courtyard to obviate the need for the Jews to bring portable ones.

It reached the League of Nations Mandates Commission in the summer of 1926. A  solution came from a William Rappard, a Swiss member of the League of Nations Mandates Commission: a milking stool.

What do they look like?

Notice that it has but one leg.

On October 2, 1925, the Histadruth's Davar newspaper demanded the Wall be handed over to Jewish supervision and control:

An article by A.Z. Rabinovitz, also in Davar on October 7, pointed out the perceived legal inconsistencies under the Mandate:

According to the law it is permitted to bring defecating donkeys* near the Wall in front of Jews who pray there. But it is forbidden to bring stools…what a sacred law!

In May 1929, High Commissioner John Chancellor suggested another idea: the selling of special licenses to Jews that would allow them to bring benches to the Wall. That way, Chancellor suggested naively, everyone would win. The Mufti, it need not be emphasized, was not interested in the idea.

On August 23, 1929, the murderous Mufti-instigated riots broke out.

* A reference to an incident during Pesach 1922, when the Wall and pavement were covered in animal dung:


Most Irrational Usage of the Term 'Normalisation'

I spotted this headline:

I think that is a most irrational usage of the term 'normalisation'.

The most normal thing would be for Jews, and, by the way, Christians, to benefit from the normal right of religious freedom of worship, and be able to pray at the Temple Mount. To read from the Bible there.

No Moslem structure need fear demolition or damage. 

No Moslem need fear his/her own freedom of worship will be restricted.

It is normal that persons who have religious sites can worship at them respectfully.

In fact, that is what Moslems want, and campaign for, at Cordoba.

And in Turkey, a church that, in a compromise, had been declared a 'museum', has now been turned into a mosque.

Those actions are not normal.

But, perhaps then, Islam and Islamists are abnormal?


Monday, November 16, 2020

And Yet Another Non-Published Letter to the New York Times

 Sent on November 12:

Robert Malley and Phillip H. Gordon suggest that President Trump’s "proposed peace plan was...drafted without input from the Palestinians" and so, it was "dead on arrival" ("Trump Still Has 70 Days to Wreak Havoc Around the World", Nov. 11). Unfortunately, we are left to wonder why there was no input.

Was it because Palestinian Authority communications systems failed? Perhaps the Trump Administration made demands they considered outrageous, such as to halt funding the acts of terrorists and stop anti-Israel incitement in the schools? Maybe President Mahmoud Abbas refused to make any compromises or even to return to the negotiating table? Could it be that the PA is fearful of Hamas? Does Malley and Gordon actually know why?

Yisrael Medad

Shiloh, Israel


Sunday, November 01, 2020

A 1922 Castration

 I came across this news item from March 28, 1923 about the religious Hebrew poet, Yosef Tzvi Rimon (short bio)

Intrigued, I sought out information. His Hebrew Wikipedia entry includes this

בשנת ה'תרפ"ג (11 באוקטובר 1922) נפצע קשה על גדות הירקון בידי פורעים ערבים. רימון הגלה עצמו מביתו למשך כ-15 שנים ועשה בעיקר בצפת ובגליל. גלותו הייתה קשורה לכך שהפורעים פגעו באזור חלציו וסירסו אותו. לפי ההלכה, פגיעה כזו יכולה להפוך אותו לפצוע דכא וכרות שופכה האסור לבוא בקהל. החל משנת ה'תרצ"ו (1936) התגורר עם משפחתו בתל אביב. יש אומרים ש"ההגנה" נקמה את פציעתו המבישה, ופגעה קשות באלה שפצעוהו.

On October 11, 1922, he was severely wounded on the banks of the Yarkon by Arab rioters. Rimon exiled himself from his home for about 15 years and did so mainly in Safed and the Galilee. His self-imposed exile was connected to the fact that the rioters had castrated him. The Halacha would indicate such an urethral wound could cause him to be considered as one who is forbidden to come in public - "maimed in his privy parts" [Deuteronomy 23:2]. From 1936 he lived with his family in Tel Aviv. Hagana" avenged his shameful injury, severely injuring those who injured him.

Researching further, I managed to find an earlier news item in Haaretz of October 16, 1922:

which informs that Rimon left for Petah Tikva from Jaffa to sell Simchat Torah flags in that moshava during Succot. He returned by foot early on the Wednesday morning, the fourth day of the holiday, and the first wagon leaving Petah Tikva for Tel Aviv came upon him, naked and writhing in pain in the Yarkon River. They extricated him and transferred him to the Jaffa Hospital.

The attackers came from thal-Jammasin encampmentAnd I also succeeded in locating the item upon which the JTA report was based:

More details in Hebrew here which claims that an Arab from Abu Kabir was castrated and murdered in revenge.



I persevered and found in Doar Hayom of October 18th an item on the reaction of the Vaad Leumi:

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Yaakov Tehon met with the High Commissioner and amongst the agenda items was the attack on and the mutilation of Tzvi Rimon as well as an incident involving Frumkin from Degania who was sentenced to six months imprisonment.