|The welcome arch constructed by Jerusalem's Jews in honor|
of the German Emperor Wilhelm II
|Wilhelm II and Augusta Viktoria|
Preparations were undertaken throughout Turkish-controlled Palestine: roads were paved, waterworks installed, electrical and telegraph lines laid, and sanitation measures -- seen today as basic -- were implemented. The Turks even breached the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate to construct a road for the Emperor's carriages.
|Interior of the arch. Note the curtains hanging.|
The visit was photographed extensively by the American Colony photographers. The popularity of the Emperor's pictures led to the establishment of the Colony's photographic enterprise and eventually the 22,000 pictures that were donated to the Library of Congress.
The Jews of Jerusalem were caught up in the excitement. Some of the Jews with ties to Europe were actually under the Emperor's protection. Others expected to benefit from the Emperor's largesse. And still others wanted the opportunity to recite a rarely said blessing upon seeing a king, according to David Yellin, a Jerusalem intellectual who described the visit in his diary.
|Sephardi Chief Rabbi, |
Yaakov Shaul Elissar
The Jewish community constructed a large and richly adorned welcome arch to receive the Emperor. The arch was located on Jaffa Road (near today's Clal Building) and bore the Hebrew and German title, "Welcome in the name of the Lord."
|Torah crowns and breastplate|
on top of the arch
|Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, |
|Curtain from the Bukhari community|
|Curtain from the |
The curtain lists several names besides Hatzoref. Their names are followed by the Hebrew initials Z'L -- of blessed memory. The fact that Hatzoref's name is not followed by Z'L suggests that the curtain was made prior to his death in 1851.
|Hatzoref's parochet, suggesting it came|
from the Hurva Synagogue
|Photo montage of Herzl|
and the Emperor at
Mikve Yisrael school
Also absent was the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Rabbi Chaim Yosef Zonnenfeld. According to some accounts, Zonnenfeld believed that the German nation was the embodiment of Israel's Bibilical arch-enemy Amalek, and he ruled that no blessing should be recited upon seeing an Amalekite king.
|Ultra-Orthodox Jews in their Sabbath finery, standing along the|
Emperor's parade route
Actually no, this is how they dressed on Shabbat.
Yes, the German Emperor arrived on Saturday, and the Jewish community turned out for him and displayed their synagogue treasures in his honor.
A version of this article appeared in the Jerusalem Post Magazine today.