Friday, December 30, 2011

Jewish Industries in Palestine 75 Years Ago -- Part 1

Inspecting polished diamonds (1939)  View the factory here
Well before the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish life in Eretz Yisrael was well established.  The "Old Yishuv," consisting primarily of Orthodox Jews, had been living in Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron, Tiberias, Jaffa and even Gaza for centuries.

After 1880, the "New Yishuv," often supported by overseas philanthropists, purchased properties throughout Palestine and established agricultural settlements and industries.  The photographers from the American Colony recorded dozens of pictures of these enterprises.

Tnuva cheese processing. Another
picture here. (1939)
The economic development of the Yishuv is described by Mark A Tessler in his book, A History of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (Indiana University Press, 1994).  The following is an excerpt:

The number of agricultural communities and workers grew rapidly.... There were 82 agricultural settlements by 1936.  In the same year, there were about 32,000 Jews employed in agriculture, in contrast to fewer than 4,000 in 1921. 
Textile factory (1939).  Textile
dyeing here
A similar pattern of growth took place in the industrial sector.  By 1936 there were 5,602 manufacturing establishments in the Yishuv, about 90 percent of which were small-scale handicraft operations.  The number of industrial workers rose from fewer than 5,000 in 1921 to almost 29,000 in 1936, and the value of industrial output reached $42 million in the latter year.  Most of the products of the Yishuv's industries were consumer goods and construction materials, both of which were sold on the domestic market.....
Furniture making. Another picture

Beverage and bottling
A good overall indication of the Yishuv's expanding economic base during this period is the rapid acceleration that occurred in the consumption of electricity.  The output of the Palestine Electric Company, whose largest shareholder was the Jewish Agency and whose principle consumer was the Yishuv, grew from 2 to 65 million kilowatt hours between 1926 and 1936.  Industry and irrigation each consumed about one-third of this total. 

It should also be noted that the economy of the Yishuv was almost completely independent of the Arab economic sector.  The monetary value of inputs from the Arab economy was only about 3 percent of all inputs....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yemenite Jews: The American Colony Photographers' Favorite Portrait Subjects

"Arab Jew from Yemen" circa 1900
The 1880s saw the arrival of two immigrant groups in Jerusalem: The members of the American Colony, a group of American Christian utopians who first settled in the Old City, and a group of Yemenite Jews who were forced to settle in the Shiloach (Silwan) village outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City when they were not warmly received by the Jewish residents of the city. 
"Rabbi Shlomo" circa 1936
More pictures of the rabbi
can be viewed here

"The village of Siloan" 1901. The man is
a Jew from Habani according to experts
on the Yemenite Jewish community
As we wrote in an earlier posting, the most famous Jewish Yemenite migration to the Land of Israel took place in 1949 and 1950 when almost 50,000 Jews were airlifted to Israel in "Operation On Eagles Wings -- על כנפי נשרים" also known as "Operation Magic Carpet."
Yemenite family probably from
Sanaa, according to experts
The earlier Yemenite migration took place 70 years earlier in 1881-1882 when a group of Jews of Yemen arrived by foot to Jerusalem.  They belonged to no "Zionist movement." They returned out of an age-old religious fervor to return to Zion.

Yehia, on the Sukkot festival

The new immigrants settled on Jewish-owned property in the Shiloach village outside of the Old City walls of Jerusalem.
And the Christian photographers of the American Colony clearly loved to photograph them.  Around 1900 they photographed a Yemenite Jew (without identifying him in the caption) standing above the Shiloach.  In 1899 they photographed another Yemenite (also unidentified) near the Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim projects. 

Other American Colony photos included Yemenite family portraits and portraits of two Yemenite rabbis, Avram and Shlomo.
Yemenite man announcing
the Sabbath with shofar

Rabbi Avram 1935
Yemenite scribe Shlomo Washadi, 1935

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Arab Revolt in Palestine 1938. Escalation by the Arabs and the British

Aftermath of Hebron attack on Barclay's Bank and British
armored car, August 1938. The driver was killed
The American Colony photo collection possesses an amazing visual record of the violent events in Palestine in 1938.  The photographers traveled the width and breadth of Palestine to record the results of many of the Arab attacks against British institutions, Jewish communities, and strategic targets such as the rail system. 
Arson of lumber yard in Jerusalem's
German Colony, August 1938
The photographs also record one aspect of the British military's reaction -- the widespread destruction of homes in the urban hotbeds of the Arab revolt. 

The Galilee was one of the hottest areas in the conflict -- a war in all its aspects.  Here are examples of reports filed by the British Mandatory office in their 1938 annual report just for the Jenin area: 
Remains of Bethlehem police barracks
and post office after attack. Click here
to view arrival of British troops
Tiberias synagogue after 1938 attack
Terrorist barricade on main road
 between Nablus and Jenin, July 1938

On March 3rd, there was a heavy engagement west of Jenin in which a military force, with aircraft co-operation, engaged and dispersed an armed band of between two and three hundred Arabs. One British officer was killed and an officer and two soldiers wounded. The losses among the band were thirty known to be killed and were estimated at twice that number. Sixteen prisoners were taken and a considerable quantity of arms, ammunition and bombs.

Jenin debris after demolition operation
More pictures can be viewed here
On August 24th Mr. Moffat, the acting Assistant District Commissioner in Jenin, was fatally wounded by an Arab assassin who penetrated to his office. In this case the murderer was almost immediately apprehended by troops and, in an ensuing attempt to escape, was shot dead.

"On October 2nd there occurred a general raid on the Jewish quarter of Tiberias. It was systematically organized and savagely executed. Of the 19 Jews killed, including women and children, all save four were stabbed to death."

The Special Night Squads led by the legendary British officer Orde Wingate were deployed during this period.

Troops of the Irish Guard "on the outskirts of Nablus leaving to
fight the gangs on hills." July 1938
Following the assassination of the Mandate's assistant district commissioner in Jenin, many of Jenin's homes were blown up -- according to some accounts one-quarter of the town.  The American Colony photographers recorded the widespread ruins.

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Click on the photos to enlarge.

Click on the captions to see the originals.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The British Army Responds to the Arab Revolt, 1936

British army's "urban renewal" in Jaffa, near the shore, 1936
The widespread Arab attacks in Palestine in 1936 threatened British rule.  British and Jewish institutions were attacked, travelers on the roads were held up and killed, land mines derailed locomotives, and snipers killed Jewish civilians and British officers.   
Families searching through rubble of a
house destroyed in Lydda (Lod), 1936,
after a derailment and an attack on the
nearby airport

A tally of the hostilities and political activities in Palestine in 1936 can be found in the British Mandate's annual report for 1936. 
Arab houses blown up in Halhul
Within days the British Mandate authorities imposed emergency regulations that permitted detention without charges for up to a year, censorship, the right of entry into homes, widespread confiscation of property and goods, and capital punishment. 

"Cutting a new road" through Jaffa
 Army reinforcements were rushed to Palestine. Travel along the roads of Palestine was conducted in convoys with armed escorts.  Roaming Arab gangs and militias were engaged by the British army, and the Royal Air Force took to the air to strafe and bomb the terrorists.

In Jaffa, the British demolition crews cut wide swaths through the Arab neighborhoods of Jaffa.  More than 200 homes were destroyed in Jaffa. 

Homes were destroyed in Halhul and Lydda (Lod) in response to terror attacks in the area. 

Royal Air Force pilot and machine gunner
Skies over Jaffa after dynamiting
"slum sections"
In the six months of Arab attacks and British "police action"  in 1936, some 80 Jews, 37 British soldiers and policemen, and as many as 1,000 Arabs were killed. 

British buglers warn of another blast in
Jaffa, 1936

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Arab Revolt in Palestine 1936 - 1939
and the Brutal British Response

Two destroyed cars owned by Jews, 1936
 The Arab revolt in Palestine (1936-1939) was a frequent subject for the American Colony photographers.  They recorded on film the Arab attacks on Jews, British soldiers, and strategic targets such as the railroad network in Palestine.  They also photographed the sometimes draconian British response.
Jews evacuating Jaffa, 1936. Click here
to see Jews evacuating Jerusalem's
Old City

Fawzi al-Kauwakji salutes his volunteers
 as they cross into Palestine. (Listen
 The Arab general strike in April 1936 was called by the Arab Higher Committee, headed by the Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini. The strike escalated into widespread attacks by gangs and militias. 

By August, "volunteer" Arab guerrilla forces from Syria had invaded.  The annual British Mandate report for 1936 revealed that one of the guerrilla leaders "was Fawzi ed Din el Kauwakji, a Syrian who had achieved notoriety in Syria in the Druze revolt of 1925-26. This person subsequently proclaimed himself generalissimo of the rebel forces, and 'communiqués' and 'proclamations' purporting to have emanated from him were circulated in the country." [The photo of Kauwakji is the only photo not from the Library of Congress collection.]
Derailed train, 1936. Click here to
see more pictures of the Arab war
against the rail system

The consequences of the Arab revolt, labor strikes and attacks
were numerous: 
  • The British instituted the White Paper in 1939 limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine -- precisely when hundreds of thousands of Jews were trying to flee Nazi Europe.
  • It forced the Jews of Palestine to establish their own militias, the precursors of the Israel Defense Forces. 
  • The revolt actually fractured Palestine's Arab society, and many of the Arab casualties were caused by competing Arab gangs and clans.
Jewish lumberyard in Jaffa burned down
  • With strategic facilities subject to the Arab strike, the Jews of Palestine established their own port, key industries, and airfields.
    "Palestinian disturbances 1936, Fire in
    the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem"
  • The British struck back against the Arab militias and gangs with force and sometimes brutality.  Aircraft were used to bomb and strafe Arab forces.

Today's feature shows examples of the Arab attacks in 1936

Tomorrow's posting will include the British response, including widescale destruction of Arab homes. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Extraordinary Photos of Everyday Life in Jerusalem
75 Years Ago

Yemenite fruit vendor in Jerusalem
The American Colony photographers clearly enjoyed taking portraits of Jerusalem's citizens, particularly the poor, new immigrant and ultra-Orthodox Jews of Mea Shearim, the Old City, and the Bukharin Quarter. 

Bukharan Jewish washwoman

We present a gallery of the Library of Congress photos taken in the 1930s.

Click on photos to enlarge. Click on the caption to see the original.
Jewish milkman in Jerusalem
"Jewish scribe"

"Young Jewish jeweler using the
blow pipe"
Money Changer. The signs behind him say "room for rent, store
for rent, and apartment for rent." The name of the money
changer appears on the sign: Leib Goldberger, along with "Geld
Wexler" -- money changer in Yiddish. [thanks to readers who
caught our earlier mistake on the translation!]

Fruit store in Mea Shearim

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank You!
Israel Daily Picture's 200,000th Visitor Just Arrived

The young women of Nahalal's "Girls' Agricultural Training School" thank you for not letting them be forgotten.  These pictures were taken approximately 90 years ago.

And thank you for visiting Israel Daily Picture.  Please encourage your friends to subscribe.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Is the Israeli Philharmonic Performing at the Tel Aviv Port this Week?
Because They're Both Celebrating 75th Birthdays

The new Tel Aviv port breakwater
The renovated Tel Aviv Port is a beautiful location for a romantic dinner or a stroll along the boardwalk.  But as the site for a series of classical concerts by the world-renowned Israel Philharmonic Orchestra?  With performances  with singer Ahinoam Nini and famous cantors? 
Arturo Toscanini visiting the Dead Sea resort. Pictures of the
first concert are not in the Library of Congress collection
Yes, the Port and the IPO will be celebrating together their 75th birthdays. 

Both were created because of the adversity Jews faced in Palestine and in Europe.

The Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 shut down the Jaffa Port, and the Jewish population of Palestine, centered around Tel Aviv, required a port.

 Meanwhile, as anti-Jewish sentiments and laws were endangering the Jews of Europe, Jewish musicians found themselves out of work. Seventy-five instrumentalists were recruited and immigrated to Palestine to form the new orchestra.  The Symphony's first concert was conducted by the world-famous Arturo Toscanini in Tel Aviv on Dec. 26, 1936.

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!

Ferry brings passengers from a larger
ship to the Tel Aviv port

Driving piles during Tel Aviv
port construction

Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog dedicating the
new port of Tel Aviv