|U.S. Navy receipt for emergency aid supplies destined for the Jews of Palestine from the Joint |
Distribution Committee 100 years ago, February 21, 1916. According to the JDC file,
the supplies included matzot for Passover. (JDC Archives)
At the start of the war, Jewish men were forcibly conscripted into the Turkish Army, a devastating locust plague ravaged the land in 1915, Turkish troops were looting supplies in preparation for their attack on the Suez Canal, charitable funds from European Jewish communities for the Jews of Palestine were cut off, and plans were being drawn up by the Turks to expel the Jews from the land. The United States Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, warned American Jewish leaders of the danger to the Jews of the Holy Land and appealed to them for funds.
|The forced conscription and looting of Jerusalem homes. (1914, Ottoman Imperial Archives)|
More information and photographs on this historic episode will appear in the forthcoming book, American Interests in the Holy Land, Revealed in Early Photographs by Lenny Ben-David.