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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

THE JEWS A "GOOD HALF" of the JERUSALEM POPULATION in 1850s: dixit Gerardy Santine (in 1860)

Gérardy Santine was a French traveler who lived in Israel -- which he called Judea-- in the 1850s for three years. He reported that the Jews were "a good half" of the Jerusalem population. This appeared in his book Trois ans en Judée [Three Years in Judea], published in 1860 in Paris.

The French original has "une bonne moitié," "a good half." This is defined as "a little more than half" [un peu plus de la moitié] by the important French dictionary, the Robert Méthodique (1982).

In other words, Santine reports a Jewish majority already in the 1850s, as did Karl Marx's sources. We have quoted in an earlier post Marx's report of a Jewish majority in 1854 (New York Daily Tribune, 15 April 1854).

Santine also reports the humiliating social status of the Jews at that time, which induced Jews to conduct themselves obsequiously, without pride or confidence. However, he also reports that local Jews who had obtained citizenship status --or become subjects-- of important foreign powers, shielding them from some of the humiliation inflicted by local Muslims, and sometimes even by local Christians, displayed a much more assertive attitude.
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More excerpts from Santine about the Holy City and the Jews there will be forthcoming.


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