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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Greek Monk's Account of the 1834 Arab Uprising - Part Three

Continuing the monk NeoPhytos' account of the 1834 Arab-Muslim uprising and pogroms in the Land of Israel.

The rebels won some victories over Ibrahim Pasha, son and general of Muhammad Ali of Egypt. One such battle took place near Beth Lehem:

"It was a bloody scene; the Pasha was defeated and in sorrow he returned that evening to Jerusalem, leaving dead on the field. . . Eight hundred [Egyptian] soldiers had been killed or taken prisoners, while the number of fellaheen killed was unknown.

"The fellaheen despoiled the dead, and took the prisoners with flags and musical instruments to Hebron where they imprisoned them. They were delighted and encouraged by their success . . ." [p 54, source data in previous post]

"Meanwhile, the fellaheen of Nablus [Sh'khem] and other districts made some daring movements on the plains around Ramleh and Lydda [Lod], where they looted all the houses. The fellaheen also laid siege to Jaffa and Ptolemais [Akko in Hebrew, Acre in English] and captured Tiberias and Safed. They robbed the Jews, who lived in these towns, of immense property, as is reported, for there was no one to offer any opposition." [p 55]

Note that
1) they despoiled the dead, that is, the corpses of fellow Muslims. Despoiling the dead was also reported of Arab irregular troops and militiamen in Israel's War of Independence, when, furthermore, dead bodies were often mutilated. This report shows that despoiling the dead is a trait of these people and has nothing to do with whatever the Jews may have done or are alleged to have done to the local Arabs.
2) they robbed the Jews in Tiberias and Safed, two of the Jewish holy cities, besides Jerusalem and Hebron [Tiberias had a Jewish majority at that time, according to Spyridon who translated the manuscript]. NeoPhytos explains the robbing of Jews in that "there was no one to offer any opposition." Thus, the Jews were vulnerable and known to be vulnerable. Hence, they were easy game for thugs, bandits, or whatever name you would like to apply to the Arab rebels.
Again, the Jews had no army of their own in their own homeland, nor was any great power interested in defending the Jews at that time, although in 1840, several powers supported the Jews verbally in the Damascus Affair.
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Coming soon: The war of 1834 in Hebron and pogroms against Jews there.


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