.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Greek Monk's Account of the 1834 Arab Uprising and Pogroms - Part Four

In July 1834, Ibrahim Pasha was back on the way to Hebron after having earlier suffered a defeat at Solomon's Pools which is between Hebron and Jerusalem. On 24 July, Ibrahim Pasha

"began the siege of the town [Hebron] from all sides. The townspeople and fellaheen [the rebels] fought bravely . . . but they suffered severely from the artillery fire and the soldiers.

"The Pasha . . . told his soldiers not to spare anybody who was over twelve years of age. There followed wholesale slaughter for three hours. Nobody escaped, except a few who got through unknown cellars, and some who were, for the moment, hidden. It was reported to the Pasha that inside the Mosque, where are the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, there was a great crowd of old men, women and little children, who claimed asylum under the roof of the prophets. The pasha for the sake of his name, Abraham or Ibrahim, gave orders that they should not be molested, which order was much against the wish of the soldiers, for most of the people of Hebron were accustomed to go to Egypt as merchants. The people of Hebron make much money out of the pilgrims to whom they sell glass and bracelets. Thousands of talara [Maria Theresa thalers, Austrian silver coins comparable to the dollar] were to be found in their houses, and some of the soldiers had so many that they were unable to carry them and so were forced to exchange them for florins (gold) of half their value. The looting continued for twenty-four hours. The Pasha bought all the copper utensils from the soldiers for little or next to nothing, and placed them all in a big house.
"Not finding any buyers for the heavier articles of furniture, the soldiers burnt them, and then, out of hatred for the Hebronites, they raped their wives and daughters.
"The same fate befell the few Jewish families there [who had not taken part in the rebellion], and five girls, who were still minors, died under the bestial licentiousness of the Egyptian soldiers. Six hundred and thirty young men under forty years of age were sent to Jaffa and thence by sea to Egypt to serve in the army there."

One of the main motives of the uprising was to stop the drafting of young Muslims for service in Muhammad Ali's army. However, in the end, he got his way and Ibrahim Pasha took 630 young men for military service back to Egypt.
Even though the Jews had not rebelled nor taken part in the uprising, they too were persecuted by the Egyptian troops as described, after having earlier been persecuted by the rebels. This account can compared with that which John Lloyd Stephens heard from the Jews in Hebron when he stayed with them two years later.


Post a Comment

<< Home