High Holidays Create Uneasiness in Jerusalem
Menu JTA Search

High Holidays Create Uneasiness in Jerusalem

Download PDF for this date

The army of idlers, bakshish artists and parasite coffee-house gossips are mainly responsible for the existing jumpy and nervous atmosphere in the city. These fellows are bound to launch, once a day at least, rumors of a disquieting nature which gather grotesque, startling dimensions like a rolling snowball. The false alarms generally take the form of warnings that a Bedouin army is marching on the city or that the village Arabs are massing outside the walls of Jerusalem for an attack. The same applies to Jaffa, where the unfounded flying report of a pitched battle approaching, on Wednesday caused a near panic, the shops closing rapidly, merchants and the bazaar crowds, including women, scuttling for cover, bringing business to a complete standstill within a few minutes. To this was added the immediate appearance of an open signal for alarm in low-flying observation planes roaring above the thoroughfares of the port district, firing spasmodic, chain-rattle machine-gun salvos into the air, either for practice or as a warning to the large congregations in the streets to disperse.

When such news reaches Jerusalem, the coffeehouse gossips get busy, exerting their amazing inventive genius, distorting the events out of all proportion to their real importance. Special efforts like these were apparent on Thursday to prepare the population for grave happenings on Friday, which is the Jewish New Year, usually drawing large crowds of worshippers to the Wailing Wall. The fact that this year the holiday falls on Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath and therefore occasions an influx of thousands of outside Moslems for prayer at the Mosque of Omar, is foreshadowed as extremely grave. The strengthening of the police patrols was pointed to as indicating that the government is aware of the serious portents and the significance of this was magnified beyond recognition.

The rumor mongers are playing the game of the fanatical religious leaders who are anxious to impress the government and public opinion that the Arabs are at the end of their patience. They realize that world opinion unanimously condemns the recent savagery, accusing them of instigation of the troubles for their own ends to maintain their hold on the Arab peasantry. They are now aware that retribution is coming, as their attempts to intimidate the Jews have completely failed. They are feverishly stirring up trouble in order to convey the impression that the anti-Jewish movement is of national scope. If they fail this time, they will be completely discredited.

The opinion is growing in all sections of the population, Jewish, Arab and English, that the only means of extricating the country from the economic deadlock is energetic administrative action. Dictatorial leadership is promptly required, as a prolongation of the present unsettled condition holds a grave danger for the future. All classes are anxious to resume their peaceful pursuits, not the least being the Arab merchants, who are seriously concerned over the falling off of their profits and prospects of a further decline in commerce.

The postponement of the arrival of the Commission of Inquiry acted detrimentally, as obviously lengthening the present time-marking period, which is due to the general belief that normalcy will not return until the inquiry is behind.

Reliable information reports hectic scenes in the Mufti’s palatial offices, as Arab merchant delegations and real estate dealers demanded cessation of the incitements, as failure is a foregone conclusion and they are hard enough hit already. On Thursday Bedouin sheiks had a violent altercation with the Mufti when they came to demand that he share out portions of the £2,000,000, fund the Mufti is rumored to have received from Syrian and Indian Moslems as a reward for his faithful defense of the Holy Places, attacked by the Jews,” and for alleviation of the distress in the villages raided by the British troops for recovery of the loot. A Hebron sheik called the Mufti a “false red beard” who dissipates his people’s money for banquets and festivities. The Bedouins assumed a threatening attitude, but finally withdrew after the situation grew alarming and a large concourse of Moslems gathered in the gardens of the Mosque of Omar, when the Mufti handed out £50 each to four sheiks. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, he will be surrounded by a bodyguard of stalwarts henceforth.

Life in the Jewish colonies is almost normal. Except for the presence of khaki patrols, there is no outward indication that anything unusual had occurred.

The sentiments of the Jewish community, which is not interested in political manoeuvering but is solely concerned with the work on hand, industry and agriculture, severely condemn the Zionist leadership for ten years’ simulation of satisfaction with Great Britain’s methods in carrying out the Mandate. Britain, it is felt, has been given credit before the world for non-extant cooperation. The difficulty of suddenly reversing world opinion is realized. While Palestine Jews recognize that the leadership professed satisfaction in the hope that Great Britain was honor-bound to respond to the trust of its given word, they insist the time has come for unequivocal declaration of her future intentions for the real facilitation of the establishment of the national home, else it is inevitable (Continued on Page 4)

Pinchus Ruttenberg’s election to the Vaad Leumi, National Council of Palestine Jews, strengthened confidence to the extent that Haifa Jews decided on the immediate consolidation of the existing settlements on Mount Carmel, road building will be commenced, linking the scattered Jewish houses, fifty new concrete dwellings are going up to fill the gaps, as the events taught the danger of isolation. The ultimate existing settlements on Mount Carmel; as an imposing answer of the Jewish people to the 1929 threat.

The eyes of Palestine Jewry are on America as MacDonald nears its shores, where he is scheduled to meet a delegation of eminent American Jews to discuss the Palestine situation.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund