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As Behind the Lines in France and Flanders

September 20, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The general atmosphere here is reminiscent of 1914 behind the line in the cities of France and Flanders, with the school buildings crowded with refugees from the danger areas and the hospitals filled with the wounded. Relief workers have been mobilized and are efficiently coping with the situation. Small parties of prisoners are dribbling in under heavy escort. Above all the same indomitable spirit is evident, without a trace of panic among the Jews. The terror of the first days has been replaced by unshaken determination to continue the upbuilding of the national homeland.

The wartime impression is heightened by the roar of fast pursuit planes and slow bombers of the Royal Air Force flying over the city periodically, drowning out the incredible cacophony of the bazaar. There is a heavy sprinkling of khaki and blue jackets in the cafes and public places. Soldiers as of old are haunting the souvenir shops. Motorcycled despatch riders dash up the streets in a raucous blast. Official beflagged staff cars and infantry detachments are constantly patrolling and moving out to relieve the posts in the country districts, bayonetted sentinels are guarding the approaches to the Holy Places, the Wall, the Mosque and the Sepulchre Basilica.

Proclamations are plastered over walls and shops as in the French towns during the great drive.

For three weeks the angelus ringing has been the curfew signal. Now it is changed to nine o’clock. After this hour the city is dead as a tomb, except for the metallic beat of the sentries pacing to and fro. At sunrise, Jerusalem awakens, with the weird inter-medley of the muezzin’s chant and bugles blowing the reveille, to its normal, spectacular activity. Most of the Jewish shops in the Old City have been reopened, although the boycott of Arab shops is complete. A tour through the bazaar at five o’clock this afternoon revealed Arab fruit stalls piled high, which were formerly sold out at the noon hour. The mournful, dispirited faces of the merchants are eloquent testimony that they are hard hit.

A large number of pilgrims and tourists from Europe and America go about as if nothing had happened. Daily more are arriving. The women go about unescorted.

The refugees in cramped corrals have adapted themselves to conditions by enforcing a discipline of matchless cleanliness, systematic ration distribution, sanitation and medical organization. The Yemenite Jews from Kfar Ha’shiloah and Jews from other villages near Jerusalem refuse to return to their homes unless they are guaranteed safety by their Arab fellow citizens. A venerable rabbi declared that the Arabs in his village are being reproached for not having done their murderous duty as the Jews fled before being attacked. In the Sephardic Talmudic school nearly 200 refugees are quartered. In the courtyard infants are wailing, sick, old women are huddled in the corners, scanty belongings are heaped in small piles, yet a notice is posted in Hebrew stating: “The extraordinary circumstances do not interfere with the Talmudic classes.” Through the confusion of tongues and misery comes the monotonous mumble of the rhythmically swaying, praying Jews.

The refugee congestion is evidenced by the following figures: Alliance Girls School, 103 in 230 square meters; 500 in Boys School on 10 Osquare metres; Lemuel school, 190 to 639 metres; Spitza, 86 to 180 meters; Hasolel building 133 to 230 metres; Hurvah Synagogue 225 to 200 metres and a score of other concentration camps as equally cramped. The official allowance of the British army is six square meters per person.

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