Ben Gurion’s arrival in Palestine was equally without ceremony. He was young, alone and without responsibility except to his own ideals. In 1906 the ‘port of Jerusalem’, Jaffa, had about fifty thousand inhabitants — thirty thousand Moslems, ten thousand Christians and ten thousand Jews. Apart from its exports and imports, the town was also the centre of the tourist trade, of proselytising societies and benevolent institutions. A German sect, the Templars, who believed it their task to regenerate Christendom from the Promised Land, had set up colonies, including Sarona, in the neighbourhood of Jaffa. An English hospital, an American orphanage, a Franciscan convent, an Italian school, a Jewish hospital, the Sh’arei Zion, and a Jewish secondary school satisfied some of the needs of a cosmopolitan community, living either in poverty or on the charity of the pious. In other respects, Jaffa with its minarets was a typical provincial city of the Ottoman Empire, neglected and run down, its limited amenities provided by foreigners. The hotels were owned by Germans — ‘bargaining necessary’, Baedeker warns.
KeywordsBurning Migration Europe Syria Explosive
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