Historic Caricatures of Haganah Prisoners in British Custody

On the morning of October 5th, 1939, 43 members of a Haganah officer’s training course found themselves in handcuffs and being led by the British army to Acre prison; This is the album that tells their story

Putting aside the introduction and the assortment of press clippings, one might think that the album of the “Haganah 43” (the Haganah was the largest Jewish paramilitary organization in Mandatory Palestine between 1920 and 1948) was just another soldier’s yearbook filled with stories of their heroic deeds, funny caricatures, and photographs of smiling young men – the kind of military service that might be the envy of many.

“In the early dawn hours of October 5th, 1939, catastrophe struck during a secret military exercise in the Lower Galilee: Without warning, we were surrounded, stripped of our weapons and escorted to Acre prison where the gates shut with a bang behind us. It was a very different, not to mention much longer and much more tormenting ending than originally planned to officer’s training course No. 2…”

The introduction to the album, apparently written by Moshe Carmel

The detention coincided with the end of the collaboration between the British military and the Haganah during the Arab uprisings of 1936–1939, after which the British forces once again considered the Haganah one of a number of underground movements in the country that needed to be suppressed. The 43 detainees were taking part in a commander’s course at Yavniel, which was disguised as an innocent “Hapoel” physical training course. Many considered the severity of the sentence as the embodiment of the Mandatory regime’s malicious caprice—42 of the detainees were sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Avshalom Tao, who had pointed his weapon at the British, was sentenced to life.

They were taken first to Acre Prison and from there to Mizra Detention Camp. The detainees, who often referred to themselves as prisoners, testified that the sentencing was carried out “by a swift military tribunal which had the air of a rubber-stamp procedure”. Even worse than the conditions of their detention was the timing of the  Mandatory government’s decision to “impose years-long sentences on the 43 young Jewish defense officers,” one month into World War II, “when the Jewish community was summoned to mobilize  all its forces against Nazism, which was rising up to enslave the world and destroy our people.”

It was all true; everything was serious and urgent. And yet, it’s hard not to take note of the atmosphere of brotherhood, and dare we say, frivolity and humor that characterizes the album – once you get past the somber introduction. Let’s take a look.

The Haganah album in the Library’s collection was given as a memento to Major General Yohanan Ratner, a leader of the Haganah and an architect in civilian life. It opens with a  “memorial” page of sorts showing three detainees (from right to left) – Yaakov Gordon, Mordechai Plutchnik and Shlomo Ben Yehuda – who had fallen during their service in the Haganah, following their release from Acre Prison.

“In Memoriam to the members who fell in the fulfillment of their duties after the release”

On the next page, we find the course commanders (who were imprisoned with their cadets) – their names are not noted on the page. With the help of Omri Shabtai, we were able to identify the prisoner on the far right who appears above the caption “Supervisor” (the English word transliterated into Hebrew letters – סופרויזר). This was the prisoners’ representative in dealing with the prison’s staff. He would go on the serve as the IDF’s fourth Chief of Staff, as well as Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Defense – the “Supervisor” was none other than Moshe Dayan, then just 24 years old.

Above and to the left of Dayan, dribbling a soccer ball, is Moshe Zelitsky (Carmel), who would go on to command the IDF’s Carmeli Brigade during Israel’s War of Independence, capturing Acre and the prison which had held him, among other exploits. To the left of Carmel is Raphael Lev, who commanded the officer’s course which had been interrupted by the arrest of the 43. Lev was a former battalion commander in the Austrian army and had also been active in the Republikanischer Schutzbund paramilitary organization.

On the bottom-left is “The Mukhtar” – Yaakov Salomon – who was the Haganah prisoners’ representative to the Arab prisoners being held at the facility.

“The commanders” – Moshe Dayan, the “Supervisor”, is on the far right

The picture below appears to show three of the prisoners “In Full Costume”, as the Hebrew caption suggests, wearing ponchos and mischievous smirks while brandishing buckets and a broom. The exact significance of the episode remains unclear, however.

“In Full Costume”

One page of the album is dedicated to the Jerusalemite prisoners, while others are devoted to those hailing from the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Below is the kibbutznik page, which includes portraits of prisoners answering to such nicknames as: “Ulcer” (top right); “The Ballerina and the Hummus” (bottom-center); “Bunny” (bottom-left); and the “Preacher” of the group (top left).

“The Kibbutzniks”

 

The captions below the sketches read, from right to left, “Bad,Bad, Bad!”, “Who knows?” and “Oy vavoy!”. The photo on the left features Moshe Dayan on the right, as well as an unclear caption – ואפטימזס

Without an expert to help guide us through the album, many of the cryptic quotes and phrases remain unsolved puzzles: for example, on the next-to-last page, who are “The Captain and the Snakes”?

“The Captain and the Snakes”

At the end of the album is a press clipping reporting the joyous news: “The 43 are Being Released Today,” after almost a year and a half of pressure from Jewish leaders on the Mandatory authorities.

The 43 were freed on February 17th, 1941. According to the article: “From yesterday morning, small cars and busses filled with the prisoners’ families, friends and acquaintances flowed into the central bay near Acre. The kibbutz was designated as the greeting point, where they dined at noon.”

“The 43 Are Being Released Today”

Four months after their release, former detainee Moshe Dayan would find himself with an elite Palmach force in Syria, alongside British forces, in an operation in which he would lose his left eye.

 

Do you know the context of the drawings in the album? Can you provide us with more information? Feel free to write in the comments below or contact: Chen.malul@nli.org.il

 

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The Rebel Woman Who Fell in the Battle of Tel Hai

When asked to help the residents of Kfar Giladi, Devorah Drechler did not hesitate. When instructed to move on to Tel Hai she went gladly—and there she met her death

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Portrait of Devorah Drechler from the Schwadron Collection, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

Everyone knows how it ended. Today, children in Israeli elementary schools are taught about the iconic Battle of Tel Hai which took place on the 11th of Adar, in the Hebrew year 5680 (March 1st, 1920). They are told of how the settlers held their ground in the famous courtyard of Tel Hai, despite all the hardships. How the dispute over the borderline between the British Mandate in the Land of Israel and the French Mandatory territories in Syria and Lebanon had turned the upper Galilee into a wild, no-man’s land. How the conflict between the French and the troops loyal to the deposed king of Syria created a particularly tense situation in the region. How armed Bedouins surrounded the courtyard of the Tel Hai settlement, demanding to search it for French soldiers. How the Bedouins eventually found a woman holding a gun and tried to take it from her, and how a riot broke out when she refused, marking the start of the great battle.

That woman was Devorah Drechler.

Drechler was born in the Ukraine in 1896. Though hers was the only Jewish family in her village, they nevertheless maintained Jewish traditions and were sympathetic to the “Hibbat Zion” Zionist movement in Russia. In 1913, Devorah arrived in the Land of Israel, to join her sister, Chaya, who had immigrated several years before and married Eliezer Kroll, a member of Hashomer (“The Guard”), the Jewish defense organization. Because of her sister and brother-in-law’s connections, Devorah also joined a group of Hashomer members who settled that year in the northern community of Tel Adash, known today as Tel Adashim.

Drechler quickly integrated into the group.  It was in this setting that she found a sense of purpose and satisfaction, a fulfillment of her dreams and ideas. Like most of the (very few) women in the group, she was assigned jobs that were considered “women’s work”. This entailed cooking, cleaning and laundering, while the men undertook the agricultural work, and in the case of Hashomer — security duty. The pioneers of the Second Aliyah (Zionist immigration wave) were certainly conservative in matters of gender and the local farmers, who had arrived earlier, were also reluctant to allow women to undertake these positions. Nevertheless, Hashomer women were usually capable of riding horses and firing weapons. These were important skills for women left on their own, at home, while their husbands and the rest of the men traveled to other settlements for work or guard duty.

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A group of Shomrim (Hashomer guards) at Mesha (Kfar Tavor). At the center is the leader of Hashomer, Israel Shochat. From the Postcards Collection, the National Library of Israel

Drechler and the other young women were dissatisfied with the exclusion of women from matters of security, from secret committee meetings, and by virtue of that from full membership in Hashomer. The protest led to the decision to divide the organization’s women into two groups: active female members, who would have full and equal rights including voting rights in the organization’s meetings, and passive female members who, while being members, could not vote in the meetings or for the council. In the first group were the wives of the organization’s founders, such as Manya Shochat and Rachel Yanait, both of them women of high stature regardless, who had been part of the group for many years. The second group consisted of women who had married male members as well as single women, such as Devorah Drechler.

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Zipporah Zaid, among Hashomer’s leaders, demonstrating her horse riding abilities

That was still not good enough. Drechler was one of the women who subsequently led the “women’s revolt” in the Hashomer organization. Ahead of the group’s annual meeting scheduled for the end of 1918, Devorah and two other women published a letter addressed to all members in which they announced that they would not be able to continue working unless their demands for equal and full rights were met. “And as we have been members in daily manual labor for years, so shall we be members in every aspect. There can be no meeting held without us, no secrets hidden from us. And if the male members do not have enough confidence in us for this, they must say so openly. Then we will know where we stand, and we will seek other ways to complete the work that brings us closer to our goal, which is the same as yours.”  At the meeting that followed, it was finally decided to accept all women as equal members in the organization, a decision that remained in effect until the final dissolving of Hashomer about a year and a half later. Although only two meetings were held after that meeting until the organization’s dissolution, researcher Dr. Smadar Sinai says it was still a considerable achievement for the young female members, among them Devorah Drechler.

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Devorah Drechler, from Kovetz Hashomer, Labor Archive Publishers, 1937/8

The struggle for equal rights during those years was not just the concern of the women of Hashomer and Tel Adash. In the settlements and kibbutzim set up at that time, women fought for their right to take part in the “prestigious” agricultural work in the fields, and we mention here as well, the struggle of Miriam Bratz, “The First Mother” of Kibbutz Degania, whose story will be told in due course.

Devorah did not shy away from difficult tasks, as can be seen in her struggle for equality in her organization. During World War I, despite the fear imposed by the Turkish regime, she made daily visits to Hashomer’s prisoners in Nazareth, bringing them food and information. She also did not hesitate when the group sent her as reinforcement to Kfar Giladi, or from there to help defend the Tel Hai settlement: “On the front you go where they send you, no questions asked,” she was quoted as saying by fellow member Pinhas Schneerson, who assumed command of Tel Hai after the fatal wounding of Joseph Trumpeldor.

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Portrait of Sarah Chizik, the second woman killed in the battle of Tel Hai, from the Schwadron Collection, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

This was how Drechler came to be at Tel Hai and how she found herself assigned to a defensive position on the top floor of the courtyard’s main building. The fact that she carried a gun at such a tense and critical moment is indicative of her ability to use it if needed and the level of trust her friends placed in her. In that top floor room with Drechler was another woman — Sarah Chizik. According to the story, their bodies were found in an embrace, alongside the three other members of the group who were killed in the room. Both were exemplars of women who fought for their rights and did their part, whether toiling under the hard sun or fighting on the battlefield.

 

 

Thank you to Dr. Smadar Sinai for her assistance in the preparation of this article.

 

 

Further reading:

“Women and Gender in ‘Hashomer’: The First Defence. Organization in Eretz-Israel 1907–1939”, (Hebrew) Smadar Sinai, Ramat Gan, 2013

“The Book of Hashomer: The Words of Members”, (Hebrew), Dvir Press. 1957

 

Israeli and Egyptian Soldiers in a 1948 Group Photo: The Story Behind a Picture

How an Israeli soldier risked his life to retrieve the bodies of fallen comrades from behind enemy lines, and the incredible photos that captured an unlikely encounter

Yaakov Yaniv in the center of the picture taken during the encounter between the Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

The story of Operation Yekev (“Winery” in Hebrew) begins in October 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence; when an entire brigade comprising three battalions – the Beit Horon Battalion, the Moriah Battalion, and the 64th Battalion – was sent on a mission to conquer the town of Beit Jala, which lies south of Jerusalem and north-west of Bethlehem. The commander of the operation was Moshe Dayan.

The Beit Horon Battalion managed to get past the railway tracks, which served as the separation line between Israeli and Egyptian positions (near what is known today as Ein Yael and Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo). The 64th Battalion launched an attack on the village of al-Walaja. Our story’s hero, Yaakov Yaniv (Novak), was a squad sergeant in this battalion. He was 20 years old at the time and had arrived from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to serve in the Haganah only a few months earlier. The 64th Battalion did not engage in battle in this case, but the force was exposed to friendly fire by a mortar unit. Fortunately, none of the battalion’s soldiers were hurt. The Moriah Battalion launched its own attack during the night but was unsuccessful in crossing the railway tracks and advancing towards the hill occupied by the Egyptians. A single Bren machine gun persistently shot at Moriah’s vanguard unit, preventing its advance. Operation Yekev was a harrowing military failure.

Late at night, the brigade’s three battalions were given the order to retreat. Six soldiers from the Beit Horon Battalion were killed in action. The battalion’s soldiers managed to retrieve four of the bodies, but two remained in the field.

 

The Bodies

A month and a half later, on December 3rd, 1948, Yaakov Yaniv and his men were manning a position on Malcha Hill overlooking the railway line below, and observing the nearby Egyptian force. Today, the homes of Jerusalem’s Malcha neighborhood fill the entire area that was then a bare hilltop adjacent to an Arab village.

A few Egyptian soldiers suddenly stepped out of their post and shouted to Yaniv and his men: “We have two bodies. If you want, come and take them.” Yaakov Yaniv heard this and was stunned. He and a few of his men headed down the hill and reached the British Mandate railway which ran from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where the Egyptians waited for them. They agreed that Yaniv and a few of his men would go to the Egyptian post to retrieve the bodies while two Egyptian soldiers would remain at the bottom of the hill, in the custody of the other Israelis who would watch them until Yaniv and his men returned safely.

 

The Recovery

Yaakov Yaniv crossed the railroad and made his way to the Egyptian outpost on the mountain in front of him, carrying only his Kodak camera. A grove of trees covered the route up the mountain. Yaniv walked through the trees as one of the Egyptian soldiers followed him closely; he was a tall, thin soldier of Sudanese origin, armed with a Tommy gun. Yaniv would later learn that this was the machine gunner who had thwarted the Moriah Battalion’s attack. They proceeded to the Egyptian position known as “The White Trench”, an old Turkish fortification from the First World War, built as a defense against British attacks.

Who were the Egyptians who barricaded themselves there in 1948? These were units affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood organization. How did they get there? The Egyptian army had invaded Israel earlier in the year, heading for Tel Aviv, but they were stopped at Ashdod on the southern coast. From there some units headed east towards the Judean Mountains, eventually making their way to Jerusalem; the Muslim Brotherhood unit was among these.

 

Yaakov Yaniv in the center of the photo taken during the encounter between the Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

When he arrived at the trench, Yaakov Yaniv met the commander of the Egyptian force and was surprised to learn that he was in fact a local Palestinian Arab from the nearby village of Beit Safafa. They spoke in English and eventually, the Palestinian commander told him, “You can take the bodies,” gesturing toward the human forms sprawled on the ground a few dozen feet from where they stood. The sight of the completely exposed corpses was disturbing, but after taking a closer look Yaniv realized they had not been abused but were in dire condition as a result of the time that had passed since the soldiers were killed.

Yaniv sent for blankets and stretchers to carry the fallen soldiers’ bodies over to the Israeli side. Meanwhile, the Palestinian commander offered him a cup of tea, and they sat down to drink together. The commander told Yaniv he had led the force that attacked the Mekor Chaim neighborhood from Beit Safafa a few months earlier. Surprised, Yaniv told him that his commander, Danieli, a Palmach member who was born in Mekor Chaim, led the force that protected the neighborhood against the attacks.

Sitting in the Egyptian post, Yaniv was not afraid. He was treated decently, he said. After all, they had offered him tea, and  they were happy to drink along with him. Some might call it a miracle or perhaps just a moment of absurdity in the midst of the terrible battles of the War of Independence.

As they sat and drank, soldiers gathered around them, and when the stretcher and blankets arrived, the Palestinian commander stood up and said, “I’ll help you carry the stretcher.” He walked over and grabbed one end of the stretcher with both hands. Yaniv held it from the other end and together they walked down the hill towards the railroad. The second stretcher was carried down by other soldiers.

 

The Pictures

When they arrived at the waiting point with the bodies of the fallen soldiers, men from Yaniv’s unit had already arrived to receive the bodies. This was when Yaniv took out his Kodak camera, bought with his first salary when working at the Central Post Office on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv before the war. The moment was captured for posterity as soldiers from both armies posed for the photograph, enemies at war who were briefly partners in an operation to bring the bodies of IDF soldiers to burial in Israel – an operation in which all participants put their lives at risk.

After his return, Danieli, Yaakov Yaniv’s commander, confiscated the camera film and threatened Yaniv with a court martial. Danieli considered the operation initiated by his subordinate a grave violation of military procedure– though it had ended peacefully, Yaniv’s life and possibly the lives of his comrades had been endangered. Yaniv took on the operation alone, without asking anyone’s permission. Certainly, had he asked for it, he would never have been permitted to carry out such an operation in an Egyptian outpost in the middle of a war. To Yaniv’s surprise, the film was returned to him a few days later, and the court martial never materialized.

Right to left: The Egyptian force commander, Yaniv (the camera strap on his shoulder) and the Sudanese machine gunner. Sitting: A Haganah soldier, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

The Pardon

Years later, Yaniv asked Commander Danieli why he had not been put on trial at the time, and Danieli replied that the day after the incident, Moshe Dayan, the regional commander, arrived in the sector. Danieli told Dayan what happened, and the latter replied with a typical dismissive gesture and instructed Danieli to let the matter go. It seemed that to Dayan, Yaakov Yaniv’s heroic act outweighed the offense. When the film was returned to him, Yaniv hid it and had the pictures developed as soon as he could. He kept them with him ever since. One day, he received a phone call from military historian Dr. Nir Mann, who heard of Yaniv while conducting historical research on Operation Yekev. When they met, Mann saw the photos and suggested that Yaniv donate them to the National Library of Israel due to their great historical value.

 

The Fallen Soldiers

Many years had passed, but Yaakov Yaniv could not stop thinking about the soldiers whose bodies he brought to burial in Israel. He wished to know who they were. He began to investigate and search for answers but encountered many difficulties as he was not from the same battalion as the fallen and had very little information about them. He contacted the Department of Families and Commemoration at the Ministry of Defense and told them his story. The information he received included the names of the soldiers and some documents but it was only partially accurate. According to the ministry’s records, only one body was retrieved that day.

Finally, Yaniv decided to go to the cemetery himself and look for the graves. At the Military Cemetery on Mount Herzl, where the fallen soldiers’ graves are arranged by war and date, he searched for the graves with the names he received. He discovered that one of them was located at the top of the mountain and the other closer to the bottom. Both graves had the same date on them. Yaniv could not understand why two people who were killed in the same place, who served in the same unit and whose bodies were recovered together, by him, were buried in different places. He told the Ministry of Defense about this and asked that they be buried side by side; the Ministry officials promised this would be done.

Finally, Yaniv was able to discover the identities of the two fallen soldiers whose proper burial he had risked his life for: They were both Holocaust survivors who arrived in Israel shortly before being sent to the frontline. Neither had any known relatives anywhere in the world. They were the last survivors of their families.

Since then, every year, on the eve of every Israeli Memorial Day, Yaniv goes to the Military Cemetery on Mount Herzl and places flower wreaths on the two graves.

 

צבי קנר

Zvi Kenner was born in the city of Iasi in Romania. He worked as a carpenter and was waiting to immigrate to Israel when World War II broke out. He survived the war, unlike the rest of his family. In 1948, he arrived in Israel on an illegal immigration ship that was caught; he was detainedin Cyprus for a few months before enlisting in the Israeli army on August 8th, 1948. He was killed on October 20th, 1948 at the age of 21.

 

 

שמואל שימנסקי

Shmuel Szimanski, born in Poland, was a young tailor recruited to the Polish army. He later fought with the Russians, making it all the way to Berlin, receiving honors and medals for his service and courage. Before the war, he was a member of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, and after the war, when he discovered that none of his relatives had survived, he again contacted members of Hashomer Hatzair and joined a kibbutz to which he immigrated on one of the last illegal immigration ships to arrive in Israel. He arrived in Israel in 1948, enlisted in the IDF, and was sent on Operation Yekev to join the battle against the Egyptians, during which he was killed at the age of 29.

 

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Is This What the First Temple Looked Like?

A beautiful book featuring a special dedication from Baron Edmond de Rothschild walks us through the corridors of the Temple in Jerusalem

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In the municipality storeroom of the northern Israeli town of Rosh Pina, a unique book sat undisturbed for years, its ornate illustrations and French text ignored by all. It would still be lying there, had the town’s former archivist, Hanna Chopin, not come across it one day. Once she began leafing through the pages, Chopin instantly knew she had a very special book in her hands.

One copy of the rare book is kept in the Louvre in Paris, another is preserved in the Rothschild family vaults, while yet another can be found here in the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection at the National Library of Israel. Two more copies  can be found in the towns of Rosh Pina and Zichron Ya’akov in Israel.

The rare books were given as gifts to the Jewish settlements of Rosh Pina and Zichron Ya’akov by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in the late 19th century. It is unknown whether there were additional copies donated to other Jewish agricultural settlements established by the Baron. Here we shall tell the story of the copy that is currently in the Rosh Pina archive. The book contains the following dedication: ‘Dedicated to the Rosh Pina colony by Sir Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Paris, September 21st, 1898.’ It is unclear exactly why the gifts were sent or for what occasion. In fact, we know very little at all about these books. We can tell you, however, that after Ms. Chopin found the Rosh Pina copy in its deteriorated state, the book underwent restoration at the National Library laboratory in 2013, with assistance provided by the Prime Minister’s Office. It was later transferred back to the Rosh Pina archive, where it remains to this day.

What is so special about this book that makes it important to restore and preserve? Well first of all, as a general rule, if Baron Rothschild gives you a gift, it’s probably a good idea to keep it in good shape and even display it proudly, just in case he decides to stop by. Secondly, as previously mentioned, this is a unique work, one of only a handful which exist worldwide. Lastly, the book contains vivid illustrations of the most significant architectural structure in Jewish history: The Temple.

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A view from above – the Temple and the Temple Mount, courtesy of the Rosh Pina archive

The book was written by two French scholars: Charles Chipiez and Georges Perrot. Chipiez was an architect and architectural historian and Perrot an archaeologist. They wrote a number of books together which were dedicated to the history of the ancient world: Assyria, Persia, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and of course – Judah and its surroundings. Most of their findings regarding the Jewish Temple – which they saw as an architectural milestone in the history of the world – were published in a book printed in France in 1889, “Le Temple de Jerusalem et la Maison de Bois-Liban”. Rothschild, who took a special interest in Jerusalem and the Temple, discovered the book when it was put on display at an exhibition in Paris, and immediately purchased a number of copies which made their way to the farming colonies in the Land of Israel which were so dear to him.

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Ascent to the Temple, courtesy of the Rosh Pina archive
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Views from different angles, courtesy of the Rosh Pina archive

The highlight of the book is its appendix – large, magnificent illustrations of the Temple and the ‘House of the Forest of Lebanon’ built by King Solomon, according to the First Book of Kings. The first chapter of Chipiez and Perrot’s book describes the history of the Temple, the structures that surrounded it and the local topography. In the second chapter, the authors explain which sources were used to reproduce the appearance of the Temple. The third chapter describes the Temple itself according to verses found in the book of Ezekiel, and the fourth and final chapter describes what the authors believed to be the palace of the kings of Judah (the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon) – according to their own knowledge. The authors also included sketches of architectural elements such as pillars, domes and capitals.

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The House of the Forest of Lebanon, courtesy of the Rosh Pina archive

Dr. Smadar Sinai, a historian and the director of the Rosh Pina Restoration Association, says that Baron Rothschild had a special and understandable interest in Jerusalem and the Temple. According to Dr. Sinai, this stemmed from his traditional Jewish education, as well as from the growing interest in the scientific study of the Bible during the late 19th century. Other evidence suggests that the Baron sought to build a “hall” on the ruins of the Temple and even obtained plans from architects to integrate modern and ancient elements in the construction of a grand new building. The Turkish Sultan refused, for obvious reasons, to authorize the ambitious project.

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The “hall”, inside the Temple, courtesy of the Rosh Pina archive

Did Rothschild really dream to restore the Temple in its original location? Did he intend to disseminate architectural instructions for the construction of the Third Temple? Was he simply fond of the book because of its unique art? For now, we do not know the answers to these questions. But thanks to the Rosh Pina archive and the Archive Network Israel project, we can still enjoy the beautiful book today.

This article was written in collaboration with the Rosh Pina archive and with the help of the archive director, Yehoshafat Pop.

 

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