Jews under Muslim Rule

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Muslim and Jew playing chess in Muslim-controlled Spain

Right after the Muslim-Arab conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries most Jews in the Muslim world were farmers. Over time they became urbanites, many specializing in crafts and trade and living primarily in Jewish quarters in major cities or market towns. The Jews generally prospered during the Umayyad and Abbasid periods and endured the invasions by Turks, Crusaders and Mongols. In the 15th and 16th centuries many Jews kicked out of Spain and Sicily found new homes in Ottoman Turkey the Middle East. Under colonialism, Jews thrived as traders and intermediaries.

According to the Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices: Under Muslim rule, which spread rapidly from the far corners of Persia to Spain, Jews on the whole enjoyed a less precarious lot than in Christian Europe. The very fact that some of the most important works of Jewish philosophy and even of Halakhah were written in Arabic, whereas in medieval Europe Jews wrote exclusively in Hebrew, illustrates the degree to which they were integrated into Muslim culture. Islamic philosophers, who revived the dormant thought of the Greeks, recruited disciples among Jews, the best known being Maimonides (1135–1204). The efflorescence of Jewish culture reached its height in Muslim Spain in the tenth and eleventh centuries, which was a golden age of Talmudic scholars, poets, philosophers, and mystics. [Source:Paul Mendes-Flohr Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2000s,]

Under Muslim rule Jews were designated by Muslim law as “dhimmi” and tolerated and permitted to practice their own religion but liable to pay special taxes, denied political and legal rights granted to Muslims and control by Muslim “patrons,” who subjected Jews to special laws that kept them in a position inferior to Muslims. The fate of the Jews in the Middle East depended largely how they were treated by their Arab and Ottoman overlords.

Because the Jews were prohibited from owning land and feared being robbed and because there were no banks, Jews often engaged in moneylending as a way of disposing their excess cash. Many worked at jobs within the Jewish community such as religion leaders, butchers and ritual slaughters. Others worked as masons, druggists, doctors and liquor and carpet merchants. After the Arab-Muslim conquest a number of messianic movements arose in Jewish communities. These movements sometimes led to riots and persecution. Arab-Muslim rule was sometimes quite tolerant and this sometimes led to the sprouting of new sects such as the Karaites.

Websites and Resources: Virtual Jewish Library ; Judaism101 ; Yivo Institute of Jewish Research ; Jewish History Timeline Jewish History Resource Center ; Center for Jewish History ; Jewish ; Internet Jewish History Sourcebook

Pact of Umar: 7th Century Muslim Document Granting Rights to “People of the Book”

This is a report of the agreement made by the Caliph Umar with conquered Christians. Similar toleration was permitted to other "people of the book". After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslims leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to develop the notion of the "dhimma", or "protected person". The Dhimmi were required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a "pact" which formed the patter of later interaction. [Source: Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230, hand out at an Islamic History Class at the University of Edinburgh in 1979, source of translation not given,]

The The Pact of Umar reads: “We heard from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows: In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:

Umar medallion in Haghia Sophia in Istanbul

“We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks' cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.
We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.
We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.
We shall not teach the Qur'an to our children.
We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.
We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.

“We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.
We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.
We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.
We shall not sell fermented drinks. Aw We shall clip the fronts of our heads.
We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists

“We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.
We shall not take slaves who have beenallotted to Muslims.
We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims. (When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, "We shall not strike a Muslim.")

“We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.
If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.
Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: "They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims," and "Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact."”

Jews in the Middle East and North Africa from A.D 330 to 661 (Muhammad's Death)

A.D. 330 — Jerusalem becomes part of Constantine's Byzantine Empire.
368 — Jerusalem Talmud compiled.
415 — St. Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, champions violence against the city's Jews and incites the Greeks to kill or expel them. Some Jews return within a few years, but many return only after the Muslims conquer Egypt.
426 — Babylonian Talmud compiled.
501 — An earthquake hits Israel, partially destroying Acre and incurring damage as far east as Jerusalem.
511 — Rebellion leader Mar Zutra usurps power from Kobad the Zenduk, establishing an independant Jewish state in Babylon that would last for seven years, until Zutra's forces defeated Zutra's army, killing him and instituted a harsh policy toward the remaining Jews.
516 — Southern Arabian king Ohu Nuwas adopts Judaism, possibly as a rampart against the spread of Christianity. King Eleboas of Abyssinia, with the help of Justin I, later defeated Nuwas.

570 — Birth of Prophet Muhammad in Mecca
ca. 570-632 — Muhammad ("the Prophet" of Islam).
ca. 610 — Prophetic call and start of Quranic revelations.
614 — Persian General Romizanes captures Jerusalem and allows Jews to run the city. At this time, aproximately 150,000 Jews are living in 43 settlements in Eretz-Israel.
617 — The Persians renege on their promises and forbid Jews to settle within a three mile radius of Jerusalem.
638 — Islamic conquest of Jerusalem.
617 — Persians change policy toward Jews, forbid them from living within three miles of Jerusalem.
622 — The hijra (emigration) from Mecca to Medina.
624-627 — Muhammad attacks Jewish Arabian tribes for refusing to convert to Islam. Eventually the Southern Arabian tribes are destroyed.
626 — While proselytizing Arabia, Muhammad captures the Banu Kurara tribe and forces the group of about 600 to chose between conversion and death. After spending all night praying, all but three or four Banu Kurarans are beheaded.
[Source — Fordham University,]

627-629 — Emperor Heraclius breaks his promise of protection to Jews, massacring any he found and forbidding them from entering Jerusalem. Hundreds of Jews were killed and thousands exhiled to Egypt, ending the Jewish towns in the Galilee and Judea. Heraclius' decree remained in effect until the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.
630 — Capitulation of Mecca, rededication of Kaba.
632 — The Jewish tribe Kaibar defends itself against Muslim forces, negotiating a settlement in which half of their crops would go to Mohammed in exchange for peace. Other Jewish tribes, including Fadattr, Tedma and Magna reached similar deals.
590-604 — Pope Gregory the Great.
ca. 600-1300 — Period of the Jewish Rabbinic Geonim.

Jews in the Middle East and North Africa from A.D 661 to 1100

632-661 — Muhammad dies, creating the four "rightly guided caliphs" of Islam.
634 — Gaza becomes the first city in Palestine to be captured by Muslims. Many Christians and Jews remained despite the Muslim takeover.
637 — Muslim forces capture Caesarea, forcing the city's estimated 100,000 Jews to follow the Pact of Omar, which meant they had to pray quietly, not build new synagogues and not prevent Jews from converting to Islam. The Jews were also forbidden from riding horses and holding judicial or civil posts, and were forced to wear a yellow patch for identification.
638 — Caliph Umar conquers Jerusalem and Jews are permitted to return to the city under Islam.
661 — Assassination of Ali (last of the four).

661-750 — Umayyad Dynasty of Islam in Damascus (Syria).
669, 674 — Muslim Attacks on Christian Constantinople.
680 — Massacre of Ali's son Husayn and Shiites (Iraq).
685 — Muslims extend Jerusalem and rebuild walls and roads.
692 — Dome of the Rock built on site of First and Second Temples by Caliph Abd el-Malik.
November 9, 694 — The 17th Council of Toledo convenes, passing a wide-ranging array of restrictions on the local Jewish community.
711 — Muslim Forces Attack Spain Successfully.
715 — Al-Aqsa Mosque built, Jerusalem.
732 — Islam repulsed at Tours (France), gateway to Europe.
750 — Abbasid caliphate founded.
ca. 760 — Karaism founded (Jewish reaction to Rabbinic Judaism).

762 — Baghdad founded by Abbasids.
767 — Anan Ben David, organizer of the Karaite sect that only believed in the literal Biblical writings and not the Oral law.
742-814 — Charlemagne, French Holy Roman Emperor, protected and helped develop Jewish culture in his kingdom, seeing Jews as an asset.
740-1259 — Jewish Kingdom of Khazar lasts over 500 years, defending itself from the Muslims, Byzantines and Russians, finally subdued by Mongols under Genghis Khan.
750-1258 — Abbasid Dynasty of Islam in Baghdad (Iraq)—the "golden age" of Islamic culture.
?-767 — Abu Hanifa (Muslim theologian and jurist in Iraq).
710-795 — Malik ibn Anas (jurist, collector of hadiths, Medina).
800 — Caliph Harun al-Rashid rules in "1001 Nights" style.
ca. 800-950 — Mutazilite rationalism developed and debated.
807 — Harun Al Rashid, Caliph of the Abbasids forces Baghdad Jews to wear a yellow badge and Christians to wear a blue badge.
825 — Caliph Mamun sponsors translations of Greek learning into Arabic (Arabic science flourishes).
814-840 — Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pius, who succeeded his father as king, expanded his father's positive policies towards the Jews, like changing "market day" from Saturday (Shabbat) to Sunday.
855 — Ibn Hanbal (jurist, collector of hadiths, Baghdad).

868 — Palestine annexed to Egypt.
870, 875 — Bukhari and Muslim (collectors of hadiths).
874 — Shiite "twelvers" arise.
?-935 — Al-Ashari (ex-Mutazilite Muslim scholar).
882-942 — Saadia Gaon (Rabbinic Jewish sage).
942 — Office of the Exilarch was abolished after seven centuries, primarily because of dissention with the Muslims. David ben-Zaccai held the postion.
922 — Execution of Hallaj, radical Persian Muslim mystic/sufi.
ca. 950-1150 — “Golden Age” in Spain (Islamic Umayyad dynasty).
969 — Founding of Cairo (and soon thereafter Azhar University) by the Islamic Shiite Fatimid dynasty in Egypt.
969 — Caliph al-Aziz defeated the Turkish princes at Ramleh, marking the beginning of Fatamid rule over Eretz-Israel.

Byzantine-Arab Wars

972 — Al-Azhar University Founded, Cairo.
ca. 1000 — Rabbi Gershon of Mainz, Germany, publishes a ban on bigamy. This marks the beginning of Ashkenazi (Franco-German) halachic creativity.
1001 — Ibn al-Bawwab produces earliest exist Qur'an copy on paper, Baghdad.
990-1055 — Diplomat and poet, as well as vizier to King Habus of Granada and author of a Biblical Hebrew dictionary, Samuel Ibn Nagrela.
1008 — Egyptian Caliph Hakkim, who claimed to be divine, pressured all non-Muslims to convert and forced all Jews to wear a "golden calf" around their necks.
1009 — Oldest existing text of full Hebrew Bible is written.
1016 — Earthquake causes structrual damage on Temple Mount.
1021-1069 — Messianic poet and philosopher, Solomon Ibn Gabirol.
1027 — Samuel Hanagid becomes vizier of Granada. He is the first of the poets of the Golden Age of Spain, and symbolic of both the political power and literary creativity of Jews in Spain at the time.
1032 — Rebel Abul Kamal Tumin conquered Fez and decimated the Jewish community, killing 6,000 Jews.

1066 — Final split ("schism") between Latin (Roman) and Greek (Byzantine) Classical Christian Churches — 1053/54 William the Conqueror (Norman) takes England.
1056 — Abraham Ibn Daud — On Saumuel Ha-Nagid, Vizier of Granada.
1040-1105 — Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac; Jewish sage) — .
1058-1111 — Ghazali (Persian Muslim scholar and mystic) — .
1065-1173 — Benjamin of Tudela, Jewish traveller and historian, who wrote a famous journal called Sefer Hamassa'ot (Book of Travels).
1070 — Rashi, a French-Jewish thinker, completes his commentaries on most parts of the Bible.
1070-1139 — Poet and philiospher Moses Ibn Ezra.
1071 — Seljuk occupation of Jerusalem.

Jews and Events During the Crusades Period (A.D. 1095-1258)

The Crusades were military operations by Christian countries to capture the Holy Land. The armies of the first Crusade attacked Jewish communities on their way to Palestine, especially in Germany. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem they slaughtered and enslaved thousands of Jews as well as Muslims. Following the example of the Romans earlier, they banned Jews from the city. [Source: BBC]

Cairo slave market

1096 — Participants in the First Crusade massacre Jews in several Central European cities, beginning centuries of pogroms linked to the Crusades.
1090 — Iban Iashufin, King of the Almoravides, captured Granada and destroyed the Jewish community, the survivors fled to Toledo.
1099 — Crusaders (European Christians) capture Jerusalem and massacre tens of thousands of the city's Jews. 1099 — First Crusade Begins rule in Jerusalem.
1100 — The Crusaders seize Gaza from the Fatimid Caliphs, returning it to Christian rule.
1107 — Moroccan Almoravid ruler Yoseph Ibn Tashfin orders all Moroccan Jews to convert or leave.
1115 — After reconquering Toledo, Spain from the Muslims, Alphonso I invited all Jews to return.
1120 — Jews from Muslim countries begin to settle in Byzantium.
1171 — Saladin (1138-1193) overthrows Fatimid dynasty in Egypt.
1187 — Saladin recaptures Jerusalem from Crusaders grants Jews permission to re-enter.

1181 — French King Philip expels Jews from France.
1187 — Salah al-Din returns Jerusalem to Muslim rule.
1191 — Phillip starts the Third Crusade, cancels debts to Jews, drives many Jews out of France, confiscates their property.
1192 — Philip expands his kingdom and allows Jews to return, for a fee and under strict conditions.
1232 — The Jewish community of Marrakech, Morocco, is reestablished, leading to massacres of Jews caused by Islamic political revolt and grassroots hatred.
1254-1517 — Mamluk Islamic rule (new dynasty) in Egypt.
1258 — Fall of Islamic Abbasid dynasty to Hulagu (Mongol).

Jews in the Muslim World After the Crusades (1258-1500)

1258 — Mongols sack Baghdad.
1260 — Mongols led by Hulagu Khan overrun Gaza, they are beaten back by Egyptian Mamluk General Baibars. Gaza becomes the capital of a Mamluk Province.
1286 — Moses de Leon of Spain completes a commentary of the Torah. The Zohar remains a central text of Jewish mysticism. 14th century — Rise of the Ottoman Muslim dynasty in Turkey.
1336-1405 — Timurlane/Tamurlane, Turkic ruler in central Asia.
1400 — Damascus sacked by Timurlane.
1424 — Jewish physician, Y'en Ch'eng is given the surname "Chao" as an honor by the Emperor. This family, which probably originated in India and Babylon, became on of the leading Chinese Jewish families.

1453 — Fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) to Ottoman Muslims.
1453 — Ottomans begin rule from Constantinople.
1492 — Christian expulsion of Muslim Moors from Spain.
1492 — The Alhambra Decree ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Castile and Aragon, Spain. The edict was not formally revoked until December 16, 1968.
1492 — End of Muslim states in Spain.
1492 — Christian expulsion of Jews from Spain, sending over 200,000 Jews fleeing: 137,000 Jews forced to leave Sicily.
1516 — The Ottoman's fight the Mamluks out of Gaza, Gaza is ruled for the next 100 years by the Ridwan family.

Spanish Jews

Although estimates vary, historians believe at least 200,000 Jews lived in Spain before the 1492 expulsion. Before that date they were pushed to convert to Catholicism. Many refused to convert or leave and were burned at the stake. Jews made rich contributions to science, music and literature before they were driven out from the old Jewish quarters in medieval Spanish cities such as Toledo and Seville where they lived among Christians and Muslims. [Source: Daniel Silva, AFP, September 2, 2014]

The Jews of Spain and Portugal are called Sephardim or Sephardic Jews. They and their descendants, most of whom, in the wake of expulsion in 1492, settled in the Ottoman Empire and in North Africa; in the early seventeenth century small groups of descendants of Jews who had remained on the Iberian Peninsula and accepted Christianity settled in the Netherlands, where they reaffirmed their ancestral religion

The Sephardic Jews came mostly from Spain (Sephardic is Hebrew for "of Spain") but also came from Portugal and North Africa. They spoke Ladino, a mixture of medieval Spanish and Hebrew. The arrived in Roman times after the were expelled from Jerusalem for rebelling and flourished in the Middle Ages until they were expelled in 1492.

Ottoman Empire and Sephardic Jews

About 100,000 of the 150,000 Sephardic Jews kicked out of the Spain were welcomed to Istanbul by the Ottoman Sultan Bayazit II, who dispatched the Ottoman navy to rescue many Jews. "The exiled Sephardim," wrote journalist Melanie Menagh, "brought with them the glories of Spain's golden age and made major contributions to Turkish life. Many were physicians and they introduced modern European medical techniques to the court.”

By the the 16th century a large portion of the population of Istanbul was made up of Spanish-speaking Jews. The first printing press in the Ottoman empire was established by two Spanish-Jewish refugees. Sephardim circumspection was so highly regarded by the sultans that many Ottoman diplomats were Jews. The Sephardim language, Judeo-Spanish or “Ladino” , was thought to be especially melodic and lent itself to poetry and sacred and secular songs. Ancestors of the Sephardim still live in Istanbul and Ladino is still spoken in some neighborhoods.

Jews expelled from Hungary in 1376, from Sicily in the the 15th century, from Bavaria in 1470, from Bohemia in 1542, and from Russia in 1881, 1891, 1897 and 1903 also were provided with sanctuary by the Ottomans. During World War II, Turkey accepted some Jews who were fleeing Nazism.

Jews Under Ottoman Rule

Greek Jewish Rabbi
Under the Ottomans, Jews, Christians and other “protected” minorities were obliged to follow Ottoman law and keep a low profile. They had to pay special taxes and could not build conspicuous places of worship and were required to show deference to Muslims. In return minority communities were given considerable autonomy. For internal matters they were under the authority of religious leaders.

People of different religions and ethnic groups lived peacefully for centuries under the Ottoman rule. The historian Karen Armstrong wrote: “The sultan did not impose uniformity on his subjects nor did he try to force the disparate elements of his empire into one huge party. The government merely enabled the the different groups — Christians, Jews, Arabs, Turks, Berbers, merchants...and trade guilds — to live together peacefully, each making its own contribution, and following its own beliefs and customs. The empire was thus a collection of communities, each which claimed the immediate loyalty of its members.”

Muslim leaders have traditionally tolerated people from other faiths living in their territories. Under Islamic rule and Islamic law, Jews and Christians lived with Muslims in relative harmony, and were allowed to practice their religion and run their own affairs as long as they met certain obligations, namely paying a poll tax, which Muslims did not have to meet. In some places many, Jews had their own legal system and social services and Christians had their own religious authorities. From 1839, the Ottoman government maintained a hierarchy of “chief rabbis.”

Jews in the Ottoman Empire and Events in the Muslim World 1500-1920

1517 — Victory of (Muslim Ottoman Turk) Selim I over Egypt. Ottoman Muslim rulers (later) claim the title "caliph".
1520-1566 — Sulayman I, "the Magnificent," rules.
ca. 1500-1800 — Dominance of Safavid Shiite Muslim dynasty in Iran.
ca. 1500-1800 — Dominance of Mughal Muslim dynasty in India.
1592 — Esther Chiera, who held considerable influence in Ottoman Sultan Murad III's court, was executed because of jealousy and the Sultan's desire for her assets.
1619 — Shah Abbasi of the Persian Sufi Dynasty increased persecution against the Jews forcing many to outwardly practice Islam. (Many secretly practiced Judaism.).
1622-1629 — Persian Jews are forced to convert to Islam.
ca. 1750 — Wahhabi "fundamentalist" movement arises in Islam.

1783 — The Sultan of Morocco expels the Jews for the third time in recent years after they failed to pay an exorbitant ransom.
1784-1885 — Leading Jewish philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, createed numerous agricultural settlements in Eretz Israel.
1798 — Napoleon, battle of the Pyramids in Islamic Egypt.
1799 — Napoleon's army moves from Egypt, capturing Gaza and Haifa and gets as far north as Akko which is successfully defended by the British.
1801-1804 — Muslim Wahhabis capture Mecca & Medina, raid Karbala.

1830 — French occupation of Muslim Algiers.
1840 — First organized movement by American Jewry to protest false accusations of blood libel in Damascus, Syria.
1869 — Suez Canal opens.
1881 — French occupation of Muslim Tunisia.
1882 — British occupation of Muslim Egypt.
1908 — Discovery of oil in Persia; leads to Anglo-Persian (later British Petroleum).

1908 — Revolution by "young Turks" depose Sultan Abdul Hamid the Damned under Ottoman.
1908 — Turkey grants Jews political rights.
1908 — Hijaz Railway from Damascus to Medina.
1914-1919 — World War I.
1914 — Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo prompting World War One.
1914 — The Ottoman empire enters the war on the side of Germany.
1916 — Start of Arab revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule.
1917 — British capture Baghdad.
1917 — Four-hundred years of Ottoman rule ended by British conquest.

Sabbatai Zevi

Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676) was an Ottoman Jewish mystic, false messiah and ordained rabbi from Smyrna (now İzmir, Turkey). Likely of Ashkenazi origin, he claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah and founded the Sabbatean movement. He was arrested in Istanbul and served time in several different prisons and tried for of fomenting sedition.

Jacob Kat wrote in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences: Jewish tradition had foreseen a radical change in the status of religious law in the Messianic era. According to the widely held view, with the appearance of the Messiah the religious commandments would no longer be held binding. Throughout the Middle Ages, Messianic expectations evoked Messianic pretenders, but as they were quickly disproved, the possible implications for religious practice were not realized. Different, however, was Sabbatai Zevi, who from 1665 to 1666 succeeded in keeping all Jewry in suspenseful waiting for the final call. [Source: Jacob Kat, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,]

He introduced new religious rites and partook in forbidden food in order to demonstrate by deed the end of the old era and the commencement of the new. When called to account by the Turkish authorities for causing mass upheavals, Sabbatai Zevi, to save his life, converted to Islam. A number of his followers accepted this as a necessary stage in the process of redemption, and in the course of theological justification for the converted Messiah, heretical theologies arose which were linked with the prevailing dualistic doctrines of the cabala.

These gave rise to a number of sects, some of which were syncretisms of Judaism and Islam and lived on the margin of Jewish society, while others, although remaining within the confines of the Jewish community, were of a heretical and even antinomian or nihilistic character. These groups led a more or less clandestine existence among Jews in Turkey, Poland, Bohemia, and Moravia, thus disrupting the age-old religious unity of the Jewish people.

Palestine-Israel During the Ottoman Era

1837 — An earthquake in Tzfat and Tiberias kills four thousand people and damages monuments and archeological sites.
1855 — First acknowledged non-Muslim visitor permitted to enter Temple Mount since 1187 CE.
1860 — First neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, built outside Jerusalem's walls.
1866 — Jews become a majority in Jerusalem.
1878 — Petah Tikvah (Gate of Hope) founded as agricultural colony by orthodox Jews. Although it was abandoned in 1881 after Arab attacks, it was reestablished in 1883 after the First Aliyah.
1881 — Ottoman government announces permission for foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews to settle throughout Ottoman Empire.

1882 — Ottoman government adopts policy to allow Jewish pilgrims and business-people to visit Palestine, but not settle.
1884 — Ottoman government closes Palestine to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jewish business, but not to Jewish pilgrims.
1888 — European powers press Ottoman government to allow foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews to settle in Palestine provided they do not do so en masse.
1892 — Ottoman government forbids sale of state land to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews in Palestine.
1898 — A section of the Old City Wall is removed to facilitate the entrance of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and his entourage on his visit to Jerusalem.

1905 — Gimnazia Herzilia, the first Hebrew high school, opens in Tel Aviv.
1906 — First Hebrew high school founded in Jaffa and Bezalel school founded in Jerusalem.
1908-1914 — Second Yemenite Aliyah.
1909 — First kibbutz, Degania, founded.
1909 — Founding of Tel Aviv as Hebrew speaking Jewish city.
1909 — Hashomer, the first Jewish self-defense organization is founded to replace Arab guards protecting Jewish settlements.
1912 — Haifa's Technion is founded.
1917 — Jewish Telegraphic Agency is founded.
1917 — As WWI comes closer to Tel-Aviv and Jaffa, the Turkish Governer of Jaffa orders all Jews to leave Tel-Aviv and Jaffa.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Jewish History Sourcebook “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Old Testament Life and Literature” by Gerald A. Larue, New International Version (NIV) of The Bible,; Wikipedia, Live Science, Archaeology magazine, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2024

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