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Culture

February 13, 2004

100 YEARS AGO

• In spite of rumors that Russia’s dictator has fallen ill on account of failures of the Russian army in its battles with Japan as well as the general weakness of the economy, evil decrees against the Jews of the empire are continuing unabated. Thousands of Jews are being driven out of Russia proper and back into the Pale of Settlement, where the poverty in the shtetls is simply indescribable. Jews fortunate enough to have permission to do business outside of the Pale are now no longer permitted to employ other Jews as salesmen, clerks or accountants and must now hire Russians. This alone will destroy the financial standing of thousands of Jewish families.

75 YEARS AGO

•Passenger “Zyebrov” disembarked from the Soviet ship Ilych in Constantinople under armed guard after arriving from Odessa. Turkish authorities accepted “Zyebrov’s” passport and permitted him entry. He was immediately brought under guard to the Soviet Consulate, where he is being held together with his wife and two children. As it turns out, “Zyebrov” is actually Leon Trotsky, who has been exiled from the Soviet Union. The rumor mill surrounding his exile is churning, with some saying he plans to remain in Constantinople; others say he plans to settle in either France or Germany.

• Yosef Ginevitsh, a Jewish watchman in the colony of Rehovot, was murdered one night this week while on duty, apparently by Arabs. In an unrelated matter in Hadera, a group of Bedouins attacked Jews as they were plowing their fields. Police intervened, forcing the Bedouins to flee. Additionally, a group of Arabs from a village near Acre submitted a complaint in the court of the Palestine Mandate, alleging that the Mandate government and the Haifa Bay Company had colluded to appropriate 200 dunams of land from them. These events prompted the Mandate’s high commissioner to call for Jews to stop working on unclaimed lands.

50 YEARS AGO

• “The Jews of Israel,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, “are among the few peoples in the Middle East who understand and recognize the concept of human rights.” Speaking at the first national meeting of the UJA, the former first lady continued, “Just like the United States, Israel is a land built by immigrants, by people who escaped from oppression in order to build a new life.” The former representative on the United Nations Committee for Human Rights said that Israel was built on respect for the rule of law and human life, and in that respect it strengthens democracy. “The existence of Israel is important for the entire free world,” said the former first lady.

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