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J. W. McGarvey
Lands of the Bible (1881)


C H A P T E R   I I I.


§ I.


      THE population of Palestine consists mainly of Turks, Jews, and Ar'abs. Besides these there are a few Europeans, chiefly Germans, Russians, French, and English.

      The Turks are the ruling class, all the offices of the Turkish government being in their hands, and all the soldiers of the various garrisons being Turks. There are garrisons at Jerusalem, Gaza, A'cre, Nab'lus, and Jenîn', on the west of the Jordan; and at Es Salt, beyond the Jordan; but the chief military centres are Jerusalem, A'cre, and Nab'lus. The characteristic dress of the Turks is the fez, a rimless red cap, made of felt in the shape of a low, truncated cone, with a black-silk tassel dangling from the top of it. It affords no protection at all to either face or eyes from the intense glare of the sun; and it is singular that it should have become the universal head-dress of a people in so hot a climate. But it is worn by all Turks, from the Sultan and his great Pashas down to the servants and beggars in the streets. No other ornament than the black tassel is ever attached to it, and this is never omitted. Neither is the color of the fez ever varied. The military officers of high rank, with epaulets and gold lace, gilded sword-belts and glittering scabbards, appear singularly defective in ornament about the head, with nothing on it but this unsightly cap. It is worn everywhere, indoors and out, at the table, in the social circle, in the mosque. If a Turk [76] ever removes his fez it is when he goes to bed at night. In other respects their dress does not vary materially from that of Europeans. Their women are seldom seen in public, and when they appear they are still not seen very distinctly, for they are so covered with long robes
(usually of white), enveloping head, face, and form in one shapeless mass, that there is no temptation to gaze upon them. In some parts of the empire, however, as in Constantinople, there is more freedom; the style of dress is nearer the Parisian, and the faces of the women are sometimes only partially veiled.

      The Turks are an irreligious people, for though they are nominally Mohammedans, and it is considered among them a crime worthy of death to abandon the faith, yet they are quite indifferent about the ceremonial observances of their religion; and they are not characterized by any of the virtues which once made their religion respectable in the eyes of the world. They are in the main a godless and sensuous people, avaricious in the extreme, and when in office full of bribery and corruption. It is the common conviction of the people in Palestine and throughout Syria that no action can be obtained in a Turkish court except by bribery, and that by the payment of a sufficient sum of money any decree at all, however unjust and oppressive, may be obtained. There is similar corruption in the collection of tithes and other taxes, and in the payment of official salaries. One-tenth of all the produce of the country is claimed as tribute by the Sultan. It is collected in a most irregular and oppressive way, so that often it amounts to fifteen, and even twenty per cent., instead of ten. It is said that only a small portion of it finally reaches the imperial treasury, and that the money which is ordered from the treasury to pay the subordinate officers in the provinces suffers so much loss in passing through intermediate hands that only a portion of it reaches its destination. This failure to receive [77] the salaries due from the government is made an excuse for extortion and bribery.1

      The Turkish soldiers stationed in Palestine are poorly drilled and poorly clothed; but they are well armed with the most approved of modern weapons. The barracks in which they are quartered are usually substantial stone houses, but they are supplied with very few comforts, and the pay of the common soldier is meagre. Travelers passing through the country are entitled to a military escort of one or more soldiers if they claim it, and the poorly-paid soldiers are always glad to go on such service, for the sake of the better food and more liberal compensation which the traveler is sure to furnish. There is really, however, no need of such an escort at the present time.

§ II.


      In the absence of all census-taking, and the custom of the people of towns and villages to underestimate their population for the purpose of diminishing taxation, it is impossible to state with accuracy the population of any town or city, and still more so to state the exact ratio of one portion of the population to another. But the Jews in Palestine are far more numerous than the Turks. They are found chiefly in Jerusalem, Tiberias, and Sâ'fed, though a few are settled in some of the other towns of the larger class. Their entire number in all Syria is estimated at about 40,000, and it is probable that about one-half of these dwell in Palestine, and more than one-fourth of them in Jerusalem.

      In appearance, as well as in dress, the Jews of Palestine are quite different from those commonly seen in America, and especially is this true of those in Jerusalem. Most of them are pale and thin, with bent forms and unhealthy complexion. They cut their hair short behind, but allow a long lock, often curled, to hang down in front of each ear. Many of them have light hair and blue eyes. They wear very generally a bear-skin cap, rimless and lying flat on the head. Their dress is the usual gown, with narrow skirt, fitting over a long cotton shirt bound around the waist with a girdle. Over all is a loose coat, with sleeves, which hangs nearly to the ground. In summer the entire outer dress is of colored cotton, the colors usually bright. The Jewish women [78] appear on the streets with unveiled faces, their head-covering being usually a piece of white linen hung loosely on the hair, open in front, and of such a size as to hang down over the entire person. They wear dresses made somewhat after the European fashion, though they make no effort to keep up with the Parisian styles.

      The Jews work at various mechanical trades, keep little stands for money-changing, and deal in the usual articles of traffic in the bazaars. Many of them are exceedingly poor, and are fed by contributions from their more prosperous brethren in Europe and America.

      For a year or two previous to the recent war between Turkey and Russia there was a considerable influx of Jewish population into Palestine, and especially to Jerusalem, causing the erection of a large number of tenements for their accommodation outside the city; but the uncertainty of the results of that war, and especially of its effect on the Jewish population of the two countries, put a check to this immigration, and it has not since been renewed.

      Many of the resident Jews retain their citizenship in the countries of Europe from which they emigrated, and are therefore under the protection of their respective consuls. This protection saves them from many annoyances and procures for them an administration of justice which they would not otherwise enjoy. There is every reason to believe that as prosperity revisits the land and it is revived from the ruin which has so long brooded over it, its former inhabitants and owners will be among the first to repeople it. Natural causes, directed by the hand of Providence, may yet bring about that regeneration of the country and that return of its Jewish population which seems to be demanded by many predictions in the Word of God.

§ III.


      The Ar'abs of the country are divided into two very distinct classes: the Fel'lahîn, who dwell in cities and villages, and the Bed'awin, who dwell in tents and are properly the Ar'abs of the desert. Until recently the latter devoted themselves exclusively to grazing, and despised agriculture. They exchanged the increase of their flocks and herds for grain and other necessaries, and often made incursions among the villages and robbed the threshing-floors. The frequency of these incursions disheartened the villagers and greatly restricted the cultivation of the soil. But of late years the Turkish government has quartered [79] soldiers in the border districts to keep back the bands of robbers, and both classes have been benefitted. The Fel'lahîn have since then greatly extended their area of cultivation, and the Bed'awin themselves have become growers of grain. As yet they make no attempt at garden vegetables or fruits, and they live entirely without these, except when they visit the towns and purchase them; but they cultivate some small patches of tobacco, and those of them who occupy the better class of lands may yet become agriculturists. Their entire wealth consists in their flocks of sheep and goats, and their herds of camels, cattle, and asses.

      The tents of the Bed'awin are very rudely constructed. They consist of long strips of black hair-cloth suspended on rude stakes from five to six feet high, with one side-curtain to keep out cold winds or the afternoon sun. The tent-cloth is a very coarse texture, woven by hand from the hair of the black goats, and it has a very gloomy appearance; but it is impervious to rain and it makes a fine shade. In cold weather a fire is built before the open front of the tent, the fuel being brush, roots, weeds, or the dried ordure of the cattle. When the last material is burned an offensive odor is diffused through the atmosphere for a great distance around. Within these tents are spread the hair-mats and heavy strips of carpet on which the family sit during the day and sleep during the night. In the corners are stacked the other household effects. In one end are frequently huddled some calves or some motherless kids and lambs; while the dogs and chickens occupy whatever vacant spaces they can find. The tents vary in length from 15 to 40 feet, and are usually no wider than 8 or 10 feet. Many are not tall enough for a person to stand erect in them, except in the immediate vicinity of the taller stakes. They are usually pitched in groups of half a dozen or more, but sometimes an encampment is seen containing 30 or 40 tents.

      The outer dress of the Bed'awin women consists of a skirt, rather scantily cut, from the belt of which, behind, there rises a kind of large hood of the same goods, covering the head and the arms. The arms are wrapped in this, and it is drawn over the face as a veil when occasion requires. It is not their custom, however, to veil their faces. They wear no other covering for the head than this hood. The material now universally used for this dress is blue cotton. The white cotton is imported from England and dyed by the natives, dye-shops for this purpose being seen on the streets of all the towns of any considerable size. The feet of the women are either bare or covered with slippers without upper leather around the heel; no stockings. [80]

Page 80.      

      The dress of the men consists of a long shirt, reaching nearly to the heels, over which is worn a colored calico gown of the same length, open in front, but secured around the waist by a girdle, in which is worn the invariable dirk or long knife, sheathed in a leather scabbard. Sometimes the shirt, with a belt at the waist, is the only garment. For cold weather there is added a kind of overcoat, which may be described as a loose-fitting sack, long enough to nearly touch the ground, and made of coarse woolen goods, with broad stripes of white and black up and down. It is used for a coverlet at night, and it is called the
ab'a. Slippers of the same kind as those worn by the women, and sometimes sandals of the most primitive kind, are worn by the poorest of the men; shoes by those in better circumstances; and short-topped boots by the aristocratic; all made of red leather. But the distinguishing dress of the Bed'awin is the kufeiyeh (pronounced kuf-feé-yah), which is his substitute for a hat. It is a square shawl of cotton, woolen, or silk, folded diagonally, laid on the head with the fold in front, two of the corners hanging on the shoulders, the third on the back. It is secured in its place by a large cord passed twice around the head across the temples. The cord is about half an inch in diameter, and is commonly a rope of goats' hair, though sometimes it is made of thread, and sometimes covered with silk and adorned with tassels. The front fold can be drawn over the forehead to shade the eyes, the side corners can be tucked up under the cord to let the air into the face, or they can each be passed under the chin and tucked under the cord at the other side, to cover the face and protect it from the cold winds or from the hot evening sun. It is a cheap, convenient, and not unsightly head-dress; and nothing better adapted to the Bed'awin mode of life could be invented. It [81] is said also by the Europeans who have tried it to be the very best protection of the head against the hot sun of that climate.

      The Bed'awin are always armed but their arms are of the rudest and most obsolete kind. No one is without a dirk or crooked knife, worn in a leather scabbard and suspended at the girdle. Sometimes a pair of old horse-pistols, of the kind used in America a hundred years ago, is also stuck in the girdle, both pistols on the left side. The gun is still more common than the pistol. It is long in the barrel and short in the breech. The stock reaches the entire length of the barrel, and is fastened to it by a succession of brass bands. The lock is invariably the old-fashioned flint-lock. Coarse and dirty powder is carried in a rude powder-horn suspended at the right side; and a leather pouch, suspended by the same strap, holds the shot, slugs, or bullets. The locks seldom fail to strike fire, but the range of the musket is short and the aim very inaccurate. In addition to this armory the sheikhs and other men of importance wear an old broad-sword, whose scabbard, old and worn, is wrapped here and there with leathern strings. But instead of the musket these more aristocratic warriors usually carry a spear about 14 feet long, whose head, shaped like the blade of a two-edged bowie-knife, is 14 inches long and an inch and a half wide. The spear-staff is light and elastic, often a bamboo rod. It has an iron spike in the butt end, which is stuck in the ground to hold the spear erect when not in use. When the Ar'ab horseman dismounts at camp, he sets up his spear, by striking this spike into the ground, hobbles his horse with the saddle on, takes a seat at the tent door, lights his pipe, meditates, or converses solemnly and slowly with his neighbors. He neither smiles nor weeps. If the stoic philosophy had been preached among the Bed'awin they would all have embraced it as a natural result of their temperament.

      The Bed'awin men are of medium height, thin and sinewy. They have a light and elastic step, are straight as an Indian, and have the Indian's coarse, black hair, piercing eyes, and high cheek-bones. Their complexion is a dark brown. They wear their beards in full and their hair trimmed to moderate length. Their women are short and squarely built, with coarse features but kindly disposition. The men do but little manual labor apart from ploughing. All the drudgery of camp-life and of the care of young stock is imposed on the women and the boys.

      The most important tribes of Bed'awin in Palestine are the Adwân, who claim the territory east of the Jordan from Jerash to the Zerka Mâ'in; the Beni Sâkhr, who claim the ancient land of Moab; and the [82] Tiyâhah, who occupy the plains between Hebron and Gaza. The Taâ'mirah and the Jahalïn' are very poor tribes, who dwell in the wilderness west of the Dead Sea, occupying such spots as afford a little water and small patches of tillable soil; and the Ghuwar'îneh, a still smaller tribe, occupy some parts of the Jordan Valley. None of these tribes will willingly allow Europeans to pass through their territory without the payment of tribute in the form of fees for an escort from their own tribe. The usual custom of the traveler is to have his consul at Jerusalem send for the sheikh of the tribe through whose territory he wishes to pass, and request him to come immediately to Jerusalem. This can be done almost any day by means of individuals of the tribes visiting the city for trading purposes. A bargain is then made, stipulating the time to be spent in the territory, the number of men to constitute the escort, and the amount to be paid. All is reduced to writing and signed in the presence of the consul by both parties, the sheikh, who is never able to write, using a small seal, which he always carries with him to authenticate written documents. Under this contract and escort a man is perfectly safe in any part of their territory.

      The government of these tribes is almost purely patriarchal. Each father of a family is supreme ruler of his own offspring so long as he lives, his sons taking separate lordship of their own offspring when the father is dead. A chief called sheikh (shake), whose office is hereditary, presides over the entire tribe, not as an absolute ruler, but as a head man, whose voice is obeyed rather from custom than from law, and who is the leader in time of war. Sometimes two brothers exercise a kind of joint headship, but in such cases the elder brother has superior authority.

      The primitive law of blood revenge2 prevails among these people, requiring the nearest kin of a murdered man to put to death the murderer. His friends in turn avenge his blood, and so the feud goes on until sometimes entire tribes become involved in war, and the strong hand of the Turkish government must interpose to make peace. The modification of this law under the Jewish economy, by means of the cities of refuge, prevented these excesses of retaliation.3

      The hospitality of the Bed'awin is well known, having been noticed in the writings of nearly all travelers among them. While under the roof of one of them a stranger is safe, and the murder of one who has eaten salt with them is unknown. They will not even rob a man who has been their guest until at least three days afterwards, and if he [83] is under the protection of the tribe they will defend him with their lives.

      These sons of the desert claim descent from Ishmael; and although the claim to be exclusively of his posterity cannot be established, the rite of circumcision, which is still retained among them, together with their habits of life and modes of dress, nearly all of which have come down from the earliest times, make it almost certain that they are descended, with but little admixture of foreign blood, from the various sons of Abraham by his concubines. They probably represent this branch of the Abrahamic family as truly as the Jews do the branch through Isaac and Jacob.

§ IV.


      Those Arabs who dwell in villages and till the soil are called Fel'lahîn, a word which means tillers. These people in many respects resemble the Bed'awin; but they are of lighter complexion and speak a different dialect of the Arabic tongue. Lieutenant Conder, in a somewhat elaborate treatise on their peculiarities, endeavors to trace their origin to the remnants of the aboriginal inhabitants of Canaan, who were allowed by the Jews to dwell in the land in the midst of themselves. But when we remember how few of these people could possibly have been left after the destruction of the Jewish nationality, and how great a variety of nationalities were represented by the peoples who have at various times overrun the country and mingled their blood with that of the inhabitants, we must receive such a theory with much doubt. Certain it is that the Arabians who took possession of the country after the Mohammedan invasion of the seventh century have held it ever since, except during their partial and temporary dispossession during the Crusades; and they are, if not the original, at least the principal ancestors of the present settled population. They are doubtless a race of mixed origin; but they have been so long isolated that they have become entirely homogeneous; and until more certain evidences to the contrary are adduced, it will be better still to call them Ar'abs. They are distinguished from the Bed'awins not only by occupation and complexion, but by their modes of life and their head-dress. They shave their heads, leaving only a tuft at the crown, by which the angel Gabriel is to lift them into heaven.4 They [84] cover the naked scalp with a close-fitting cotton cap, and wear outside of this the turban. This historical head-dress, once universal among both Turks and Arabs, is now retained only by the Fel'lahîn. It consists of a roll of white cotton or linen long enough to pass twice around the head, with both ends tucked under its own folds. It is far better adapted to the climate than the fez, for which it has been discarded by the Turks; for its many folds, lightly pressed together, afford complete protection to the head against the direct rays of the sun, and it also slightly shades the eyes and the upper part of the face; but it is more inconvenient than either the fez or the kufei'yah, and it requires more frequent washing than the latter. Only when it is entirely clean does it present a decent appearance; and those who wear it are more particular in regard to its cleanliness than to that of any other garment.

      The dress of the Fel'lahîn is in other respects the same as that of the Bed'awin; and there is no difference in point of dress between the women of the two classes. The Fel'lahîn women of the large towns
and cities are careful to veil their faces in the presence of strangers; and some of them, in addition to the hoods described above (p. 80), wear a small colored veil, which is attached to the head above the forehead and hangs down over the face. But in the smaller towns and villages most of the women make no attempt to use the veil, but meet strangers and foreigners with a free and open face. They do not, however, salute a stranger unless he first salutes them. They expect no notice, and when spoken to by travelers they are surprised; but they respond in a prompt and pleasant manner. It gives no offense now to either sex, as it once did, for a traveler to speak pleasantly to any unveiled woman whom he chances to meet.

      The modes of life among the Fel'lahîn differ from those of the [85] Bed'awin in that they dwell in houses grouped into villages in the midst of the lands which they cultivate; they engage in various mechanical trades and mercantile pursuits; they cultivate fruits and vegetables as articles of diet and traffic; and they pay some little attention to the education of their children.

      The Fel'lahîn and Bed'awin are alike free from the sin of intoxication, their religion forbidding them the use of intoxicating drinks. They regard the use of these drinks as a peculiarly Christian accomplishment; and a story is told of a sheikh who was importuned by an English traveler to take some wine, but he answered, "I am not a Christian; I cannot take it." They are also entirely honest among themselves, theft being practiced on none but strangers, and seldom on these. Property of all kinds is left exposed, and locks are not appended to the doors of the village houses. There is no high sense of virtue among the females; but the early marriage of both girls and boys, the former usually at about thirteen and the latter at about fifteen, combined with the jealous watchfulness of husbands, prevents any large amount of sexual impurity; and harlotry is not practiced at all. A limited polygamy prevails, the Koran allowing a man in ordinary circumstances to have four wives. Only few of the villagers have sufficient income to justify an indulgence in this privilege. It must be said, also, in behalf of both classes of Ar'abs, that they are good-natured, that their minds are quick and active, and that in their deportment there is a remarkable degree of grace and dignity. But here the list of their virtues terminates and that of their vices begins. It would not be too much to say of both Fel'lahin and Bed'awin, as Paul said of the Cretans, that "They are always liars;" and if we extend the remark to the native inhabitants of all Syria we shall not be found guilty of slander. There seems to be no conscience on the subject of veracity in the entire population, for when one is detected in a falsehood it causes him not the least embarrassment or confusion. Even an oath is regarded as a light matter, unless it is made in the presence of a religious teacher of the same faith with the party sworn; hence it is the custom of our consul in Jerusalem, as he informed the author, in all cases which come under his jurisdiction, to have witnesses and litigants thus sworn before he will receive their testimony. It is singular that this sin, the most universal in those countries at the present day, is the one most lightly thought of among the patriarchs of old, and among the Israelites throughout all their ages. It led David to say, in his haste, "All men are liars."5 It appears to be a [86] traditional sin, handed down from father to son, and from people to people, as they alternately possess the country. The habit will prove a very great barrier to the speedy Christianization of these people.

      The vice which appears most prominent and most offensive to an American traveler is the gross oppression to which women and children are subjected. All the drudgery of which they are capable is heaped upon them, while the men live comparatively at their ease. If the men take part in the harvest, their wives, and all of their children capable of rendering any assistance, are at work under their oversight all the day. At evening when the day's work is done, and at morning before it begins, the women have the additional task of bringing all the water for domestic purposes and preparing all the food for the household, while the boys and girls attend to the stock and milk the goats. The spring, which generally affords the only supply of water, is nearly always at some distance from the village, often a quarter of a mile, and all the water is carried on the heads of the women in stone jars that will hold about five gallons. It is considered disgraceful to a man to be seen carrying a jar of water, so much so that even the servants of our camp, who were hired as muleteers, disdained to do it; and wherever our camp was pitched some woman was employed, if one could be found, to bring us the necessary supply of water. Only when we were remote from any village would the servants condescend to wait on themselves in this particular. But this oppression appears in its most offensive form when you see a turbaned Fellah riding on his donkey into the city, with two or three women, his wives, or wives and daughters, walking before him barefooted, with heavy packs on their heads containing articles which he is going to sell in the markets. This is not an unusual sight on any of the roads leading into Jerusalem.

      The boys and girls have as hard a lot as their mothers. The girls assist their mothers until they are about thirteen years of age, when they are given away by their fathers in matrimony, which means that they become the slaves of other men. They are allowed no voice in the selection of the new master. He may be a young man of suitable age and unmarried, or he may be an old man with other wives and full-grown children. The small boy's are the shepherds. The small bunches of calves, sheep, and goats belonging to most of the villagers can be managed each by a single boy; and if they are large, a man, with the assistance of one or more boys, is put in charge of them. These shepherd boys, often not more than eight or ten years of age, go out with their flocks early in the morning, and remain in the field or on the mountain-sides with them until after sunset. They spend [87] the day in solitude, except when two or three are near enough to each other to converse while they watch their flocks, and their only food is a little tough bread and a small kid-skin bottle of buttermilk. They have usually no means of amusement, but the traveler will now and then see one supplied with a wooden whistle, which sounds about half the notes of the scale and makes a shrill kind of music. These they prize very highly, and they cannot easily be induced to sell them. The children that are too small to do any work are allowed to run about the village uncombed and unwashed, and to roll in the dirt like little pigs. Even the infants are scarcely acquainted with the use of soap and water, and as a consequence half the little children have sore eyes, and many of both the children and the adults are blind in one eye or both. Conder attributes this neglect of cleanliness to a superstition among them in regard to the "evil eye," and says that the children are purposely left dirty and besmirched to avoid the consequences of an envious look.6 This may serve some of them as an excuse, but were we to judge by the uncleanliness of the mothers themselves, we would suppose that the neglect is chiefly due to indifference.

      Avarice, the common sin of humanity, and supposed to be most prevalent among commercial nations, is not more so among any people than among the Fel'lahîn of Palestine. From the oldest to the youngest they are beggars, and they beg, not because they are in want, but because their thirst for money is insatiable. They hope for a gift, which they call buckshîsh', and plead for it without the slightest ground on which to base a claim for it; and when they have received compensation for a service to the full amount agreed on, they still entreat for additional pay in the way of a present. When a gift is bestowed they are never content with the amount of it, but they indicate by the most pitiable tones and looks that they are disappointed. Their avarice is also shown in their methods of making bargains. They cannot buy the smallest amount of any article without long hesitation and debate, and often two men are seen in a loud and apparently angry quarrel, accompanied with violent gesticulation, over a difference of a few cents. If this love of money were rightly directed by a wise government, and by the introduction of capital from more prosperous countries, it might result in making the people enterprising and thrifty.

      Another trait of character which always arrests the attention of the Western traveler, is the disposition to engage in angry and boisterous [88] quarrels without coming to blows. It is seen among the employés in the traveler's own camp, causing him great annoyance; and it appears among all who have dealings likely to involve conflicting interests. Thomson tells a story of a man against whom a neighbor raised a quarrel when he was about to pray. With violent gesticulations he broke forth in the words: "May God curse your grandfather and the father of your great-grandfather! Can't you give a man time to pray? I want to pray."7

      All persons from the West who enjoy personal familiarity with the Ar'abs, or with Syrians of any class, notice their inability to appreciate a jest. They take everything you say in sober earnest, and your best efforts at humor in conversation are lost on them. They indulge in no jesting among themselves, and they know not how to appreciate it in others. As Lieutenant Conder remarks, "The Eastern people are by nature grave and dignified, and they have but little sense of the ludicrous. Their only attempts at witticism are feeble puns."

      The inhabitants of the various villages, like the tribes among the Bed'awin, have a local government of their own entirely distinct from that of the Turks. Every village has its sheikh, who is implicitly obeyed by the citizens; and he, in conjunction with the elders or heads of families, constitutes a kind of informal court for the administration of justice. They have no prisons, but they inflict such penalties as they think proper. They also make provision for such of their number as cannot cultivate the soil for themselves; for example, they cultivate a piece of ground for the religious teacher of the village and one for the village carpenter, who are thus compensated for their labors.8

§ V.


      In some towns and villages of Palestine the people are chiefly Christians, those in Nazareth and Bethlehem being almost exclusively so. Nearly all such belong to the Greek Church, though some are Romanists. These appear to be of the same race as the Fel'lahîn, with perhaps the difference of a greater admixture of European blood. Their belief in Christ is inherited from the remnant of the Christian population which survived the Mohammedan invasion of the seventh [89] century. The Christian portion of the population show a marked superiority in some respects over the Mohammedans. They are not so chaste nor so temperate, and they are equally superstitious; but they are more enterprising in business and better educated. Their women are freer, and both sexes have more cheerfulness and domestic happiness among them. In the dress of both sexes they are easily distinguished from all classes of Mohammedans. The men wear on their heads a red cap like the fez, except that it is hemispherical and has a larger tassel. Their coat is a close-fitting jacket, open in front, and usually ornamented with embroidery. In front, between the lappels of the jacket, is seen an embroidered vest, buttoning up to the chin. Their nether limbs are encased in a pair of trowsers of very voluminous folds, gathered close at each ankle and around the waist by stout draw-strings. It is really a large bag with two holes at the lower corners for the feet to pass through, and a draw-string in the mouth to draw it tight around the waist. It is made of the same material with the jacket,--cloth, silk, or linen,--and is often of fine goods and of the richest colors. At the waist, and covering the connecting point between the vest and the trowsers, is a voluminous sash of various colors, wound several times around the waist, with both ends hanging down by the right thigh. Stockings of cotton or silk and shoes of European patterns cover the ankles and feet. This is by far the most picturesque and pleasing costume seen in Palestine or any part of Western Asia, and when worn by a tall man of graceful action it is unexcelled in appearance by any costume in the world. It is ill suited, however, to horseback riding on account of the narrow stride of the trowsers. Short stirrups are a necessity. Yet even on horseback it must be admitted that a Syrian gentleman presents a much more pleasing appearance than an American. For an overcoat he uses the identical âb'a of the Bed'awin, except that it is made of finer goods and in more pleasing colors. When riding in the sun he very frequently ties the Bed'awin kufeïyeh about his cap, or folds it around the cap in the style of a turban. This is to protect his head and face from the intense heat of the sun. Sometimes a Turk does the same.

      The Christian women dress very much after the European style, except that they wear nothing corresponding to a bonnet or a hat. Their most usual head-covering is a white veil, varying in texture according to the circumstances of the family, folded diagonally, like the kufeïyeh, and laid lightly over the head, leaving the face entirely bare. The pin by which it is fastened to the hair is hidden, so that the veil appears to hang in its place without fastening. Whatever might be [90] thought by American or European ladies, it is the general verdict of male travelers that this is a far more pleasing head-dress than nine-tenths of the bonnets worn in the West.

§ VI.


      The Russian government, the natural guardian of the Greek Church, because it is the only strong nation professing that faith, encourages pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and makes provision out of the national treasury for the protection and the comfort of the pilgrims. Consequently she has planted a kind of colony of priests and their assistants at Jerusalem, at Bethlehem, at Nazareth, and in some less important places. These constitute an influential element of the population. Attached to the consulates of Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States, in Jerusalem, and to the consular agencies of the same in Joppa and Haifa, are a few persons of those nationalities, besides missionaries from Great Britain and America, who are located at various places. These persons are to the traveler a very interesting part of the population; but their number is small, and they can scarcely be regarded as a part of the settled population of the country. There is, however, at Joppa, and also at Haifa, a colony of Germans who have taken up their abode in the country with a view to permanency. Each colony numbers about 300 souls. The Haifa colony was founded in the fall of 1868, and that at Joppa in 1869, the former under the presidency of G. D. Hardegg, and the latter under that of Christopher Hoffman. They were both planted by a German sect called The Temple. Their religious tenets are not fully stated in any work that has come under the eye of the author. Conder, who attempts to set them forth in part, confesses that they are not easily understood, and intimates the opinion that the colonists do not clearly understand themselves.9 It is sufficient for our purpose to remark that they interpret the predictions concerning the restoration of Israel to their own land as referring to its occupation by the spiritual rather than by the literal Israel, and that they are aiming at the fulfillment of those predictions. They contemplate, also, the elevation and conversion of the native inhabitants of the country; but, as explained to the author by one of the number at Haifa, they seek to accomplish this not by sending [91] missionaries to preach to them, but by living among them and setting an example for them to imitate. They hope that the natives will eventually see the superiority of European methods and of a pure religion, and be led to adopt these without other persuasion. At first the colonists had schools in which their own children and those of the natives were taught together; but they found that their own children deteriorated more rapidly than the others improved, and therefore they excluded the native children from their schools.

      1 Compare Conder, vol. ii. 264-67. [78]
      2 Gen. ix. 5, 6. [83]
      3 See Numb. xxxv. [83]
      4 Conder, ii. 233. [84]
      5 Psalm cxvi. 11. [86]
      6 Conder, ii. 232. [88]
      7 Land and Book, i. 206. [89]
      8 Conder, Tent-Work, ii. 256, 268. [89]
      9 II. 302-305. [91]


[LOB 76-92]

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J. W. McGarvey
Lands of the Bible (1881)

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