A Will to Survive’ recalls Arab ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem’s Jews

A "Life" magazine photojournalist provides a dramatic firsthand account of the fall of the Jewish Quarter in 1948, and documents the Arab Legion’s scorched-earth tactics that razed and burned to the ground every structure there, including all its synagogues and yeshivahs. The Arabs expelled all of the city’s residents, mainly defenseless, old Orthodox Jews. They were given about an hour to vacate homes that most extended families had lived in for centuries.

Jerusalem Mayor Mordechai Weingarten is accompanied by Arab fighters at the end of May 1948 to sign surrender documents to the city, specifically to the Jewish Quarter, where generations of Jewish families had lived and were forced to evacuate. It would remain restricted to Jews until June 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, May 1948. Courtesy: John Phillips, “Life” magazine, as reprinted in his book, “A Will to Survive.”


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