Know Your History: Jews Looking Out for Their Arab Neighbors Following Earthquake of 1927 (NY Times July 23, 1927)

series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

On July 11th, 1927, a huge earthquake hit then Palestine, killing hundreds and leaving almost 1000 injured.

As the following New York Times Report of July 23rd shows, the Jewish Yishuv asked for funds for earthquake relief – and not just for the Jews.

Note: I cannot provide a link to the full article since it is only available to those who have purchased a NY Times subscription. But I have provided a screenshot below

This flies in the face of the palestinian narrative, which makes out the “Zionists” to be out to eject the Arabs from the land. Surely had we wanted that, we would not have endeavored to help them after the earthquake.

But we already knew this is a false narrative, and the return of many Jews to their homeland at the end of the 19th century corresponded to all inhabitants being better off, Jew and non-Jew alike. This old report is yet another example of this.

Update: According to Mordechai Naor’s: The Twentieth Century in Eretz Israel: A Pictorial History

The Jewish Yishuv made notable efforts at aid and reconstruction for the Arabs. Tel Aviv adopted Nablus and sent rescue teams and supplies. The American Jewish philanthropist Nathan Straus forwarded a special financial grant. The Arabs were so amazed by the aid of the Jewish Yishuv that an Arab journalist announced that out of gratitude, he would refrain, on that day, from bad words against the Jews. On the other hand, sharp criticism was heard of the little help received from the Arab Countries.

Some things never change.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media