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the events that took place in and around Jerusalem in con

nection with the death and resurrection of Christ. 3. Volunteer group of boys give the story of General Allenby and

the “last Crusade." 4. On a map of the world trace the route you may take on a

future business trip by rail from Calcutta or Bombay, India to Cape Town, South Africa. What fuel will doubtless be used in the locomotives that pull your train?



The native inhabitants of Palestine, though often called Arabs, are really Syrians who speak the Arabic language. They are Semites (descendants of Shem), and racially are cousins of the Arabs and Jews. A large percentage of them have a mixture of the blood, of several nations in their veins. Many are descended from the Crusaders, and the surname, "Salibi” (Crusader) is frequently heard.

The population is about 1,000,000, one half of whom are Christians, which in this country only means that they are not Jews nor Moslems. The other

JERUSALEM half are Syrian Moslems with a few Arabs who have drifted in from the desert. Practically no native Jews live in Palestine.




Palestine is inhabited by three classes: (1) the Bedouin, or nomads of the desert and steppe lands, are found in small tribes of from four to twenty tents pitched outside the towns; (2) the Fellaheen, who are tillers of the soil and shepherds, live in villages; (3) the Madaniyeh, who are artisans, dwell in towns and cities.

Villages, ancient and modern.—The houses in the villages are so close together that a village looks like a fragment of a city. In olden times this was done for safety, the chief house or building being placed in the middle and a watchman kept on the roof (2 Kings. 9. 17). Many abandoned villages are seen in Palestine, for the country has suffered much under the evil rule of the Turks.

The villages of the present day are usually located on hilltops or near some spring or other source of water supply. Many have been built oveor the ruins and out of the materials of old ones, but there are no modern peasant villages in the country. Practically all towns are walled, and the gates are closed at sunset. The streets of the villages are narrow, crooked, and unpaved. Farmers comprise the chief population. The farmer grows vegetables, olives, grapes, and other kinds of fruits and some grain on small pieces of land scattered here and there near his village. These parcels of land are separated from each other by loose stone walls or hedges of thorn.

Land holdings.—On the plains the fields are larger and are frequently owned in common. The land in some places is divided into three grades, according to quality. The fields are apportioned every year by lot, so the farmer gets some soil of each quality. The boundary line between the pieces is a furrow or succession of furrows with stones placed at intervals in them. When the curses were pronounced on Mount Gerizim, fourteen centuries before Christ, there was one against the one "that removeth his neighbor's landmark” (Deut. 27. 17). The worker on each strip pays the government tax or tithe. These lands are not fertilized, but rest (are fallowed) every other year (Hos. 10. 12). No buildings are erected on the farms except on the holdings of farm colonies or agricultural schools operated chiefly by the Germans and the Zionists.

The village lands are mireh, or state lands, which revert to the government in case there are no legal heirs. Nine degrees of ownership are recognized from the man through his child, grandchild, brother's children and grandchildren, until the wife, who is last on the list, is reached (Ruth 4). If there is no kinsman to redeem the land and it is sold, the degree of ownership is counted from the new owner. Mulk land, which is transferable, is usually in a city or village, or it may be a border of land six or seven rods wide around the town. Extra tax is paid for any piece of this land when a house is built upon it. Land held by religious establishments, schools, or (rarely) some family, is called makf land, and is never supposed to change its classification. Some of these properties, especially at Jerusalem and Hebron, are very valuable. The British government, which now controls Palestine, is making no change in the laws concerning land holdings. The laws have been in force for centuries in this country where “a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbor” to bind the bargain when land changed hands (Ruth 4. 7).


The materials used in houses vary with the levels of the country. The mountain homes are of stone Those on lower lands are built of sun-dried bricks with thatched roofs covered with clay. In the villages the houses are placed close together except for the small walled-in inclosures used for sheepfolds, through which people usually pass when entering the home.

Shelter for man and beast. The walls of the house are three to four feet thick and roofed with a dome of stone or thatch coated with clay. A steep, unrailed outside stairway leads to the roof, the flat part of which is used for drying figs and raisins, and as a sitting room for the family during the hot weather.

The house itself usually consists of one large square room. Two thirds of the space is occupied by a raised platform (El mastaby) some six or eight feet above the ground supported by arches of masonry. The raised space furnishes the living quarters of the family, while the lower part is used for the animals. A few narrow stone steps lead up to the mastaby. Until about half a century ago it was considered unsafe to build windows in


a house because of robbers and other enemies. Now most homes have two small windows high up from the ground which furnish light and ventilation for the entire house!

An open fireplace with a chimney running through the wall to the roof occupies one side of the room. Not all the homes have chimneys. No outlet is provided for the smoke except a hole in the ceiling. The furniture is very simple and usually consists of a decorated chest (in which the bride brought her trousseau), and a straw mat or heavy woolen rug. The mattresses, thick quilts, and hard pillows, which are sometimes piled on a shelflike bench or stored in a recess in the wall, are spread upon the floor at night. Many peasants sleep out of doors half the year.

The daily bread.—The grain and food bins of clay are on one side of the room, and jars of water and olive oil are placed in corners or against the wall. A goat-skin water bag is hung on a peg near by. The wheat is ground in a handmill of black rock, the lower stone of which is embedded in a trough of clay shaped to receive the flour as it drops. Two women usually work at a

MILL, PALESTINE mill (Matt. 24. 41). It takes them four or five hours to prepare one day's supply of flour for the family, as bread is the chief food.

Bread is quite commonly made from wheat, but the poorer people often use barley and millet. The loaves are baked in a dome-shaped clay oven four or five feet across, built outside the house. This oven is heated by a fire of dried grass, twigs, manure, or olive refuse banked against the outside. The fire is allowed to smolder during the night and the oven is thus heated for the next day's work. In some localities community ovens are used and the women take their turns at baking.


Copyright by Underwood & Underwool.


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