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The fall of Jerusalem

15 December 2017

December 14th, 1917.

JUST 2,070 years ago on Monday the Holy City was delivered by the valiant Maccabees. The Jews in London were celebrating the Maccabean festival when the glorious news that Jerusalem is now in our hands was announced. On Tuesday our victorious commander, General Allenby, unfurled the banner of England’s patron, St George, over the city, as our crusading ancestors, eight centuries since, planted there the Standard of the Cross. They, however, did so not without the slaughter of many of the inhabitants; the circumstances of its capture by General Allenby reflect the changed manner of our day. As Mr Bonar Law announced in the Commons, it had even been delayed in the last stages by the desire not to damage the holy places, so that the final task was achieved bloodlessly. General Allenby’s entry into the city, stately yet simple, as became the unique occasion, presented a striking contrast to that of the German Kaiser in 1898. Masquerading in the character of Protector of the Prophet’s faithful followers, robed in a white mantle and mounted on a white horse, he led his train through Jerusalem’s sacred streets. If the event of Tuesday should efface the memory of the Kaiser’s pageantry, that would indeed be something, but what we shall anxiously await is the political and military consequence. To close observers it has been for some time apparent that the Turks, at last disillusioned as regards their relations with their German taskmaster, would be glad of an opportunity to drop out of the war. Will the loss of Jerusalem, added to the fall of Baghdad, so shake their moral that they will cry for peace? We shall see. But for the redemption of the Holy City from the hands that have so long oppressed it Laus Deo.


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