THE HOLY CITY
"I pray to Allah to destroy the Jews. I pray to Allah to punish President Truman because he has been on the Zionist side. I used to pray against President Roosevelt, a very bad man. . . . May Balfour and Roosevelt take the first place in hell. Allah, Allah, may this be done."
"You sound like a Moslem Republican," I said.
Interview with Sheikh Ismail el Ansary
BEERSHEBA marked the southernmost limits of Biblical Palestine ("from Dan to Beersheba.") Most of its two thousand inhabitants now were Bedouins, or former Bedouins turned to the comforts of town life. Within a year it was to become an almost all-Jewish town, as the Arabs fled and Jewish refugees from Europe were settled there.
Here, in this green, extremely picturesque frontier post and supply oasis we remained for a few days, to raise funds and arrange for transportation to Jerusalem, fifty miles to the north. It was a pleasant respite. The wide, dusty main street was lined with trees. Here passed coffee vendors, porters with stacks of dried skins, and innumerable bronzed Bedouins on camels. A trading and smuggling center, Beersheba trafficked in arms and hasheesh, and also boasted several rifle factories, at this moment working at top speed.