A postcard showing the USS North Carolina, which helped to deliver the first packages of financial aid to the Jews of Palestine..
(photo credit: COURTESY US NAVY PHOTO ARCHIVE)
One hundred years ago, the Jews of Palestine suffered terribly from hunger, disease and oppression. The territory was ruled with an iron fist by the Ottoman (Turkish) army. The Middle East teetered on the brink of World War I, and in 1914 Turkey abolished the “capitulation” agreements with European powers, which granted them elements of sovereignty over their subjects in the Ottoman Empire. For many Jews at the time, their French, British and Russian protectors were gone. The financial assistance they received from their European Jewish brethren evaporated.In late 1914, the war in the Middle East began with Turkey massing troops in Palestine and Sinai to move against the British along the Suez Canal. The Turkish army prepared for the attack by forcibly conscripting locals, including Jews, and by looting (so-called “levies”) supplies, food and animals from residents of Palestine.