Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Palestine Circa 1896 [VIDEO]

Paris-based preservation company Lobster Films has recovered video footage depicting the land of Palestine 118 years ago

By: Daniel Koren

Published: February 19th, 2014 in News » World

Before it was the State of Israel, it was the known as the land of Palestine, a predominantly Muslim country very much like that of Cairo or Damascus. We’ve read about it in the history books, we’ve heard it mentioned in political conversation, and we’ve brought it up through countless debates.

Though we may have envisioned what it once looked like, or have built images in our minds from various images, there is now actual film footage that shows us society in the land of Palestine, circa 1896.

The footage was recovered by Lobster Films, a Paris-based film preservation company, which released a statement on the film from co-founder Serge Bromberg:

“This year, we have something very special to show. In an antique shop, we have discovered 93 wonderful little camera negatives from c. 1897, all shot in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt, etc.), that would form an ideal 80 [minute] program of what could be among the earliest films shot in the region still in existence. … They are in wonderful condition … Not a scratch, no decomposition, and those little sprocket holes typical of the films of that year.”

As the film commentator notes, at the time, the land had 500,000 inhabitants, 30,000 of whom resided in Jerusalem. While Jewish people formed half the population of Jerusalem, they made up less than 5% of the total population, with 10% Christians, and 85% Muslims. Throughout a scene that depicts a Jewish man praying, the commentator mentions that “although he prays in Hebrew his everyday language is Arabic.”

Watch the video below:

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