During the Ottoman rule, less than 5 percent of Palestine’s population was Jewish

During the Ottoman rule, less than 5 percent of Palestine’s population was Jewish

The Ottomans ruled the contemporary Israel and Palestine for 400 years after their occupation of the land in 1517. Their legacy is still felt today in several aspects.

The legal system of Israel, the religious court records (the sijjil), the land registry (the tapu) and a few architectural gems all testify to the significance of the Ottomans’ presence.

Suleiman the Magnificent who is known as Sultan to the Arabs and Caesar to the Christians never visited Jerusalem but, regarding himself as the second Solomon, he rebuilt most of the and gates that we see today.

During the Ottoman rule, less than 5 percent of the population was Jewish, probably 10 to 15 percent were Christian and remaining were Muslims.

As Yonatan Mendel comments:

“The exact percentage of Jews prior to the rise of Zionism is unknown. However, it probably ranged from 2 to 5%. According to Ottoman records, a total population of 462,465 resided in 1878 in what is today Israel/Palestine. Of this number, 403,795 (87 percent) were Muslim, 43,659 (10 percent) were Christians and 15,011 (3 percent) were Jewish”

The official website of the Israeli foreign ministry relating to the history of Palestine since the sixteenth century states: “Following the Ottoman Conquest in 1517, the Land was divided into four districts, attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. At the outset of the Ottoman era, some 1,000 Jewish families lived in the country, mainly in Jerusalem, Nablus (Schechem), Hebron, Gaza, Safed (Tzfat) and the villages of the Galilee. The community was composed of descendants of Jews who had always lived in the Land as well as immigrants from North Africa and Europe. Orderly government, until the death (1566) of Sultan Suleiman the magnificent, brought improvements and stimulated Jewish immigration. Some newcomers settled in Jerusalem but the majority went to Safed where, by the mid-16th century, the Jewish population had risen to about 10,000, and the town had become a thriving textile centre.”

[Research by Fidato]


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