Jerusalem, Israel - Dec. 12, 2017 - A new Tower of David Museum exhibition, "A General and a Gentleman: Allenby at the Gates of Jerusalem" opened on Monday, erev Chanukkah. A tour of the exhibition with curators Dr. Nirit Shalev Khalifa and Dina Grossman revealed dozens of new artifacts. Included on display is the sefer Torah, with engraved dedication to Allenby from Dr. Chaim Weizmann. The exhibit expands on details of the myths and legends around the historic time when General Edmund Henry Allenby entered Jaffa Gate, on December 11, 1917, marking the end of centuries of Ottoman rule.
World War I was the first time soldiers in the field had private cameras and to document war time battlefields and locations. Private collections, as well as official photographs by Lars Larson are on display.
Eilat Lieber, Director of the Tower of David Museum, stated "The Tower of David is the Museum of the city of Jerusalem and we commemorate crucial events in the city's history by creating compelling exhibitions that bling alive for the general public the historic moments that have shaped our city. Allenby's dramatic entrance to Jerusalem and his appearance before residents of the city actually took place on the steps of the Citadel of The Tower of David Museum. We are excited that, after 100 years, we can recreate that historic event."
For the historic reenactment, Viscount Henry J H Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe (great great nephew of General Allenby), his mother Sara Viscountess Allenby, and Mr John Benson (great grandson of Major General Shea) came from England to participate.
Actors in costumes mingled with the public in the area outside of Jaffa Gate. Hundreds of curious locals joined with tourists who came from as far as Australia to wave their colorful flags.
Dr. Avshalom Kor, highly regarded Israeli linguist and expert on Hebrew grammar and semantics, acted as master of ceremonies. Kor noted. on December 11, 1917, at the official ceremony, Hebrew was used as an official language for the first time since the times of the Jewish Temple.
Slowly, through the crowd which had swelled to thousands, entered the procession of Allenby, Lawrence of Arabia, General Shea, and costumed actors dressed as local inhabitants of Jerusalem in 1917.
Dignitaries and representatives of the communities of Jerusalem came out of the heavy doors of the main entrance and took their places. Kor introduced readers of Allenby's declaration, first in English, followed by seven other languages. Honored with reading in Hebrew was Rabbi David Menachem.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke in Hebrew and English, mentioning when he was young his neighborhood was named for Allenby.
Repeatedly noted by Tower of David personnel, on December 11, 1917, Allenby entered Jaffa Gate on foot, did not post flags, and did all he could not to offend locals, all opposite to when the Kaiser entered Jerusalem years earlier.