Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] Jewish carpet, circa. 1918; machine pile weave made in Jerusalem by the Alliance Israelite Universelle School. Felton-18.
A rare portrait of the Zionist rug weave series as it depicts a hero of the then mortal enemy of the Zionist movement and Jewish settlement in Palestine - the Ottoman Turkish empire: in December 1914 the Ottoman authorities expelled 6000 Russian-born Jews from Jaffa, and by spring of 1915 more than 11,000 Russian-born Jews had been expelled or fled to Egypt; Jews who remained in Palestine were subject to draft into the Ottoman army or press-ganged into Ottoman labor brigades; in April 1917 the population of Tel Aviv - some 10,000 Jews - was ordered to evacuate the city (to Jerusalem or to settlements in the north), and up to 1,500 perished from hunger, disease and cold during the winter of 1917-1918.
The portrait is based on a 1918 photograph of Kemal, hence the estimated date of the rug: after Palestine's liberation by the British and the ensuing exhileration there is little reason to believe that the AIU would produce such a portrait even if for touristic or nostaligic purposes of a figure who represented a force that almost extinguished the Jewish community of Ottoman Palestine. Kemal Atatürk founded the modern republic of Turkey and served as her first Prime Minister; he was the hero of the Gallipoli campaign, defeating the British incursion there, and served twice in the Palestine theater as the head of the Turkish 7th Army in July 1917 and in August 1918. One historian writes that Kemal was "the only Turkish general in the war who never suffered a defeat".
מילות מפתח: שטיח יהודי ציוני מוסטפא כמאל, פלשתינה ארץ ישראל