The Acre Plane

 

 

The Acre Plane as seen from Rosh Hanikra (The Ladder of Tyre): The shore of the Acre Plain is inclined with no cliffs. Some of these form islets or break the surface at low water, as can be seen from Nahariya and Rosh ha-Niqra. Many settlements, both ancient and new, have been built upon this ridge. The Plain runs for 12 1/2 miles northwards as far as the Ladder of Tyre, near Rosh ha-Niqra and continues as far as the river Kasimya in Lebanon. The city of Acre is situated on the northern end of Haifa Bay, 14 miles north of Haifa.
Biblically speaking, Acre was one of the cities allotted to the tribe of Asher, but it was not captured: "Asher drove not out the inhabitants of Acre..." (Judges 1:31). King Solomon later ceded the whole of the territory in which Acre was a part.

 

The gallows chamber of the Acre prison where Shlomo Ben Yosef and other Jewish prisoners were killed:  Towards the end of World War I the British issued the Balfour Declaration declaring that Palestine would be the homeland of the Jewish people. At the same time the British promised Palestine to the Arabs. The Acco fortress and its infamous hanging room became know as the symbol of British imperialism. 21 year old Shlomo Ben-Yosef and two of his friends attacked an Arab bus in retaliation for Arab attacks on Jewish settlements. Although no one was hurt he was arrested and interned in Acre prison and sentenced to death by hanging. Despite world-wide appeals for clemency he was the first Jew hanged at the gallows of Acre prison by the British. It is reported that his last words were "Let the world see that Jews are not afraid to face death." Twenty four Jews were sentenced to death by hanging at the Acre prison. In 1947 a joint effort between the Etzel, Lehi and Hagannah led to a mass breakout from the jail.

After the Ottoman conquest in 1516 Acre regained its importance as a port, and Jews gradually began to return, but Jewish settlement remained low under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks retained Acre as their capital and the seat of their high commissioner -- the "Pasha." Ahmad (1775 - 1805), an infamous Pasha, was so notorious for his cruelty that the Arabs dubbed him "Jazzar" -- the cut-throat. Jazzar fortified Acre and erected many public buildings including the outer city walls, a majestic mosque, and a bath house.

 

The spectacular aqueduct built through the Acre Plain in the 18th century by the governors of Acre: It runs to the city from the Kari springs.

Aerial view of Acre from the northwest. The outer wall of the city, as well as the al-Jazzar Mosque, was build by Ahmad al-Jazzar, governor of Acre from 1775 to 1804. The new city can be seen in the background, and in the distance the hills of Galilee. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Palestine and heavily invested in the battle Acre, hoping to conquer it  in a short time, push north and subjugate Turkey, and establish a new eastern empire and wrest India from Great Britain. Jazzar, backed by Britain and the British fleet (under the command of Sir Sidney Smith), defended Acre so well that Napoleon was forced to leave without completing his mission.

 

 


 

 

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23 Jul 2007 / 8 Av 5767 0