- Written by Israel Antiquities Authority
The paintings, drawn by the hospital’s founder, depict Crusader knights in armor wearing swords and note, among other things the French knights’ genealogy
The Israel Antiquities Authority provided emergency treatment for the paintings and a donation is currently needed to conserve them
Wall paintings recounting the Crusader history of Jerusalem were recently exposed when the sisters of Saint-Louis Hospital, near the Old City of Jerusalem, were organizing the storerooms. In addition, a burst water pipe in the building revealed drawings that were concealed beneath modern plaster and paint.
In the wake of the discovery, IAA conservators came to the hospital and assisted the sisters with ‘first aid’ in cleaning and stabilizing some of the wall paintings. The paintings are in the style characteristic of monumental church decorations of the nineteenth century, with close attention to small details and motifs drawn from the world of medieval art.
Saint-Louis Hospice – an impressive two story structure built in the Renaissance and Baroque style – is situated next to the Jerusalem municipal building and bustling IDF Square, outside the Old City walls and opposite the New Gate. The place is named after St. Louis IX, King of France (the leader of the Seventh Crusade 1248–1254 CE) and was opened to the public in 1896. Today, parts of the building are not opened to visitors because it serves as a hospital and hospice for the chronic and terminally ill.
The hospital is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. This order treats the sick regardless of religion, age or sex. Besides the sacred work performed there, the inside of the building contains a fascinating historical narrative and an artistic treasure.
The hospital was founded at the initiative of a French count, Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat, a man of many accomplishments, an intellectual and devout Christian who visited Jerusalem a number of times in the second half of the nineteenth century, and passed away there in 1925.
The ancient landscape of the Holy Land and Jerusalem in particular, were deeply etched in de Piellat’s personality and strengthened his Christian faith. De Piellat was shocked by the meager Catholic presence in Jerusalem and was concerned about the increasing power of the Greek Orthodox Church and its representatives in Jerusalem – the Russians. It should be mentioned that in the late nineteenth century the great powers fought amongst themselves for the control and religious hegemony of Jerusalem.
The count decided to act and between 1879 and 1896 he constructed the hospital which replaced a smaller, more modest facility in the Christian Quarter inside the Old City walls. He subsequently established another enormous and spectacular compound nearby – Notre Dame de France, a hostel designed to serve Christian pilgrims and provide for their needs.
The particular area the count selected for constructing the hospital was not accidental. De Piellat considered himself a descendant of the Crusaders, as well as the last Crusader. He wished to continue the work of those Latin kings, knights and nobility who were in Jerusalem some nine hundred years before. Therefore, he chose to locate the hospital in the historic area where the army of the Norman king Tancred camped, before it, together with Tancred’s allies, breached Jerusalem’s city walls in 1099 CE and vanquished the city by storm and brutality.
De Piellat, who was also an artist, adorned the walls of the hospital and its ceiling with huge paintings portraying Crusader knights in their armor and wearing swords. Alongside these giant figures he painted the heraldry (symbols/signs) of the French knights’ families, wrote their names and noted their genealogy. He also added the symbols of the Crusader cities, symbols of the military orders and monastic orders. The sight was spectacular; the enormous halls and endless rooms of the hospital were illuminated with the Crusader history of Jerusalem.
The Turks took possession of the building during the First World War (1914–1918). They covered the breathtaking frescoes with black paint. At the end of the war the count returned to the hospital in his old age. De Piellat devoted the rest of his life to removing the black paint and re-exposing the frescoes. He passed away at the hospital in 1925.
Interest was recently renewed in the lost and concealed wall paintings when they were revealed once again in all their glory. These magnificent paintings are a piece of history and a rare work of art. Funds are currently needed for their conservation, exposure and documentation. It should be noted there is no intention of turning the hospital into a tourist attraction in order that the humble and quiet sacred work done there may continue.
Click here to download high resolution photographs:
1–6. De Piellat’s paintings adorn the walls of the hospital.
7. Previously unknown frescoes painted by de Piellat were exposed in the wake of a burst water pipe.
8. The room that was used as a storeroom. Other paintings by de Piellat were discovered while reorganizing it.
Photographic credit: courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
- Written by Romanian Embassy
Continuing the festivities connected to Europe Day, the Embassy of Romania to the State of Israeland the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv are proud to invite you to the events celebratingEurope Day, organized by the Haifa Center for German and European Studies (HCGES) and the Student Union of Haifa University on . Romania will be present at the events with a national stand within the European Market, open to the public between (please see invitation attached). at the Café Deshe area at Haifa University campus
The Embassy of Romania in Israel will offer general information brochures and leaflets, and will bring to the attention of the Israeli students the various educational opportunities available in Romania, as well as the curriculum of the Romanian language Department at the Tel Aviv University.
Also, at the stand, RCI Tel Aviv will present its programs, Romanian language courses and events for the current year, will distribute informative materials and will accept subscriptions to its data base and newsletter.
Europe Day will be celebrated through the European Market, during which every state participating at the events will be represented by a national stand, as well as through a round table (“The EU Greatest Challenges Today”) and an international conference (“Social Issues in Contemporary Europe: Cosmopolitanism, Gender, and Urban Spaces”) attended by the ambassadors of the European Union member states (please see the poster attached).
Looking forward to see you there!
Embassy of Romania to the State of Israel
- Written by Office of the President
President Peres to the Diplomatic Corps:
"You have to say to the authorities in Gaza; decide if you want peace and prosperity? You must say no-one will finance your missiles, your tunnels or your ideology."
"We are not against unity if they accept the conditions necessary to be united (the conditions of the Quartet)."
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, hosted a reception this afternoon at his residence in Jerusalem for the Diplomatic Corps in Israel and addressed the current state of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. President Peres called upon the Ambassadors to pressure Hamas to accept the conditions set out by the Quartet and said, "Ambassadors, our friends, and I know you care about peace as much as I do. Gaza is today the greatest obstacle to an agreement. Why do they need 10,000 missiles? You have to say to the authorities in Gaza, decide if you want peace and prosperity or not. You must say no-one will finance your missiles, your tunnels or your ideology. We are not against unity if they accept the conditions necessary to be united (the conditions of the Quartet). I believe that diplomacy in an uncertain time can prepare a road that will make the process easier and the future more promising."
President Peres continued and said that Israel continues to search for peace, "We shouldn't lose hope, we should continue negotiations. I believe that while there is an interruption in the negotiations it is not a stop. We have to renew the negotiations and I believe they will be renewed, none of us has a better alternative. None of us can make peace without the other party. It's normal that when you make peace you have differences and that the opening positions are not the same as the final ones."
Addressing the diplomats Foreign Minister Lieberman said, "We expect the international community to stand by its commitments and demand that Hamas abide by the three conditions laid out by the Quartet. The renunciation of violence, Recognizing the State of Israel, Accept previously signed agreement. Two additional issues that cannot be compromised on are a Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People and the abandonment of the so-called Palestinian "right of return". Any attempt to advance an agreement without an explicit recognition of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People by the Palestinians will be a non-starter. The meeting yesterday in Qatar between Abbas and Khaled Meshaal and the recent developments in Judea and Samaria demonstrate with certainty that Hamas is on its way to controlling the whole Palestinian Authority. Regardless of when elections will take place, it is clear that Hamas will win convincingly. This will be the result of the recent agreement signed with Hamas by Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas brought Hamas to power in Gaza and he is now bringing them to power in Judea and Samaria. However, we are determined to prevent Judea and Samaria from becoming the new Gaza. Israel seeks peace, Israel wants an agreement, but we will not be fools."
Photo : President with the Ambassadors Kobi Gidon
Photo President Peres : Silvia G Golan
- Written by Office of the President
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, sang a special duet with the singer Rita
President Peres to the 120 Outstanding Soldiers:
"On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I salute you"
"You are the guarantors of our safety. A deterrent to our enemies. The promise of our peace. A bridge to peace and security."
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, hosted the central Independence Day celebrations at his residence in Jerusalem this morning. The celebrations included the ceremony honoring the 120 outstanding soldiers and the "Singing Independence with the President" event which has become an Independence Day tradition. The event was attended by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yaalon and Chief of Staff Gantz who each sang a song they had selected along with Israeli artists.
The ceremony began with an IAF fly-over as a salute to the 120 outstanding soldiers who were chosen by their commanders for making an exceptional contribution to the IDF and who represent the cross-spectrum of the IDF. Following the fly-over President Peres and Chief of Staff Gantz inspected the soldiers.
During his remarks to the soldiers President Peres said, "I look upon your glowing faces and your shining eyes and I'm as excited as you are. I'm excited and I'm proud of you. You are the sons and daughters of an ancient people, who was granted redemption in a land that is small in size but great in its moral call. You are the new generation of the IDF, an army that was attacked seven times, which fought and maintained its values. An army that built a wall of security to deter our enemies, to grant security to its people. From the day our country was born until this day we have faced a stark choice: To cease or to win." President Peres continued and said, "The bravery of the soldiers of the IDF is worth more than any other resource. Israel is not a passing shadow but a reality as strong as stone. There is nothing like Israel. She overcome accepted standards and created thrilling exceptions. You are the proof that even without quantity, we can reach quality through excellence. And you are the sons and daughters of a nation who only decades ago experienced the Holocaust, and since then has known wars. You are the children of a nation that was exiled to the four corners of the earth and came to together again to be as one. In the Middle East many nations have collapsed and languages have disappeared, and you still speak the language of your prophets. Israel is a leap more than a move. Israel is a constant surprise that broke routines but maintained its heritage. From her first day Israel is a democracy. A thriving democracy but not a destructive one. Israel created a pluralistic society where the scaffolding remains. While she is filled with self-criticism, Israel also discovers that volunteerism flows through the nation to repair, to improve, to complete. Our existence here is guaranteed by the heroism of our soldiers, by the dedication of our pioneers and our concern for those that will come after us."
President Peres concluded his remarks and said, "You are role models for your peers. Every generation surpasses the one before it and every generation is carried upon the shoulders of those that came before it. There are new expanses in which to learn, the secrets of which carry great potential. I knew all the generations that came before you. Every generation made its contribution as necessary to stand in the face of the winds that blew at the time. Your generation will need to stand against more demanding winds blowing from distant horizons more than immediate borders. Your generation is better prepared, is better equipped, is faster, is more accurate, is more varied, is more updated. A generation whose feet are planted on the ground but who mind is already in the future. The IDF and the security forces are respected as the greatest force in the fight against terror and an organization that can produce enormous power. You are the guarantors of our safety. A deterrent to our enemies. The promise of our peace. A bridge to peace and security. The IDF instilled important values in you. Patriotism, camaraderie, mutual responsibility and the search for peace. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I salute you and your commanders. You are the best. From the President's Residence in Jerusalem, in Israel I congratulate your parents and all the people of Israel. Happy Independence Day"
Prime Minister Netanyahu also congratulated the soldiers and said, "I am always proud to be the Prime Minister of Israel but especially so today. The outstanding soldiers operate in the air, in the water and on land to ensure the security of the state. I know that we have who to rely upon when we send you on operations. I want to thank your parents who raised and educated you to contribute to the state, thank you on behalf of the citizens of Israel."
Defense Minister Yaalon said, "This is a day of pride for the State of Israel. To meet these soldiers, who together with their peers, show initiative and ensure the security of Israel, it lifts my soul. The State of Israel can be proud of its soldiers and officers."
Following the remarks by President Peres, the Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gantz spoke to the soldiers and said, "The outstanding soldiers standing here today represent our officers and soldiers who are always on guard, including right now. On land, in the air and in the water, along all our borders, on the front lines and the home front our forces operate with unparalleled dedication and courage. It is because of those soldiers that we can celebrate Independence Day – and thanks to them we will continue to celebrate our freedom."
The celebrations at the President's Residence were broadcast live on Israeli television, websites across the world and on President Peres' Facebook page.
Photos by Silvia G Golan
- Written by KKL
B'nai B'rith World Center and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Held a unique Holocaust Day Ceremony Marking the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers
Ceremony was dedicated to commemorating the efforts of rescuer Jonas Eckstein who operated in Slovakia
Jerusalem (April 28, 2014): Today, B'nai B'rith World Center and KKL-JNF held a unique joint commemoration ceremony in a Martyr's Forest "Scroll of Fire" Plaza - the only one in Israel and worldwide that is dedicated to commemorating the activity and heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the years of torment in Europe.
The central theme of this year's event was glorification of the actions and heroism of thousands of Jews who, under impossible conditions, rescued other Jews during the Holocaust, in various ways such as concealment, smuggling, subterfuge and falsification. Bravely and courageously, they were able to disrupt the Nazi extermination machine and ensure the survival of their siblings. They acted throughout Germany, Hungary, the Axis powers, and all other occupied states.
This year, the ceremony focused on the figure of Jonah (Jonas) Eckstein (1902-1971) who worked to save thousands of Jews in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust. The daughter of Yona Eckstein, Tova Teitelbaum and his grandson, a reporter of Kol Israel, Beni Teitelbaum, received in his name the title of a Jew lifeguard from Alan Schneider, Director of the B'nai B'rith World Center. Yona Eckstein was an active member of the Jewish community and a successful wrestler in "Hakoach" Jewish sport club. His sporting activities allowed Eckstein to befriend city officials and police which later facilitated his rescue activities. These connections helped him years later in the rescue operations.
His diverse activity touched thousands of people over a period of two and half years and encompassed food distribution to Jewish prisoners with government authorization which he utilized to clandestinely deliver food to hidden Jews along with information vital for their survival; hosting orphans from Poland and facilitating their conveyance to pre-state Israel via Hungary; hosting Jews who fled to Slovakia from Auschwitz; hosting and conveying Polish Jews to the relative safety of Hungary; and hiding Jews in bunkers – including one he dug under his own basement. Eckstein was imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo and pressured by the Jewish leaders to hand over hidden Jews
The ceremony was held in presence of MK Amram Mitzna, Chair of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee, Slovak ambassador Hon. Radovan Javorcik, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz.
Photo Caption: Tova Eckstein (in the center with cane) and the Teitelbaum family with MK Amram Mitzna, Chair of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee, Slovak ambassador Hon. Radovan Javorcik, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz.
Photo Credit: Rafi Kotz