Templars as Proto-Zionists? The "German Colony" in Late Ottoman Haifa
Zionist historiography depicts mid-nineteenth-century German colonists in Palestine as forerunners of the Zionist movement, much as the early Zionists themselves had adopted them as "a model to be emulated." Using the recently discovered Haifa sijill and other local sources, the author reveals how the Templars appeared in the eyes of the Palestinians in whose country they came to settle. The rather different flip side of the Zionist portrayal that emerges suggests that the model can be reversed and extended into the present.
Mahmoud Yazbak, associate professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Haifa, is author of Haifa in the Late Ottoman Period, 1864-1914: A Muslim Town in Transition (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 1998).