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Home / Tradition / International conference "Jerusalem in Russian Spiritual tradition" / Some lecturs of international conference "Jerusalem in Russian Spiritual tradition" / Speech of Professor Yehoshua Ben-Arieh. prof. of geography, pres. of the section of Israeli scholars at the conference. Greetings to the participants of the conference on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Speech of Professor Iehoshua Ben-Arieh
prof. of geography, pres.of the section of Israeli scholars at the conference.
Greetings to the participants of the conference on behalf of the HebrewUniversity. Jerusalem
On behalf of the Hebrew University and especially on behalf of the Department of Geography, I was once, before, the former Rector of the Hebrew University and Chairman and the Head of the Department of Geography. I want to congratulate the organizers on arranging this important Conference about the Russian, Jerusalem the Russian still show a special tradition.
I will say two, three points. I will try to stress, I myself worked about exploration of the travelers that came to the Holy Land, mainly to the City of Jerusalem. But my studies were concentrated, mainly on countries, which I knew the languages. So I wrote a lot about the British presence in the Holy Land and there were books that were written by many British travelers, scholars. English societies were established in the country, which has coined the Palestine expression: Fun.
I worked in London for many years in the archives and I found a lot of material about the City of Jerusalem and already in 1970 I published a book, which is called: The Rediscovery of the Holy Land in the 19th Century, which was translated also English and also to French in a way. So a lot was done not only by myself, but my students and many other scholars about the presence of the British in the Holy Land, in Jerusalem.
Some of my students followed me and one of the students who will give here also a lecture today, Professor Haim Goren, devoted all his studies to the German presence in the Holy Land, because he knew very well the German language. He spent a lot of time in Germany and published already until now two, three books about the presence of the Germans and cooperated with many German institutions. And there were many conferences here and in Germany about the connections between Germany and the Holy Land.
Other students concentrated on the French and their connections to the Holy Land: The buildings, the Notre dam, the France, the other buildings that were built here in the City of Jerusalem, like the Germans with their Augusta Victoria, the Notre dam. But I am very sorry to say, that very little, very, very little was done until now about the presence of the Russians in the Holy Land.
The presence of the Russians in the Holy Land is not less important than the presence of the British or the German or the French. And if you are looking to the landscape of the city of Jerusalem you see the huge buildings that were built by the Russians: the Russian Compound, the Alexander Nievski Church, the Maria Magdalena, Ein Carem.
Everywhere if you go in the country you will see the Moscowia, all the buildings, all the presence of the Russians. But very little was written about it. Even the Israelis dont know about it. He did it without a visit to- It was written in Hebrew, not in other languages. The reasons are very, very well known.
First of all, the Israeli scholars didnt know, dont know the Russian language and they cannot come to the Russian sources, to the primary sources like they know English or German or French. The second thing was that we didnt have the connections with the Russian Scholars like we had the connections with the British, with the French, with the German.
Now the situation is changed completely and we have many, many students, because of the youth that came from Russia and there are many students in our department in the University that know very well, that their mother language is Russian. They can use the sources. They can write studies about it. And there are beginnings of it and you will see in this Conference some of the young people, which they were until now some important studies on the Russian connection and the Russian presence in Jerusalem and in all the other parts of the country and I think this is very important. This is one side.
On the other side we see that in the Conference here that there is now an interest between the Russian academy, between the scholars and the Russian scholars to develop this type of study. I can compare it in a way to what has happened in the last 10 years in the Jewish studies that are in Russia. Its flourishing today. Many institutions were established in Russia, in the Soviet Union, to develop the studies of Jewish Studies. And here, in the Hebrew University more than 20 PhD dissertations are written about the Jewish connections in Russia and other places.
So what I suggest now, that the same thing will start to happen in the field of study of the connection, of the presence of Russia in the Holy Land, which is very important from a scholarly point of view. We have now the students that can do it. We have now the connection with Russia. We can get the help. We can use the material. We can use the archives.
I will bring you only one, two more examples about it but still is doesnt prove. For instance I used to go to the Alexander Yewski Church in the Old City with my students to show them. Its very important. There are very important archeological excavations there. I cannot go there anymore. Its closed. I am trying to go there. I am calling. No, I cannot go there.
Why I can go to the British Church? Why I can go to the German? Why I can go to the French and the Russian places are being closed. I used to take my students to the Maria Magdalena. Its a wonderful place to see and to explain them. Its very difficult to there. I go to Ein Carem and other places. So you have to understand that this has to be the interest of both sides, in the interest of both sides, because if the Israelis will know the contribution of the Russians to the City of Jerusalem they will appreciate it much better.
On the other hand, we can find now many students that will do studies about it, will publish about it, not only in the Russian language. It will be very important to publish in Hebrew. Not only in English, in Hebrew that the Israeli people will know about the presence of Russians in the Holy Land.
So what I suggest is that this will be a beginning of cooperation between the Hebrew University with scholars, with academic people here with the Russian institutions together to develop the field of study of the Russian presence in the Holy Land. And I see in this Conference a beginning of it. And I want to congratulate the organizers for doing this Conference. Thank you very much.
Professor Iehoshua Ben-Arieh
Prof. of geography, pres.of the section of Israeli scholars at the conference.
November 1st 2005
Jerusalem. Beit-Maerzdorf.
Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Mount Scopus

  © 2005 The Orthodox Scientific Educational Society
"Russia in colours" in Jerusalem