My Mother’s Family — Part 13

The boycott did not change grandfather’s economical situation. The French Railway Company did not fire him and his Muslim and Christian customers went on coming to his shop, their number even grew. It is difficult to deceive the whole world without the world finally finding out the truth. Schönberg’s children did not suffer either from the boycott for they all went to the French School in Jaffa (boys and girls separately) and were not sent away from school. Grandmother who was a quiet and modest woman was also a very strong woman. She had already known many misfortunes and grief. She knew her Moritz well and knew from her first year of marriage with him that he is not a man who would suffer injustice and keep mum.

This whole affair did not remain a copyright of the “Hashkafa”. All the Hebrew newspapers of Israel gave a lot of publicity to the incident and to the notice of boycott of Michal Pines. It traveled as far as Vienna and was even published in detail by “Die-Welt”, the Zionist newspaper in the German language which was founded by Herzl. The problem was that not only in “Hashkafa” but in all the other newspapers the details of the incident were distorted and my grandfather understood that so as not to let them perpetrate this lie it is incumbent upon him to publish his own story. And so on the 13th of June 190,4 he published his own version as well as his opinion on the whole matter. His report was long and detailed. Publishing it was important and useful to grandfather since those people in Israel and abroad who did not know all the details of this incident and were fed and deceived by the lies published by Usishkin’s gang finally discovered the facts that were presented by Schönberg and this made them doubt the honesty and authenticity of the members of the Usishkin Organization Committee. It should be said in favor of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda that he did not refuse to publish grandfathers version without omitting a single word.

Grandfather did not suffer physically but suffered miserably mind and soul. Two years went by with this boycott humiliating and deriding him to the point of depression. But his hope about the way that this evil will end did finally materialize: Many Jews, in growing numbers, public figures, businessmen, valued merchants, all honorable men of good standing could not support anymore the poisonous atmosphere in the city, the injustice which is being done to a man in bright daylight and the ridicule of the gentiles. (By 1906 nothing remained of the Israeli Organization and only the operators remained shrinking in dark corners). Two of these conciliatory Jews: S.Z. Gissin and Yitzhak Hayutman decided to ask four other honorable men to act as arbitrators in the “trial” which was carried out two years ago at the office of what used to be the Executive Committee of the Organization and dealing with the complaint of Dr. Hillel Yaffe against Moritz Schönberg. The four men, including Z.D. Levontin (the two-faced man) agreed to serve as arbitrators in this case and in the 34th issue of the “Hashkafa” in 1906 the following announcement appeared:

HONORABLE RESTITUTION.

“We the undersigned feel very sorry about the quarrel which is noted in the memorandum of the dissolved Executive Committee of the Israeli Organization concerning the incident which happened between Mr. Moritz Schönberg and the Chairman of the Organization and which was reported in the 29th issue of “Hashkafa” and in the May 1904 issue of “Die-Welt” as well as in several other newspapers, and have therefore decided to propose to four of the leaders of our city: Mr.Z.D.Levontin, Director-General of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, Meir Dizengof, member of the Odessa Commitee and Chairman of the “Geulah” Company, Shimeon Rokach, Austrian Vice-Consul in Jaffa and David Yudilovitch, Accountant-General of the “Carmel Mizrahi” Society to investigate the incident and the trial thoroughly so as to bring this quarrel to an end. These four gentlemen agreed and summoned both sides to tell their side of the incident.

Both sides agreed and the members of the Executive Committee of the Organization: Mr. Aharon Eisenberg, Yehezkel Sochovolsky,Baruch Papiermeister, D. Leibovitz and Shlomo Yelin gave Mr Yehiel-Michal Pines who sat as Chief Judge at said trial, power of attorney to speak for them. Mr. Yehiel Pines said that the said trial was not tried according to legal protocol, including witnesses but was tried as a court of honor and as is well known such proceedings can sometimes be faulty – and it may be that we were at fault. He also said that the protocol of the proceedings was intended to remain closed and was not to be published by the media at all.

The four mediators having heard the explanation – decided as follows: That it was not necessary at all to hold a new trial since the judges of the former one testified that their trial was not conducted according to legal protocol. Since no person can be judged by another person’s opinion alone we have decided to publish this notice and restore Mr. Schönberg’s honor in full. It is hereby ordered that all his opponents accept our decision without further argument.”

Signed on Friday the 21st of December 1906 in Jaffa by S.Z.Gissin and Yitzhak Hayutman.

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