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General Edmund Allenby

1861 - 1936.


Entry of Field Marshall Allenby, Jerusalem, December 11, 1917. Source: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/matpc.00169/

Edmund Allenby was a British military officer who became famous during World War 1 for conquering the Land of Israel and Jerusalem.

These areas were under the control of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years.


In June 1917, he was appointed British Army General in Egypt and Israel. His mission was to break through the Turkish southern front.

  • On November 14, Jaffa was captured by Allenby.

  • On December 8, 1917, the Turkish army withdrew from Jerusalem.

  • The next day, the Muslim mayor of Jerusalem, Hussein al-Husseini, gave the surrender letter and the city keys to the British army. The city was captured without any battle.

  • On December 11, General Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate.

  • On September 19, 1918, General Allenby turned north and fought the Turkish Army in the Megiddo Valley and entered the Jezreel Valley.


The image of General Allenby marching into Jerusalem became one of the most famous symbols of the Land of Israel of the 20th century.


General Allenby's entrance into Jerusalem. Source: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3b47734/

After the tyrannical rule of the Ottomans and the high hopes the Jewish community placed on the British Empire, Allenby won fame and respect. This was not only in his country but also among the Jewish community in Israel who defined the event as a "miracle of Hanukkah".


On December 9, 1917, Allenby wrote his "Jerusalem Declaration", which carried a message of peace and respect, and ensured city commerce and pilgrimage activities were maintained.

"Since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred."*

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Lloyd George (1916 - 1922), requested Allenby to "Bring us Jerusalem before Christmas."**


After the war, he was appointed High Commissioner of Egypt.


General Edmund Allenby died in 1936 in London, and Israel's radio stopped broadcasting for two minutes. Meir Dizengoff summed up his character at the municipal council meeting on May 25, 1936, by saying that Allenby was "a knight and a hero who knew how to bow his head before anything holy."**


Israel has streets named after him, like in Tel Aviv.


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