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MS137_AJ95_150_12
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60
NINETEENTH ANNUAL REPORT.
barrier for any natives of Turkey, if they are otherwise qualified, to be promoted to an office of the State.
Theoretically speaking, it appears that a Jewish candidate for a post in Government service, would have even a better chance to obtain the desired situation than an equally qualified competitor belonging to the Greek or the Armenian Church. The reason for this preference is very simple. The Ottoman Jews have never been regarded by their fellow-countrymen as forming a separate or isolated body of politicians. The Turks, very rightly, do not regard the followers of Judaism as a nation within a nation. Consequently, the Jews are in no instance suspected of sympathising with any Greek or Armenian agitators, who at one time or another might take their inspirations from members of their national church in foreign countries.
The Greeks and Armenians, on the other hand, though they may be altogether free from a wrongful political bias, cannot entirely rid themselves of suspicions entertained by some of the Turks, that they have a latent leaning towards disloyal intrigues. Notwithstanding these well-known facts, the Greeks and Armenians succeed in occupying high and honourable offices of State, whilst their Jewish fellow-countrymen sink ever lower in the social scale.
It is one of the objects of the present paper to explain the circumstances which operate detrimentally in the Jewish affairs of Turkey in general, and more particularly as concern the Capital.
II.—Constantinople.
The capital of Turkey contains about 48,000 Jews, of whom 44,000 are Sephardim. The remainder are subjects of foreign Governments, principally of Austria. The mass of the Jewish inhabitants of Constantinople are exceedingly poor, and live from hand to mouth. They are scattered over an extensive area of twenty-seven districts, mainly situated on steep roughly paved hills, which picturesquely and inconveniently run along the sides and windings of the Bosphorus. The Jews own thirty-eight synagogues, and have in addition a great many so-called Bate-hamidrash. (This name is given to prayer-halls.) Persons in easier circumstances prefer to receive regularly at their homes small assemblies of worshippers (Mlnyanim). These private services are injurious
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