This is the full transcript of podcast episode 7, the second part of the trilogy from Jerusalem to Jaffa, a virtual podcast bus tour. For the photos that go with this podcast I refer to the Ko-fi website. That is the platform where I can receive donations for the podcast and where I post unique content! So if you want to support the podcast and see the photos, visit https://ko-fi.com/storiesfrompalestine
Abu Ghosh, Lod and Ramla
This is Stories from Palestine podcast. My name is Kristel and I am your host. And for people who haven’t heard the first episode of the trilogy yet, I would like to refer you back to episode five. This is episode seven, but it is the second part of a trilogy that takes you from Jerusalem to Jaffa. We are on a virtual bus tour.
[00:00:37] Just imagine that you are with me on the coach and we are driving from Jerusalem to Jaffa, and I’m explaining you what we see on the way. And if this is the first time that you tune into Stories from Palestine podcast, I am married to a Palestinian, but I’m originally Dutch and I’m currently studying the tour guide program at the Bethlehem Bible College.
[00:00:58] I’m learning so much about the history and cultural heritage of Palestine that I decided to share that information on a podcast, as long as tourism is still down due to the Corona pandemic. In the first episode of the trilogy, we went from Jerusalem to the Latrun area. Remember the Latrun was named after the Crusader fortress Le Torron des Chevaliers.
[00:01:24] And for those of you who want to have some extra information that I did not mention in that podcast episode, you can still go to my Kofi page. That is the platform where I can receive donations and where I weekly post something unique, content that I did not share on the podcast or that is not available on any of the other social media that goes with the podcast.
[00:01:49] And there, you can learn something about the Tegart fortresses. It’s a four-minute video with extra content. And now sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.
[00:02:01] As we keep driving towards the West, we are passing by Abu Ghosh on our right hand side. And Abu Ghosh is named after a family, the Abu Ghosh family, that is said to have migrated in the 16th century from North Caucasia, which is the area between the Black sea and the Caspian sea.
[00:02:23] Where is now Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia. And the family themselves claim that they fought with the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, who was the Sultan, who was the first ruler over Palestine after the defeat of the Mamluks in 1516. And the Abu Ghosh clan, they had a special position during the Ottoman time.
[00:02:48] They were the ones who levied taxes on travelers. So any pilgrim, any merchant clergy that was passing over to main road by Abu Ghosh, had to pay taxes to the Abu Ghosh clan, who would then pay part of that taxes to the Ottoman Sultan.
[00:03:06] It is also interesting that Abu Ghosh in 1948, during the Nakba, had most of its villagers who left the town returned. Unlike most of the other Palestinian villages where the inhabitants were never allowed to come back. And this was partially explained by a village elder who was interviewed by the Globe and Mail, who said that “perhaps because of the history of feuding with the Arabs around us, we allied ourselves with the Jews against the British. We did not join the Arabs from the other villages who were attacking Jewish vehicles in 1947”. So maybe because of their history coming from the Caucasus and being the people that were levying taxes on others, they did not have such a good relationship with other Palestinian clans around them, and so it is said that the Mukhtar [tribal leader] of Abus Ghosh had quite good relationships with the Zionist movement. Also one of the Zionist brigades, the Harel brigade had its headquarter in Abu Ghosh. So Abu Ghosh was not depopulated in 1948, like the surrounding villages. And until today they have a very good relation with the Jewish people in Israel.
[00:04:26] There is twice a year, a music festival where people come together and play music together. Abu Ghosh is also known among Jewish Israelis as the humus capital. They actually got into the Guinness book of records for a little bit in 2010, when they made the largest dish of humus that had a 6.1 diameter and was about 4,000 kilos of humus.
[00:04:51] But then later in that same year, the Lebanese won the title back and they produced a plate of humus, that was almost double the size. And there is another funny story about Abu Ghosh. One of its residents called Husain Jaber, buys every year around Passover, all the leavened food, that is food, that contains yeast that is in Hebrew called ‘chametz’ from the State-owned companies, from the prison service and from Israel’s national emergency supply for $5,000.
[00:05:27] And then sells it back to the State of Israel after Passover. Because Passover is a Jewish feast in which they commemorate the exodus from Egypt and they had to flee so fast that the bread did not have time to rise. So every year when they celebrate Passover and they commemorate this Exodus, for a whole week, they don’t have any food that contains yeast in their house.
[00:05:55] So before the feast starts, they clean their old house from all products that contain yeast, they even eat from a different set of plates. But all the State-owned yeast products, they didn’t know what to do with that. And so they made this deal with Husain Jaber , from Abu Ghosh, who owns all the leavened food products for that period of time, and then sells it back to the State. Today
[00:06:22] Abu Ghosh has about 7,000 inhabitants. And Abu Ghosh also has the second biggest mosque after the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The mosque looks like the typical Turkish mosques with four minarets and a golden dome in the middle and the inside the interior has a lot of elements of the Chechen style because this mosque was partially sponsored by the Republic of Chechnya.
[00:06:52] You can see the mosque clearly from the highway, and I will post a picture on the website and on my social media. Now Abu Ghosh was known before as Qiryat el Einab, the village of grapes in Arabic and in the Bible, it was already known this area as Kiriyat Jearim, which means the village of woods. And it is here that there are two important churches.
[00:07:20] One of them is related to the story of the Ark of the covenant that I’m going to tell you. And the other one is related to the story of Emmaus, that I’m also going to tell you, remember, we are in the Holy land and there are many stories related to the Bible. And there are many buildings today that relate back to those stories.
[00:07:40] And I know that some of you do like stories from the Bible. So here we go. There’s a story. that when the Israelite people, when they entered into the land of Canaan , they brought with them the Ark of the covenant, which was the place where they believed that their God was present. And the Ark of the covenant was kept for about 360 years in a place called Shiloh, which is currently in the West bank, in an area between Ramallah and Nablus. And when the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, they were on a mission to conquer the land. They believed that God had promised it to them and that they had to conquer it from the people who were already living there.
[00:08:25] So they fought with many of the tribes that were already living in Canaan, and one of these tribes where the Philistines and the Philistines were sea peoples that had arrived from the Mediterranean and that had settled mainly in the coastal region, but they were also sometimes working their way up North in the area.
[00:08:45] And so in one of the battles that happened in the Northern part near to Megiddo and Aphek, the Israelites decided to bring the Ark of the covenant with them to the battle. And this was mainly done by the two wicked sons of the high priest Eli, Hophni and Phineas who thought that bringing the Ark, bringing the presence to God will help them conquer the Philistines.
[00:09:13] And the Philistines at first they were scared. They thought, Oh, they brought their God with them. You know, in that time, people did believe in many gods and they would worship many different gods and they would also respect the gods of other tribes. And so they thought that maybe if this is really a powerful God, it’s not going to be good for us when this God is going to be part of the battle.
[00:09:37] So basically the Philistines, they did extra their best and they won the battle and they captured the Ark of the covenant and they brought it with them back down to the South, towards the area where is now the Gaza strip, because that’s where they had their main cities, and their main God was called Dagon.
[00:09:57] And they brought the Ark of the covenant to the temple of Dagon and they placed it there. But the next morning, when they came to the temple, they found the statue of Dagon fell down face flat on the floor. His hands broke and they were surprised and a little bit scared because that must have been the power of the God, of the Israelites.
[00:10:19] Then they moved the Ark of the covenant to another city called Ekron. And in that city, they also placed it in the temple. And the same thing happened, but not only that, also the people started to get sick. They started to be inflicted with the pestilence and they decided that they have to get rid of this Ark of the covenant.
[00:10:39] So they looked for a female cow that had never been yoked before. And this female cow had just given birth. So what they did is that they placed the Ark of the covenant on a chariot that they tied to the cow and they let her run. And they thought she’s probably going to look for her calves, but then she didn’t and she ran away and then they knew that their God is so strong, he wants the Ark to return to them. And the cow kept running and running. And the cow ended up in the area where is now Abu Ghosh. And so later in the Byzantine time, when Palestine became under the Christian rule, the emperors the Roman emperors started to become Christian and Christianity became the state religion, let’s say.
[00:11:30] A lot of churches were built many, many places in Palestine, you will find ruins of Byzantine churches. Most of these churches did not survive because in 614, the Persians attacked and the Persians, they destroyed almost every church and every monastery, except for the church of the nativity in Bethlehem.
[00:11:52] But most churches were destroyed and only the ruins and often the mosaics of these churches, they still remain. And they were kept because in later time, the Crusaders built their Crusader churches over the ruins of these Byzantine churches. So many times when you read history in Palestine, it is that there was a Byzantine church and then there was a Crusader church and then the Crusader church was destroyed. And then in the 19th, 20th century, new churches have been erected or the church has been renovated. The same here. The Byzantines built a church where they said that the family who took care of the Ark of the covenant, which was the family of Abinadab and his son Eliazer, who was the one who was consecrated to look after the Ark, when it stayed in, Kiryat Jearim, where it actually stayed for about 20 years, according to the Bible until King David finally brought it to Jerusalem and then his son Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. That is the story. So today, if you go and visit Abu Ghosh, you can still see a church.
[00:13:06] The church that you see today is built over the ruins of the Byzantine church. The mosaics of the church can still be found in this church that was built in 1924. And it is now run by the nuns of St. Joseph. And it is now called the lady of the Ark of the covenant with a beautiful statue with mother Mary and baby Jesus on the facade.
[00:13:32]The other church that you can find in Abu Ghosh is a church that originates in the Crusader period, even though it was also built over a Byzantine church ruin. And actually underneath that ruin, there is another remain of the Roman time, which is a cistern that was dug by one of the detachments of the 10th Roman Legion that was stationed here.
[00:14:01] So let’s start there. What happened was that there was a revolt by the Jewish people in Jerusalem, and it was very hard for the emperor to fight it. It was called the Bar Kohba revolt. And it started, as happened before with Jewish revolts against the Romans, against the high taxes that they had to pay and against the way that the Romans were treating the Jewish people at the time.
[00:14:28] And the revolters were very well organized. So the Romans were having a hard time to fight them. And so they brought in several legions and a legion could be up to 6,000 soldiers. And the 10th Roman Legion was stationed partially here in Abu Ghosh. And the soldiers of the 10th Legion dug a cistern to collect rainwater and in the cistern, that still exists underneath the church, they actually found a stone with an inscription saying that the 10th Roman Legion made the cistern. So on top of this cistern in later times, the Byzantines built a church and then the Crusaders replaced that church with the Crusader church. And why is there another church? Yes, that is another story from the Bible.
[00:15:18] And it is this time from the new Testament. And this is the story in which Jesus, after he died and resurrected, according to the Bible, he went on his way from Jerusalem to the West. Towards a village called Emmaus as it’s written in the Bible. And on his way, he saw two people. It’s not sure who they were.
[00:15:41] If they were disciples? we know that one of them was named Cleophas, plus another person, could even have been his wife, and Jesus overheard them talking. And they were actually talking about what they had just witnessed in Jerusalem, the crucifixion of Jesus. And they didn’t recognize him. So he said, what are you talking about?
[00:16:01] And they said, who are you? Are you a stranger that you don’t know what has just happened in Jerusalem? The Jewish rabbis, the Jewish leaders, they have killed Jesus of Nazareth. And according to some of his disciples, his tomb was found empty and we don’t know what happened to his body. And we don’t know what is the story?
[00:16:21] And Jesus walks along with them for quite a long time and they just don’t recognize him. And he even starts telling them about himself and what the prophecy said from the old Testament about the Messiah who was going to come and who would suffer for the redemption of the people, but they still didn’t catch that it was him. And as they arrived to their village, to Emmaus, they asked him to stay with them for food, for lunch. You know, the people in this region are very hospitable and he accepted their invitation. They went into the house and then when they sat down, he did something that he always used to do, which was breaking the bread and blessing it and handing it out to the other people.
[00:17:05] And only then did these people realize that this was Jesus. And so according to the story, they went back to Jerusalem to tell people about the fact that they saw Jesus and Jesus then disappeared and later showed up in other parts of the country. Now, there are four locations that have been indicated by Christians over different periods of time for being the village of Emmaus.
[00:17:33] And I am going to talk about one of them in another episode, because a Palestinian village called Imwas, that was depopulated in, not in 1948, but in 1967 actually, is about another 20 kilometers more to the West. And that Emmaus actually had the name Emmaus Nikopolis already in the Byzantine time and was indicated by the people in the fourth, fifth century as the place where the story had occurred. Later, when the crusaders came, they also build a church there in Emmaus, but they, maybe thought it was more convenient for them, on this important trade route to Jerusalem where lots of pilgrims could easily pass by and where in Kiryat Jearim, or Kiriyat el Einab, or now Abu Gosh, there was already a ‘khan’. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term ‘khan’, but it was especially in the Mamluk time and later in the Ottoman times that these type of caravanserai, this kind of hospice where traders and pilgrims could stay, they were built on regular intervals because the animals that used to carry the goods and that used to carry the people they needed to have water and food at regular times. And also the people needed to have safe places where to stay. So there was a khan here in this area, what is now Abu Ghosh. And so that was handy and comfortable for the crusaders. And so most probably they kind of moved the location and veneration of this story of Emmaus to Abu Ghosh. And the same happened later in history again, when the location was moved to a place called Qubeibeh, which is now in the West bank, and which is the only of the four indicated places that Christians from the Westbank can visit.
[00:19:28] And the fourth one is at a town called Qaluniya , which is even closer to Jerusalem. I may tell a little bit more about this in another episode, because it’s quite interesting how the Bible story relates to the reality, but let’s keep it at this for now. A church was built by the crusaders to commemorate this story and the Mamluks, when they came later, they were Muslims, they didn’t completely respect the church. They first turned it into a mosque. It seems they were distracted by the many frescoes that the crusaders painted on the walls of all the Holy saints and characters from the Bible stories. So they have actually erased most of their faces.
[00:20:10] And until today, when you visit the church, you can see the frescoes, but you can see that they have been damaged. Later the Mamluks built a mosque. And then they started using the church as a stable for the horses. And so it was in quite bad shape and situation until the French bought it in the 19th century.
[00:20:31] And they renovated the church and now it is French property. And now it is run by the Benedictine order, which is quite a strict religious order. It has a church and a monastery, the church is called the church of the resurrection and is visited by many Christian pilgrims, especially because it is one of the most well-preserved Crusader churches in the Holy land.
[00:20:56]We are leaving Abu Ghosh and we are moving on and going more westwards towards Jaffa and on our way, we are going now to visit Lod. And I think that some people who have visited before may know that the airport, which is called now the Ben Gurion airport was actually called the airport of El Lod. The area of El Lod has a very long history.
[00:21:26] Today, there are excavations at Tell el Lod that date back to the epi-Palaeolithic time. Now, when you study tour guide program at the Bethlehem Bible college, you have to know all these old times and ages and eras. So epi-Palaeolithic time, that would be 16,000 to 8,000 before Christ. Imagine. And people in that time have settled on the banks of the Ayalon stream because obviously everybody would settle close to a water source.
[00:22:01] And El Lod was continuously inhabited since then from the stone age, into the Copper age, the bronze period until the iron age. And then it was destroyed. It was destroyed either before or by the Israelites. And then one of the tribes of the Israelites settled here and then habitation of the area just continued. And why was it so important? Because it is on the main road we talked about between Jerusalem and Jaffa, and it was also very close to another important road, which is called the via Maris, the way of the sea, which was a road that actually still exists until today, but in a more modern form, that is parallel to the coast and it connected Egypt, all the way to the Northern parts of what is now Lebanon to Phoenicia, where there was a lot of trade and it Megiddo it would go towards the East towards Damascus. So it was an important road for trade, but also postal road. And therefore, a lot of towns in this area were thriving.
[00:23:13] In the Byzantine time Lod actually got the status of a Roman city. And it was called both Lod, Lydda and Diospolis. Dios meaning God in Latin and Polis meaning city. So the city of God, and that is because in 201 AD Septimius Severus, the emperor, gave it the status of a Roman colony, and then he renamed it the city of God. And they found minted coins, with in Greek inscription of this name, Diospolis. And also, I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Madaba map, but in a church in Jordan, in Madaba, they found a mosaic floor that is basically a map of the region on which you can find almost all the cities and towns, including their most important buildings and especially churches that were built in the fifth, sixth century. So when you look at that map, you can see what were the important churches that were present in the sixth century. On that Madaba mosaic map, Lod is mentioned with all its three names, Lod, Lydda and Diospolis.
[00:24:38] And then in the beginning of the Muslim era, so we’re talking about around 634 after Christ when the first army started to arrive and 638, when Jerusalem was captured and the Muslims divided the area into different provinces or regions and Lod became the capital of that region. And it was called Jund Filastin. There were several regions. There was Jund Qinasrin in the North. There was Jund Dimasqh, Jund al Homs, Jund il Urdun and Jund Filastin.
[00:25:12] El Lod was the capital in the beginning. And when we move to Ramla, I will tell you how Lod lost its status to Ramla. Now if people visit Lod they visit it especially because of its connection with Saint George and St. George, I have to tell you this story because it’s interesting and it is very important.
[00:25:37] Many Palestinian Christians also are called George. After George. And also in Arabic, his name is Khader. So you will also find a lot of people by the name of Khader. And it is interesting because the character of George, Saint George, which is a Christian Saint is also intertwined with the character of a Muslim spirit, which is called the green spirit, which in Arabic is Al Khader hence the name Khader.
[00:26:10] So, let me tell you the story. George was, according to tradition a Roman soldier. He was also converted to Christianity and he saw how many of the Christians, we’re talking about the early Christian time, the second century, they were suffering of persecution. So this is before the Roman emperors started to become Christians.
[00:26:33] He saw how the Christians were suffering and how they started to deny God out of fear. And then he decided to abandon his night’s dress. He sold everything he had or gave it away. And among the Romans, he declared his faith to the one God. Imagine the Romans, they had a lot of different gods and they did not accept the idea of monotheism.
[00:26:58] He was arrested. They trialed him and then eventually he was executed, but there was a legend around the figure of George that made him eventually into a Saint. And this story probably over time became more and more exciting, but the story goes that he was traveling and originally the setting of the story, was in Capadoccia, but it later transferred to Libya.
[00:27:25] And the story is that he came to a village where they had been suffering from a Lake monster who demanded a daily sacrifice. And originally the people of the village had been sacrificing sheep, but when they ran out of sheep, the whole village was empty of sheep. They had all been sacrificed. They started to sacrifice young ladies.
[00:27:49] And then the day came that the daughter of the King, the princess had to be sacrificed and they left her by the Lake to be devoured by that monster. And in that moment, George came and he saw what was going on and he asked her, give me your belt or your chain. And as the monster came, he managed to chain him and they dragged him into the city where they killed him.
[00:28:16] And that’s why you always see St. George depicted, usually on a horse with a big spear in his hand. And he is killing the dragon by his feet. Now St. George became known as the Saint that helps people in need, that cures the sick that always shows up whenever you are requiring his comfort or his help. And interestingly enough, in Islam, there is a spirit called Al Khader that is also known to roam the earth and to show up where people are in need and they need cure and they need support.
[00:28:56] So, what is interesting is that near Bethlehem, there is a town called Al Khader, and it is said that Saint George stayed in Al Khader for a while. And in my imagination, I imagine that the people of the village who were a mixed population, they had Muslim women, imagine older women who believed in Al Khader and when they saw George and his behavior and how he was supportive to the people and maybe helpful and curing people, they said, look, he’s just like Al Khader, maybe he is an incarnation of Al Khader, the green spirit. And so these two characters St. George and Al Khader soon became one character in the Palestinian narrative. So now we have Palestinian Muslims and Christians who both venerate Al Khader.
[00:29:50] And it is said that St. George, his mom came from Al Lod and that after he died, his bones were buried there. So there is a church for St. George and right next to it, there is a mosque. The mosque is named after Omar, who was the first Muslim leader to capture Palestine, but they both venerate the same character St. George or Al Khader.
[00:30:17]Until 1948 Al Lod was a Palestinian town, but in 1948, the majority of its population was expelled and ethnically cleansed just as the population of more than 500 other Palestinian towns. And right now the city has an Arab population of about 30% and the rest are Jewish immigrants.
[00:30:41] As said, Lod lost its importance when Ramla was built and Ramla is almost like a twin city to Al Lod. It is very close to it, but it is a very interesting history. So we will continue to Ramla and that is the last city of this episode. And then next episode, the last one of the trilogy will be all about Jaffa. Ramla is special in that it is the only city in Palestine that does not have a previous history previous to its establishment in the year 789 by the Umayyad leader Suleyman ibn AbdelMalik. And Suleiman was the son of Abdelmalik ibn Marwan, who is very famous here because he is the one who built the dome of the rock, the golden dome of the rock in Jerusalem and his other son, the brother of Suleyman was the one who built the Qibly mosque, which is very often referred to wrongly as the Aqsa mosque.
[00:31:47] I will have to do a whole podcast episode about the Aqsa. And maybe even it has to be also a trilogy because there’s so much to say about that. But in short, the Aqsa mosque is the whole compound, the whole Haram alSharif, including the dome of the rock and the Qibly mosque, which is the mosque with the gray dome.
[00:32:08] Suleyman saw that his father and his brother had built these big important buildings. And he also wanted to do something important. He wanted to compete with his relatives. So he decided to build a completely new city and he built it close to the capital to Al Lod, and it was going to be his city that he kind of erected from the sand.
[00:32:34] The sand dunes of the coastal region where Ramla was built and Ramla in Arabic ‘rammel’ means sand. So he build it in the sandy area and what makes it also very special is that there was no water source there. And that is probably one of the reasons why nobody had ever wanted to live there. So what he had to do, he had to make an aqueduct system to bring in water from a spring 12 kilometers South of the new city.
[00:33:06] And this is what he did. And until today you can visit what is called the arches pool, which is a reservoir, underground reservoir of about 400 square meters in which the water that came from the spring and the rain water that was stored here, was kept safe for the people of Ramla. And what makes it especially special is that the underground reservoir has vaulted arches.
[00:33:38] And we know these type of pointed vaulted arches in the Holy land, only from the Crusader time. But this is a proof that already the Abassids they knew this architecture construction. They knew how to build vaulted arches. And so now it is called the arches pool. You can visit it. And the nicest way to visit it is by going into one of the little boats that they have in the reservoir, and just peddling around, looking up to the beautiful vaulted arches.
[00:34:13] And there is an inscription on one of the stones in ‘Kufic’ which is the oldest Arabic calligraphy that they found, which is coming from the area where Iraq is now from a city called Kufa that the pool in this style was made during the Abassid period, during the reign of the Khalif Haroon Rashid. And it is special because the Abassids in the eighth century, they did not leave a lot of buildings and traces in Palestine. They were mainly focused on Iraq. They were not that much focused on building projects in Palestine, and also there were many earthquakes in the region. So we also have to keep in mind that a lot of buildings have been damaged and destroyed by earthquakes, especially also in the area that we are visiting right now in our virtual tour.
[00:35:08] And then of course, when I speak about Ramla I have to speak about the white mosque. And the white mosque is actually a tower that functioned as a minaret of a mosque, but most probably also functioned as a protective tower as a defense tower, because if you look at it and you can still see it until today, it has thick walls, it’s a big tower, massive, and it has arrow slits. These are vertical openings in the walls, in different heights, behind which a soldier could find protection and shoot at an enemy. This tower dates from the Mamluk time, so we’re talking about the 13th century and it was part of a complex of a mosque of which we don’t see much more than just ruins, but on this location, there have been mosques since the very beginning of the Islamic period in Palestine.
[00:36:08] So the Umayyads in the eighth century build a mosque there. And then later the Abassids renewed the mosque. We know that Salaedin who defeated the crusaders in 1187, he also did a renovation to the mosque. And then during the Mamluk time, there have been several Mamluk sultans who build an added to the mosque.
[00:36:30] The mosque itself was heavily damaged during an earthquake, but we still see the tower and the tower is now on the tentative list for UNESCO world heritage. Ironically enough, it is put on that list by the State of Israel. But for many Muslims, this is an important mosque because they believe that the tomb of the prophet Nabi Salah is here and he is still venerated.
[00:37:00] He is one of the very early prophets that is venerated, a prophet that was before prophet Mohammad, because in Islam they believe in several prophets and messengers of God. Salah was one of these important prophets. And I want to finish this episode with a funny legend I read somewhere about the people of El Lod who were a bit jealous about Ramla having this beautiful tower as the minaret of their mosque.
[00:37:30] And they said to one of the Sheikhs in their own town: “look, they have this beautiful tower, we want to have a tower like them.” And the Sheikh thought I’m going to teach them a lesson. And he said, you know what? I have a special rope. I’m going to give it to you. And tonight you’re going to tie the rope around the tower and with as many men as you can find, you’re going to pull that tower from ar-Ramla to al-Lod.
[00:37:57] And so in the night they tied the rope around the tower and they started pulling and pulling and they felt that they were moving. They were actually moving the tower. And in the morning as the sun started rising and they were reaching to al Lod, they called out to the people: “look, we have moved the tower. Look, we brought the minaret from ar-Ramla to al-Lod.” And the people were looking at them and saying, what are you talking about? And so they looked back over their shoulder and then they realized that the rope that the Sheikh had given them was actually a rubber band.
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