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1913: Jews, Christians, Muslims coexisted

A one-hour PBS special airing June 30 traces the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Palestine in the late Ottoman Empire.

“1913: Seeds of Conflict,” starts out one year before WW I, which led to the end of Ottoman rule over Palestine and the subsequent British Mandate there.

The film’s opening scene in Jerusalem presents an almost idyllic scene where Muslims, Christians and Jews shared libations in small cafes and beamed as their children danced together.

But a confluence of events darkened the pleasant picture, such as the rise of Arab terrorism and the influx of young European Jews fleeing Tsarist pogroms, who brought with them socialism and insisted that all work on the newly founded kibbutzim be done by Jewish, not Arab, labor.

The film, directed by Ben Loeterman, draws from Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Amy Dockser-Martin and is studded with remarkable archival photos.

“1913: Seeds of Conflict” airs June 30, 8 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS.

An Arab family of Ramallah, 1900-1910. Most Arabs lived in the hill towns of Palestine, away from the coastal lowlands where Zionist activity would first take root. / Matson Collection, Library of Congress

Spiritual Jews in Jerusalem gather for prayer. Jews fled Eastern Europe after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II and the rise of pogroms in 1881. Most went to America, but 2-3% went to Palestine. / Israel National Library

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