”The Templers” were Protestant religious people who came to the Holy Land in the nineteen century with their mentor Christoph Hoffman calling for the return to the origins of Christianity and the establishment of urban and agricultural settlements in Palestine.
Their involvement with the Nazism government during Hitler’s time made them the ennemy of the British in power in Palestine and after World War II, the entire Templar community with their seven settlements in Palestine was deported to Australia, never to return.
They arrived in Palestine more than a decade before the first Zionist Jewish immigrants came and in many ways, they served as models.
Despite their small number in the country, the Templars nonetheless contribute to
modern techniques of agricultural development in Palestine and they quickly gained a reputation for their skill and precision in the execution of various works.
They planted vineyards and orchards using modern technology unknown in Palestine, they created the first oil mills for grain that operated with steam engine. They have tapped into the soil to find this water so rare and necessary for the survival of everyone. They opened the first European-style hotels and pharmacies, and embarked on the production of important commodities like soap and cement – or beer and wine. They were the first in the market of “Jaffa Oranges”.
Their beautiful houses, of continental elegance, with their red tile roofs were surrounded by flourishing gardens. These neighborhoods have become today, after their renovations, trendy and luxurious places either in Jerusalem, Haifa, Bethlehem of Galilee, Jaffa and Tel Aviv Sarona.
The Sarona district includes 37 Templar houses that were renovated (out of 85 at the time of the Templars) 5 of them have even been raised and displaced to expand the Kaplan street and to allow better circulation. The project, which lasted for years, finally ended and we can see now numerous high luxury buildings that are being built on the site of the houses that were destroyed together with shops and “haute cuisine” restaurants even installed in underground vaulted cellar of the agricultural cooperative used by the German Templars.
This unique neighborhood, thanks to the renovation, allow us to keep an eye on the past and I was told that the young german generation belonging to this community come sometime to visit the Holy Land and their ancestors patrimony. They are delighted to know that their heritage has been preserved and they are proud of it and so are we !….