Yemin Moshe Windmill Back on the Grind
After 119 years, the windmill will turn again
Haaretz is reporting that the iconic windmill in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood will be restored to working order after over a century of it just kind of sitting there. From wars, the invention of the steam mill, and various other historical curiosities (including curses), the windmill has its share of stories:
Montefiore had the idea to build the windmill during a visit to Jerusalem in 1855, intending to break the Arab monopoly on flour mills and provide work to Jews outside the Old City walls.
The Arab millers tried to sabotage the venture by paying someone to cast a curse on it. S.Y. Agnon wrote of the affair in his book “Only Yesterday”: “And the Arabs saw and were jealous. They hired an old man to curse the windmill. He turned his eyes to the windmill and said, I guarantee you that when the rains come and the winds come, they will make it into an everlasting ruin, and the rains came and the winds came and didn’t do anything to it.”
Despite the curse’s ineffectiveness, Jerusalem’s chroniclers deem Montefiore’s windmill a failed project. Tour guides say the reason for its failure was the lack of wind at the mill’s location and the erroneous calculations of its constructors.
Much to the chagrin of the Dutch engineer charged with restoring it, the windmill will have a back-up electric motor, just to be sure.