Haim Farhi, was an adviser to the governors of the Galilee in the days of the Ottoman Empire. Among the Jews he was known as Hakham Haim, because of his Talmudic learning, Farhi was chief advisor to Ahmad al-Jazzar of Acre, whose whims included blinding Farhi and leaving him physically scarred. Until his assassination in 1820, instigated by Farhis own protege Abdullah Pasha, Farhi was the financial vizier, after the murder, Abdullah Pasha ordered Farhis body cast into the sea and confiscated all his property. Two of Farhi’s brothers, Soliman and Rafael, living in Damascus, after the Ottoman conquest of the Levant from the Mamluks in 1516, Galilee became part of its empire. Vast areas of Turkey, Asia, North Africa and Southeastern Europe were ruled almost autonomously by local governors, the Levant in particular, split into numerous feuding power centers. Rule over the Sanjak of Acre was supposed to derive from the authority of the Damascus governorate, after the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji was signed with Russia on July 21,1774, Sultan Abdul Hamid I sought to reassert Turkish sovereignty by attacking Dhaher and blockading the port of Acre. His troops rose in revolt and murdered their leader, in 1775 a Turkish officer, the Bosnian Mameluk Ahmad al-Jazzar took over, and the Turks regained control over the northern areas of the land. Zahir al-Umar actively encouraged Jewish resettlement and personally invited Hayyim ben Jacob Abulafia of İzmir to settle in the Galilee, the rabbi, born in Hebron, then part of the Jerusalem Mutassariflik, returned in 1740 and was received with full honours by Zahir. He settled in Tiberias, which was restored from its ruinous state, an impressive synagogue was built, roads were constructed, and Jewish agricultural settlements were founded at Pekiin, Shefa-Amr, and Kafr Yasif. These policies continued under Ahmad al-Jazzar, the existence of a strong local authority enforced the law and prevented Bedouin banditry on the roads. Zahir was one of the most tolerant and efficient local leaders and meted out justice equally to Muslim, Christian and Jew. This was the case in the days of Zahir and al-Jazzar who transformed the Galilee into a region that attracted both Arabs from Syria and Lebanon, and Jews from the east and west, Haim Farhi was born to a respected and ancient Jewish family in Damascus. His father Saul had established a business that flourished to the extent that it expanded to control Syrias finances, banking. Together with other members, Farhi worked as a financial agent in the Damascus district. Contemporary sources often mention the family as being the real rulers of Syria and they may also have mediated between the Jewish community and the authorities, trying to alleviate the tax burden placed on the Jews of Safed. Farhi succeeded his father as banker of the ruler of Damascus and he gained extensive influence with the Turkish government and became the adviser to Ahmad al-Jazzar, ruler of Acre. This was probably due to his intrigues that led to the execution of the advisor, Mikhail Sakruj. Al-Jazzar was a violent and cruel ruler, which is evidenced from his title al-Jazzar meaning The Butcher and he would often find pretext to lash out in savage assaults
"Jezzar Pacha Condemning a Criminal", Farhi is pictured standing with paper in hand.
19th-century cannon, set in the wall of Acre near a sign commemorating Farhi. The Hebrew inscription on the sign reads: Farhi vs. Napoleon. Jezzar's right hand in resisting Napoleon's harsh siege was the Jewish Haim Farhi, senior adviser and minister of finance
The remains of the internal fortification line erected by Farhi and De-Phelipoux within the walls of Acre, during Napoleon's siege, May 1799.