August 22, 2019
Julian Zuckerbrot reminds us of a significant event in Jewish history and its impact on current affairs in Israel today.
“This month* marks 90 years since mobs of Palestinian Arabs in the city of Hebron murdered 67 of their unarmed Jewish neighbours in what has become known as the Hebron Massacre. On the afternoon of Friday, the 23rd of August, 1929 – Sabbath eve -- a gang broke into a religious school where they found only one person, a young student named Shmuel Rozenholtz. They smashed his head with a rock and then stabbed him over and over. One account says that the mob then turned its attention on the synagogue, where, using knives, swords and clubs, they slaughtered the Sabbath worshippers. There were no further attacks that day, allowing the Jewish community to seek shelter in several homes near the centre of the town.” (Julian Zuckerbrot)
Friday August 23rd, 2019 is the date to commemorate this horrific event, a murderous riot not to be forgotten in the annals of Jewish history, an event of enormous significance in the history of the re-emerging Jewish state of Israel. The Hebron community is as old as Jewish history itself. The Jewish Virtual Library tells us that “Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world.” Biblical references link it inseparably to the Cave of Machpelah, “which the Patriarch Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite for 400 silver shekels (Genesis 23), as a family tomb. As recorded in Genesis, the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebekah and Leah, are buried there, and — according to a Jewish tradition — Adam and Eve are also buried there. Today it is home to some 250,000 Arab Palestinians and approximately 700 Jews. “
This essay by Julian Zuckerbrot relates the important events of the period from 1914-1968, the British response to overwhelming antisemitism by the local Arab population, or lack of response, the fact that a Canadian journalist intervened at one point in the early 1920s, the ever changing boundaries of the country promised to the Jews and ongoing defamation of Israel and contributing factors. In 1994, then PA leader, Yassar Arafat, received the Nobel Prize, but what he really had earned was a place in history as a murderous opponent of peace with the Jewish state.