The Attack on Hebron (1929) and More

Orthodox Jews not allowed to hold a large funeral, limited to 6 people by the police.

At the time of the Sukkot-Simchat Torah holidays, the Yeshurun Synagogue was asked not to hold a large procession and it complied with the police.

The blowing of the shofar was prohibited.

Weak police force. Poor intelligence network. Largely older police who were out of shape.

Looting of stores (and homes).

Thought of bombing the Arabs.

About 800 Jews lived in Hebron out of 20,000 people. Rumors of Jews killing Arabs.

700 Arabs put on trial, 55 convicted of murder, 25 sentenced to death

160 Jews put on trial, 2 convicted of murder and sentenced to death

David Ben Gurion years later called the massacre in Hebron Judenrein or to exclude Jews from a country (or the world) which was a Nazi expression.

A list of 435 Jews saved by Arabs

133 Jews and 116 Arabs were dead, 339 Jews and 232 Arabs were wounded

The attack on Hebron and the violence in Jerusalem led to those numbers of killed and wounded.

As anyone can plainly see, there are some similarities but few of them as we look at today’s America. The cast has changed, but some or many things remain the same. The attack on The Capitol spilled over from a speech made by Donald Trump. The Mufti of Jerusalem was called into to placate the crowd, but the historical interpretation of that talk is that he made matters worse. I doubt if Trump would have made things worse with a prepared, brief talk for people to return to their homes at the very moment that it was greatly needed. But you never know about Trump. He could have told the people to stand by instead of stand back or down. The deaths in Washington, D.C. do not compare, but nobody should have been killed and nobody should have died. And that investigation continues.

Trump nationalism created a huge problem and Jewish and Arab nationalism created a huge problem in Palestine. A lot of it was predictable long before 1929. What is certain is that it was about getting or maintaining power. America First, Arabs First, Jews First should never be so forceful and permanent with all the problems that people face where they live and Palestine had its problem.

By the Spring of 1931 there were about 160 Jews who had returned to their homes in Hebron, creating a feeling of peace, normalcy, and law and order, but that was an illusion. Our own peace seems to be that kind of illusion as well. We will learn much more about the plotting that was taking place. We are being told that this problem will not go away for about 20 years. And in Palestine, almost 20 years later there was war among the people who lived there. And looking back and counting, there has been no real peace for over 70 years.

There seemed to be one possible ray of hope after those horrible events described. I read these words and the words apply to leaders everywhere. I had already read about an important request made that mentions that the mufti had turned down the idea of a jihad which would have intensified terrorism throughout Palestine. Arab nationalism pushed it in word and deed. And there was always the fear then that an Arab would be killed by other Arabs. So it was Muhammed Iz-al-Din al-Qassam who asked al-Husseini, the mufti, to join him in declaring a jihad against the British. The mufti refused as he was in a different mode at the time. David Ben Gurion later met with Musa Alami, hoping to win for the Jews, of course, but feeling that life could improve greatly for the Arab population under an independent Jewish state.

I had to quickly find out more about Musa Alami and he was willing to allow Arabs in Palestine to remain poor for another hundred years rather than unite with Ben Gurion. And al-Qassam met his death violently and became a martyr to his people.

And what about other points of view? There actually were centrist views in between these two peoples who desired only victory. Here are some proposals to consider that were made at the time by Jews who wished to do things based on a higher moral code. This goes back to 1930.

Joint marketing of oranges

Cooperation among fire fighters

Joint campaigning against malaria

Joint campaigning against changes in rent-control laws

Common censorship of films

Shared labor unions, education, and political parties

I cannot say that an opportunity was lost during those years, but all this information is very interesting. It may have been insufficient to change minds, but clearly other ideas could have been added. With that said I do have to note that the readings that I have done have not shed light on just how peace could have been achieved in those days.

And one more thing to share is that one of the best-known Arabs who is repeatedly mentioned in the book about Palestine by Tom Segev. Khalil al-Sakakini sent his daughter Hala to a German school in Palestine, where the German children actually joined a branch of the Hitler youth. All the children in the school sang Deutschland Uber Alles and Raise the Flag, the Nazi Party anthem. Sakakini was a good man in many ways, but his politics included the hope that Hitler would liberate Palestine from the Jews.

Among the many thoughts that I have is this one. What would have happened if the Ottoman Turks had been on the winning side in World War I? That thought would also provoke what would have happened to US.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. I like it. Joint marketing of oranges. we could do that in florida. conservative oranges and liberal oranges, packaged together and sold as combo oranges.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *