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February 13, 2016 / 4 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘1929 Hebron Massacre’

Remembering The Hebron Massacre of 1929

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Originally published in 2006

Since today, August 24th, marks 77 years since the Brutal Massacre and rape of the Jewish Community of Hebron, I thought it would be important to provide the following recently found letter from a survivor who recounts the horrors of the pogrom. The letter’s author requests that his surviving children read the account every year to recall the survival and the massacre:

“Just one thing, my dear children, may you live and be well, I ask of you that you put away this letter for the generations. Each year, at an agreed‑upon day, you should all meet and give thanks and praise to God, blessed be He, who saved your parents from this great catastrophe, and each one of you should make a generous contribution to charity. The miracle took place on Shabbes, Torah portion Ekev, the 18th day of the month of Av, 5689 [August 24, 1929], in Hebron.”

The entire 1929 Hebron Massacre photo archive is here. Warning, very graphic images.

The following is required reading for all. –Jameel.

The Hebron Massacre of 1929: A Recently Revealed Letter of a Survivor

Introduction to the letter:

The massacre of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 put an end to the ancient Jewish community at the burial site of the patriarchs. The riots which erupted throughout the country were an organized Arab attack against the entire Zionist enterprise with the aim of preventing the eventual establishment of a Jewish state. They were the most violent eruption until that time in the conflict that has been termed “one long war between Arabs and Jews comparable to the Hundred Years War in medieval Europe.”

Unlike other parts of the country, where Jews resisted with force, the Hebron community reflected the mind‑set of the pre‑modern Jew, conditioned by almost 2,000 years of Jewish powerlessness. The reaction of the local leadership to the impending attack was to turn to the authorities — the British appointed governor and the Arab notables — for protection, which, when it arrived, was much too late.

The events in Hebron and my grandparents’ miraculous rescue are vividly described in a letter written by my grandfather nine days later to my mother, Blanche Greenberg.

In 1907, the peak year of Jewish immigration into the United States, my maternal grandfather, Aharon Reuven Bernzweig, his wife Breine Zuch Bernzweig, and their six children left Stanislaw, Galicia (then Austrian Poland), and settled in New York City. Twenty years later, in 1927, after their children were grown and they had accumulated a modest capital, they were in a position to fulfill the dream of many traditional Jews‑‑to spend their retirement years in Eretz Hakodesh, the Holy Land.

Late in the spring of 1929, my grandparents travelled to the United States in order to attend my brother’s bar mitzvah. Upon their return they decided to escape the heat of a Tel Aviv summer by vacationing in Hebron. Five days later the riots broke out.

Zeide Bernzweig’s health was affected by the Hebron ordeal, and he died of a heart attack in 1936. Baba Breine continued to live at 16 Bialik Street in Tel Aviv until her death in 1945. That is where I would visit and spend Shabbat in 1937‑38, when I studied at Hebrew University.

Aharon and Breine Bernzweig were buried on the Mount of Olives. In the summer of 1967, after the reunification of Jerusalem, my wife and I found and restored their desecrated graves.

While members of the family knew that Zeide had written a letter about Hebron, we were not familiar with the actual text. I found the original in my parents’ papers after their death. The Yiddish is closely written on ten pages and is difficult to read. I am therefore greatly indebted to Helen G. Meyrowitz, who deciphered the text and prepared the initial translation, which I have revised and edited.

Some Rapes Should Be Considered Terrorism

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Politically-motivated rapes should be considered by Israel to be acts of terrorism en par with injuries caused by qassam rockets, rock-throwing, and suicide bombings.

As we speak, a young 19-year-old Israeli woman who was gang raped and beaten up at the tender age of 13 by four nationally-motivated Palestinians is appealing a decision made by the Israeli Defense Ministry, which claimed that her case should not be considered an act of terrorism. While everyone is speaking about the indecent remark made by the judge—who subsequently resigned from his post—Nissim Yeshaya, who had stated that “some girls enjoy getting raped,” not enough people are questioning the Israeli Defense Ministry for not classifying her case as an act of terrorism to begin with.

According to the National Insurance Institute of Israel website, a hostilities-related injury should include “an injury resulting from an act of violence whose purpose was to harm people because of their national or ethnic origin, provided that it arises from the Israeli-Arab conflict or was committed by a terrorist organization.”

According to the U.S. State Department and Title 22 of the U.S. Penal Code Section 265, terrorism is “politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.” As an Israeli woman, I find myself asking, how can one not include a group of politically-motivated Palestinian men deciding to gang-rape a Jewish child specifically because of her national origin, as an act of terrorism?

If a Palestinian rapes a Jewish woman to fulfill some animistic desire and lacks political intentions, then I could understand why it wouldn’t be classified as terrorism, although in my view it is a travesty of justice for rapists to merely serve two years in prison, as was set to happen in this case. Rape is a crime that can emotionally destroy a woman for years into the future. Many rape victims, if not given the proper therapy, and especially if they were raped at a young age, find it very difficult to function due to the trauma that they experienced. For this reason, rapists deserve much more time in prison than two years, regardless of what age they were when they committed the crime.

But when rape is politically-motivated by antisemitism, the punishment for such a crime should be en par with terrorism. In this particular instance, there was convincing evidence that these four Palestinians targeted this Jewish child specifically for her ethnicity. This young Jewish girl was literally dragged off the streets of Jerusalem at random, where she was beaten up and gang raped in such a humiliating manner that only someone motivated by racial hatred would behave in such a way. So if it is established that political motives are involved; then gang rape should be considered an injury en par with being wounded from rock-throwing, qassam rockets, or suicide bombings!

Since the 1929 Hebron Massacre, rape has been an element of Arab terrorism orchestrated against Jewish civilians as part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. More than one case of gang rape committed by Israeli Arab men has been found to be politically motivated. In the Negev and parts of Jerusalem, Arabs sexually harassing Jewish women has become a major issue. Furthermore, in Syria, Iran, and other Muslim countries, rape has been used as a political tool of terrorism in order to silence the political opposition, proving that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the only instance where rape has been used as a tool of terrorism. There is also international legal precedent for considering rape as part of a political conflict to be a war crime. Given all of this, the Israeli authorities should treat politically-motivated rapes as terrorism, not merely as criminal acts.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/some-rapes-should-be-considered-terrorism/2013/06/07/

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