On this date, August 24th, in 1929, the Hebron Massacre took place. 67 Jews were killed, and the crowd of enraged Muslims also raped, tortured, and pillaged. All the remaining Jews in Hebron were forced to flee for their lives.
For years, Sephardic (Arab) Jews had lived in Hebron in dhimmitude (the entire government of Hebron under the British in 1929 was Arabic). As Ashkenazi (European) Jews fled growing anti-Semitism and pogroms in Europe, they began to settle in the Palestine Mandate, including Hebron. The Ashkenazi Jews were not familiar with the concept of dhimmitude, and did not show proper deference to the local Arab Muslims. They did not speak Arabic, and did not follow Arab cultural norms.
On the previous night, Friday August 23rd, 1929, following unusually inflammatory Friday sermons, a crowd of enraged Muslims had attacked Jews in Jerusalem. Now, a day later in Hebron, rumors began to spread among the Muslims that Jews were attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque (formerly the Temple Mount). A crowd of enraged Muslims went to the Ashkenazi yeshiva in Hebron, and made a deal with the Rabbi that, if he would allow them to kill the Ashkenazi students, they would allow the Sephardic Jews in Hebron to live. Rabbi Ya’acov Slonim refused, so the crowd killed him and the other Jews who had come to his home seeking sanctuary.
The Arab police not only did not stop the rioting, they led it. The lone non-Muslim police officer, Raymond Cafferata, testified later:
'On hearing screams in a room I went up a sort of tunnel passage and saw an Arab in the act of cutting off a child's head with a sword. He had already hit him and was having another cut, but on seeing me he tried to aim the stroke at me, but missed; he was practically on the muzzle of my rifle. I shot him low in the groin. Behind him was a Jewish woman smothered in blood with a man I recognized as a[n Arab] police constable named Issa Sheriff from Jaffa in mufti. He was standing over the woman with a dagger in his hand. He saw me and bolted into a room close by and tried to shut me out-shouting in Arabic, "Your Honor, I am a policeman." ... I got into the room and shot him.'
At the end of the massacre, all remaining Jews were forced to leave for Jerusalem. Their property was confiscated by Arabs; they left with only the clothes on their backs. Days later, a crowd of enraged Muslims killed another 20 Jews in the Safed Massacre.
In 1967 when Jews regained Hebron in the Six Day War, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan promised to arrest any Jewish survivors who attempted to reclaim their property in Hebron. They were told to wait until the government could come to an amicable agreement with the Muslims, which never came.
Today the elderly Sephardic Jew survivors put the blame for the massacre not on the Muslims who perpetrated it, but on the Ashkenazi Jews who "provoked" it by their non-dhimmi behavior.
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Aug 19: Stoning Sentence in Nigeria