August ’29 in the Exponent: Arabs Attack Jews in Palestine

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Fierce Conflicts Reported Throughout the Week

What is now known as the Hebron massacre dominated the front page and much of the inside of the Aug. 30, 1929 Jewish Exponent.

Depending upon sources, either 67 or 69 Jews died, and many more were injured, on Aug. 24 in Hebron by Arabs who falsely accused Jews of trying to seize control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“Zion is a welter of blood with the butchery and vandalism not yet ended,” the Exponent’s account began. “Jerusalem, the city of peace, has become a battleground with the number of dead and wounded running into the hundreds — who knows? — perhaps the thousands.

“The Hadassah hospitals — those that have not been destroyed by the Arabs — are filled up to and beyond capacity with the maimed and the wounded, facing the danger of a shortage in medicine and in linens. Daily the list of the dead is increased.”

The article noted that of the 190 students in the Slobodka Rabbinical College, 30 were killed. Eight of them were from the United States, including William Berman of Philadelphia. A Zeidel Berman of Philadelphia — a possible brother? — escaped unharmed.

In addition, the article reported that the U.S. government “officially called upon Great Britain last Monday to take comprehensive steps for the protection of this country’s nationals and their property in the affected areas.”

Some scholars have said the Hebron massacre, combined with the Safed riots five days later that left 18 to 20 Jews dead, prompted the development of the paramilitary Haganah, which later evolved into the Israel Defense Forces.  

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