Remembering 1929 massacre, top Israeli leaders visit and make history

(JNS) “We are not strangers in Hebron, and we will stay here forever!” were the climactic remarks made on Sept. 4 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an official state ceremony at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron commemorating the 90th anniversary of the 1929 Jewish massacre.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also visited Hebron on Wednesday, along with other government officials, to take part in the day-long memorial. 

In August 1929, 67 Jews were murdered by an Arab lynch mob over the course of three days while their homes and synagogues were destroyed. The survivors were evacuated to Jerusalem, marking the first time in hundreds of years that Hebron was void of a Jewish presence. 

The events unfolded following a blood libel started by Jerusalem Arabs, claiming that the Jews were preparing a takeover of the Temple Mount and a massacre of Arabs. In total, 133 Jews were murdered in riots in cities and towns throughout British-mandated Palestine. 

Rivlin said that Hebron in 2019 is a “test of the ability of Jews and Arabs to coexist together.” While there, he visited the Cave of the Patriarchs. 

Edelstein, at a memorial ceremony at the gravesite of the victims in the ancient Hebron Jewish cemetery, called for the application of Israeli sovereignty over the city. He said: “Ninety years after the 1929 massacre, we have to say clearly: “It’s time for Hebron! It’s time for sovereignty in Hebron! It is time for the Jewish community in Hebron to grow by the thousands! It’s time for a visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs to be the easiest, most comfortable, and most natural thing.” 

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