Tiberias is one of my favorite cities in Israel. It was the home of many Great Rabbis who lived in or were buried in there. The Sanhedrin, the famous Jewish court, fled from Jerusalem during the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire, and after several moves eventually settled in Tiberias. Many scholars believe that the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in by Rabbi Judah haNasi in Tiberias. And to be perfectly honest, along with all the history— Tiberias is the location of Pagoda my favorite Chinese restaurant in Israel
A dark moment in Tiberias history occurred 78 years ago today. On October 2 1938, an organized groups of Arab attackers massacred 21 Jews ,three of the victims were women and ten were kids younger than twelve. The victims were stabbed shot and burned.
The New York Times described the brutal rampage:
Not since the riots of 1929, when Arabs fell on Jewish men, most of whom were rabbinical students, as well as women and children, in the ancient towns of Hebron and Safed, has there been in Palestine such a slaughter as the attack of last night. The main synagogue of the town was destroyed by fire, and the district offices, the police station and the British police billet were fired on.
The attack apparently was well organized, since the Arab gang, before descending on Tiberias, cut all telephone communications. Coming in two parties from opposite directions at a given signal, which was a whistle blown from the hills surrounding the town, the firing began simultaneously in all quarters…
…The bandits rushed to the central synagogue and, finding there a beadle named Jacob Zaltz, killed him and then set the building afire…
…the Arabs broke in and stabbed and burned to death Mr. Kabin [an elderly American Jew who had recently come to Palestine] and his sister…
From there the bandits went on to the house of Joshua Ben Arieh, where they stabbed and burned to death Joshua, his wife and one son, and then shot dead his infant son. In the same house three children of Shlomo Leimer, aged 8, 10, and 12, were stabbed and burned to death. Proceeding farther, the Arabs broke into the house of Shimon Mizrahi, where they killed his wife and five children, ranging in ages from 1 to 12 years, and then set fire to the house…. [New York Times, Oct. 4, 1938]
Three weeks later (Oct. 27th) Tiberian Arabs murdered the Jewish mayor, Isaac Zaki Alhadif.
The Tiberias massacre was part of three years of terrorism conducted by the Arabs living in or near the holy land. There was no Israel, no disputed territories, just some communities of Jews, many of which housed people who had been living in the land for generations. Rather than put down the violence, the British Government decided to appease the terrorists with a British White Paper limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine just as Hitler was beginning his final solution. As a result, the British Government sentenced many Jews to death at the hands of the Nazis. The attitude of the British and indeed most of the western world toward Arab terror hasn’t changed in the intervening 78 years, it is still all about sacrificing Jewish blood to appease the Arabs involved in terror.
May the memories of those slain in Tiberias 78 years ago always be for a blessing.