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August 24, 1929 Response to Denial of Palestinian Arab saying the Hebron Massacre Never Occured

August 23, 1929 Hebron Massacre  On March 28, 1994 a New York Times article quoted a Palestinian
Arab as saying that the 1929 massacre of Jews in Hebron never occurred. I
am a survivor of that horrible event, and therefore I wrote a letter to
the New York Times describing the tragic events that actually occurred in
Hebron in 1929. Unfortunately, the New York Times did not see fit to
print my letter. What follows is a copy of what I wrote to them

I was horrified to read in the March 28, 1994 New York Times that
Mohammed Ayubi, a Hebron resident, claimed that the Hebron massacre of
1929 never took place. He said

It is a fictitious massacre engineered by the British to make sure

the Jews would be able to come and take over Palestine.”

I was a student in the Hebron Yeshiva in 1929 and I was
regularly harassed and threatened by the Arabs of that city. This
harassment took the form of occasional stoning by Arab residents as well
as frequent verbal taunts.

I left the yeshiva five days before the massacre to visit my
parents in Jerusalem. I vividly remember the bus ride I took from Hebron
to Jerusalem. That day the Arabs were laughing and making slicing
motions across their throats as they screamed “Itbach Al-Yahud”
(slaughter the Jews
). I was originally scheduled to return the day of
the massacre (which was a Friday) but since I was sick, I postponed my
departure to Sunday. Unfortunately, I was never able to return to Hebron,
since that Friday and Saturday the massacre took place. Among the 67
Jews brutally murdered were 41 of my fellow yeshiva students
. In fact,
among the nine yeshiva students with whom I dormed, only one survived –
my roommate who hid under the other eight mutilated bodies in a closet
and played dead

I was shocked to later learn that my Arab neighbor Moussa, who I
had regularly chatted with, had not only participated in the massacre,
but had castrated and gauged out the eyes of a Jewish barber named
Shimon, a Sephardic Jew whose family had lived in Hebron for hundreds of

Since I was 16 years old at the time of the massacre and was thus
a few years younger than the other yeshiva students, I am among the last
living survivors of this horrible event. As the 65th anniversary of this
terrible event approaches (in August) I cannot understand how someone can
revise history and claim that it never took place.

Yitzhak Ophir
White Plains, NY

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