Saturday, September 18, 2010

First-hand Testimony of Arab Terror in 1921

This is how a 1921 letter from Jaffa begins:

"With the help of God (may he be praised ), I give you the good news that I was saved from death, the danger that hung over my head has passed completely and I have almost healed from the injuries and blows I suffered last Sunday. I am sure you have read about the pogrom that happened in Jaffa. And you saw my name among the 'wounded.' Now I shall tell you exactly what happened, from beginning to end."

At midday,

"We heard a lot of turmoil in the market and Yitzhak ran to see what was going on. He didn't return and when I heard the noise [coming from there], I decided to close myself in the shop until things quieted down ... But unfortunately my hopes were dashed because for more than two hours, I was shut in the shop and no one came to my aid. All I heard was the shouting ... and the groans of the wounded and dying coming from every direction.

"You can imagine what a state I was in. I tried to think what to do because I could hear them breaking down the doors of the shops. I decided to go up to the storage loft, and to take the ladder up with me. And I did so right away. And I also took off my vest and coat, and covered my head and back with them as well as I could. And I lay down on the floor of the loft with my arms and legs flat, and my face down. But just 10 minutes later I suddenly heard them breaking down the doors of my shop ... They broke down the doors and about 200 murderous robbers broke into the shop and started grabbing whatever they could, and the rest they wrecked and broke and trampled.

"And suddenly one man said there was a lot more stuff up in the loft. And right away they climbed up and saw me lying on the ground. They all shouted: Here is a Jew! Kill him! Slaughter him! And about 10 robbers started beating me with the long rods they carried, on my head and back. And I screamed from the pain but after a minute or so I was stunned and a great weakness came over me and I heard one Arab say to another, 'Give me your knife so I can stab him because it looks like he's still alive.' When I heard this I shuddered and with all my strength I cried out 'Shema Yisrael,' but before I could finish I heard rifle fire and the robbers were shouting, 'Here come the English!' and fleeing for their lives.

"I lifted my head a little and saw that two policemen were standing in the doorway. I begged them to take me away because soon people would come to kill me, and they had pity on me and took me out and brought me to the Saraya [the Turkish government building in Jaffa's Clock Square] - all beaten. Wounded. My face completely bloodied."

"Thank God, I am getting better from day to day. But I was left with practically nothing because they stole from me more than 3,000 pounds sterling, and all my work and toil went down the drain. I was also left with a debt of more than 1,000 pounds sterling, but I have strong hopes for God's help to come to my salvation and quickly lift me back up. After he saved me from death, he surely will not let me and my household starve."

He signs the letter: "Your wounded brother, suffering in agony, Yaakov Elimelech Halevi Lederberg."

The article quotes Dr. Mordechai Naor, a writer and scholar of Jewish history, who said

what makes this source distinctive is that it does not concern either of the two best-known events associated with the 1921 disturbances in the area: the attack on the Beit Ha'olim immigrant hostel and the murder of writer Yosef Haim Brenner and his friends.

Here we suddenly have the personal testimony of a person, a man from the market, who describes in elaborate detail what happened to him on that terrible day.

In 1921, Israel had not "occupied" Arab territory in a war of "conquest" and there were no "settlements" - unless, of course, any Jewish presence anywhere is forbidden.

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1 comment:

David G said...

Your final comment is the key -- No Jewish presence is legitimate. Why do we have so much trouble understanding this one simple fact? If we accept this reality, we can determine the appropriate action to take in any dealings with our neighbors. It's long past time we gave up these delusions about whom and what we are dealing.