Monday, September 03, 2012

Who Will Commemorate Asher Itzkowitz?

The state of Israel maintains a memorial site for those who fell in the effort to reestablish the state and realize the Zionist vision.

The earliest victim of Arab terror is Asher Hershler who was killed in Jerusalem, chasing Arab robbers who sought to steal his money from his home in Mishkenot Sha'ananim.  He was murdered in January 1873.  Actually, the true first recognized Arab terror victim is Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref and the details of his end are:

Tzoref was the main person instrumental in getting the local Pasha to issue a decree forgiving the Ashkenazim the debts of the students of Rabbi Yehuda haChasìd, and restoring to them the ruin we know as the Hurva.  known as Dir Shachnan. The Arabs who had built shops there were forced to restore the site to the Jews in return for compensation, after which Jews of Jerusalem built there the Beit Midrash named Menachem Zion.

After one attempt to kill him, another attempt by an Arab to kill him succeeded:

His assailants struck him on the head with a sword. "One night, close to sunrise, when Tzoref was making his way to the vatikin [early morning] prayer services as was his wont, murderers attacked him from behind, and struck him on the head with a sword, until he fell wallowing in his own blood. Jews who were also heading to prayers, found him in a pool of blood and while he was still alive, brought him back to his home." As a result of that sword strike, Tzoref lost his memory. He lived for another three months and then died. as he was on his way to sunrise prayers by sneaking up behind him and hitting him on the head with a sword. For months Tzoref was bedridden and lost his memory. Only on his last day on earth did his memory return, whereupon he asked all his family and friends to gather so he could bid them farewell.  Tzoref died in Jerusalem on 19 Elul, September 15, 1851 and was buried on the slopes of the Mount of Olives.

His son Mordechai was one of the yishuv’s agricultural and industrial pioneers, and Mordechai’s son, Rabbi Yoel Moshe Solomon, was one of the founders of Petach Tikva.

But if you search for a Asher Itzkowitz, you won't find him.  That is, unless you you review the Palestine Post online archives for the month of April 1947:

Yes, Asher Itzkowitz, barely a year in the country was attacked by a fanatical mob of Muslims, "lynched" is the contemporary term, and killed. The date of his death is 21 Nissan, April 11, 1947.

There is no memorial to him.  There should be.

Who will work to include his name among those who fell to Arab terror?


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