Saturday, July 05, 2014

Was It Ever Safe?

In November 1931, five Arabs were arrested in the connection of the rape and murder of two Jews the previous June.

From the JTA report:

The following statement was issued by the Jerusalem Police Headquarters in November, when the bodies were found and the accused Arabs arrested.
The bodies of Salia Zohar and Johannan Stahl, the young Jewish couple who have been missing for some months, were found in the early hours of Friday morning 7 to 8 kilos north of Tel Aviv buried in the sand...As far as can be ascertained at present the couple were murdered. It is hoped that the post mortem examination will reveal exactly the cause of death, although the body of the young woman was decomposed to a state which may render this a difficult task.
Five accused have been arrested by the police, four of whom made statements relevant to the crime.
...The story pieced together out of the mouths of five Bedouins who were arrested as reported as showing the young couple walking along the deserted seashore when the Bedouins returning to their camp with their camels met and murdered them in cold blood, not, however, before all of them had violated the young woman. The man had been disposed of first, three of the assailants overpowering and stabbing him....
...Acting on information, the encampment of the Arbal Kuran Bedouins was surrounded by Police Inspector Goffer of Petach Tikvah at the head of six constables – two British, two Jews and two Arabs. He was accompanied by the voluntary Jewish searchers, who had been led to the spot by the Effendi. A search of the tents disclosed belongings not associated with the equipment of Bedouins, such as bits of European clothing, a belt, etc. One by one five men in whose tents these things were found were questioned, and four made statements implicating one another.
Two of the suspects were forced to conduct the searchers to the place where the bodies were supposed to be buried and then a third led the Police to the same place. The actual search over a large area took nearly three hours, until one of the suspects came upon the body of Stahl. After further search, the body of Miss Zohar was found.
The bodies were taken to Tel Aviv for burial, a thousand people following them to their graves. Mr. Dizengoff, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, spoke for the Municipality and Mr. Remez for the Jewish Labour Federation.

And it made news abroad:

HC Deb 07 December 1931
§43. Colonel WEDGWOOD asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the growth of in-security in Palestine, he will allow Jews to carry weapons for self-defence?
§Sir R. HAMILTON I am not aware of the grounds for the right hon. and gallant Member's statement as to the growth of insecurity in Palestine, but in any case my right hon. Friend knows that he can rely upon the High Commissioner to recommend, if necessary, the adoption of any special measure of protection additional to those already in force.
§Colonel WEDGWOOD Has the hon. Gentleman had any information from Palestine about the murder of two Jewish hikers; and is he aware that there have been 22 separate cases of murder by Arabs in Palestine in the present month?
§Sir R. HAMILTON I may inform my right hon. and gallant Friend that a report has been asked for from the High Commissioner, but it has not yet been received.
§Colonel WEDGWOOD Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the discovery of the murderers of the two Jewish hikers was only effected by the offer of a reward of £200?

The police were unable to solve the crime by themselves.


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