Letter: Pride in Jewish triumph over terror

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The Independent Online
Sir: When I hosted your correspondent Sarah Helm over a cup of coffee at my home in Beit Hadassah, in the heart of Hebron, I assumed that the origin of the building's name was clear. It is not 'an elegant Arabesque villa' that we 'call Beit Hadassah'. That is its original name, and has been since its dedication as a small local hospital run by the Hadassah organisation at the turn of the century. The building was erected by the Jewish community of Hebron in 1893, and we are celebrating its centenary this year.

The slaughter of the Jews of Hebron by their Arab neighbours, in the riots of 1929, called a temporary halt to local Jewish life. Today, by returning and living at the site, we are proud to be part of a historical process signifying the triumph of justice over terror. Would it be too much to expect seekers of justice to understand, justify and even encourage the return of the Jews to the city of their patriarchs?

Ms Helm's claim that the violence of the Arabs and Jews towards one another in Hebron is 'cyclical' is wrong. In 1929, the Jews of Hebron constituted a small and modest community of scholars and rabbis. They were not 'settlers', but the descendants of the original residents of the city since the days of the patriarchs. At that time, no one ever dreamt of a Jewish state, not even within the 1948 borders. The Arabs who perpetrated the slaughter did so for no particular reason other than a lust for Jewish blood. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since then.

In 1929, the Jews of Hebron were totally vulnerable, lacking weapons and other means of self-defence. The British constabulary assigned to protect them stood by and observed the slaughter without reacting. Can Ms Helm justify the behaviour of those constables? Does anyone seriously believe that the Jews will again play the role of victim?

It is best for all to know that the situation has changed: the Children of Israel have returned to their rightful borders, which include Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs.



Beit Hadassah


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