Alexander Zaid is Murdered, 1938
On This Day in Jewish History: July 10, 1938
Alexander Zaid, one of the pioneers of the Second Aliyah to reach Eretz Yisrael in 1904, was murdered by Arabs while on guard duty for the organization HaShomer or "The Watchman.” The Second Aliyah brought 35,000-40,000 pioneering Jewish youth to the Land of Israel between 1904 and 1914. With this came the creation of numerous youth movements, including Bar Giora and HaShomer, both of which Zaid helped create.
In 1907, several youth met to discuss and assume responsibility for the Lower Galilee. They created an organization called Bar Giora, after one of the leaders of the Great Revolt against the Romans. One of the members of Bar Giora was Zaid, who helped grow the organization and eventually helped found HaShomer in 1909. HaShomer was created with the aim to strengthen the security of Jews in settlements. Whenever a problem arose, Zaid was one of the first to be sent to guard. For instance, he helped people of Hadera cope with malaria as well as their repeated harassment from their Bedouin and Circassian neighbours.
After the founding of HaShomer, the group founded a kibbutz, Bar Giora, in Upper Galilee. However, Zaid left shortly thereafter as he didn't believe that children were the property of the kibbutz, unlike the other members. He soon settled in Sheikh Abreik in the Valley of Jezreel with his family where he worked as a watchman overseeing the lands of the young JNF.
Though he was consistently met with dangerous situations, Zaid never left his position, even when he was wounded by Arab rioters in 1932. He continued to defend and protect the lands until his death in 1938 while on guard. A statue of Zaid on a horse gazing out at the Jezreel Valley is located near Givat Zaid, a kibbutz named after him, reminding us of his legacy, his protection of the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel.