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Baruch Goldstein Massacre, 1994

On This Day in Jewish History: February 25, 1994

On this day, in 1994, Baruch Goldstein, armed with an assault rifle, entered a Muslim prayer hall at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and opened fire on the crowd of Palestinians. He killed approximately 30 people and injured more than 100 more until survivors managed to stop him and kill him in the process. Goldstein, an Orthodox Jew born in New York, became a physician at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine before immigrating to Israel in 1983. He served in the Israeli military, then moved to Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement near Hebron. In Kiryat Arba, he continued his work as a physician. Additionally, throughout his time in Israel, he was a political follower of the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party. The Kach party was established back in 1971, and was eventually briefly banned from holding seats in the Knesset due to its extremist views. The massacre itself occurred both on Purim morning and during Ramadan. Goldstein, dressed in his IDF reserve uniform, entered the Tomb of the Patriarchs through a side entrance. Because security assumed he was on duty, he was permitted to enter the Muslim prayer area, where he then opened fire. As survivors fled, some reported that they were fired at after escaping from the Tomb. Riots occurred between Jews and Palestinians following the tragedy. Additionally, reports from survivors, as well as an IDF ballistics report, indicate that there was at least one more shooter. Still, the Shamgar Commission of Inquiry, conducted by the Israeli government, concluded that Goldstein acted alone. The massacre was outright condemned by Israeli leaders, as well as by Jews around the world. Compensation was made to survivors, and various measures were enacted in an attempt to control future extremism. The massacre was openly supported by the Kach party, however, leading the party to be declared illegal in Israel. It continues to be an underground movement, however, and its members often are violent towards Palestinians and the Israelis who support dismantling some settlements. Goldstein’s grave has also become a pilgrimage site for modern extremists.



https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-25-years-after-hebron-massacre-debate-sparked-over-baruch-goldstein-s-grave-1.6975117 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/2/26/remembering-the-ibrahimi-mosque-massacre https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/kach-political-party

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