Tisha B’Av teaches us that throughout history, hatred of Jews existed. The barbaric Hebron massacre is a perfect example and should be remembered.

Tisha B’Av, which will be observed in a few days, is not just a time to remember, with sadness and pain, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. It is also a time to consider the many unfortunate, tragic events that befell the Jewish People throughout the Ages.

This is clearly indicated by the many kinnot (dirges) recited on this day to mark, sorrowfully, these specific events in our history. We mourn the loss of the Holy Temple, but we further mark the hatred of Jews – and Jewish ideals, albeit of actual value for all humanity – that resulted in such actions.

One such event is the Hebron Massacre of 1929. This is not solely because we mark the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) of the kedoshim (holy people) who were brutally slain in that attack by local Arabs on the 18th of the Hebrew month of Av. The hate that fueled this tragic event — in which even yeshiva students simply involved in their Torah studies were killed – is reflective of the hate that the Jewish People have experienced over millennia. It was an unprovoked response to Jews being Jews.

Recognition of this event within our commemorations in this time period is, thus, obviously appropriate. This remembrance, however, is especially important in current times for it stands in direct contradiction to how many wish to color what is presently happening in Israel.

We read about, hear about, the “occupation.” There are many who wish to explain all the attacks on Israelis as a result of this socalled occupation. There was no “occupation,” however, in 1929. The hatred of Jews that provoked that massacre is the same today. The history of Israel was marked, right from its beginning, and even earlier on, with a reality that its Jewish populace constantly had to face individuals who wished to destroy the invasive Jew.

Certain elements now wish to declare that this is not so, that people are only so violent because they are unjustifiably oppressed by this “occupation.” The Hebron Massacre powerfully declares otherwise.

Of course, there are people who will argue that this generic hatred of Jews may have indeed existed in 1929 but things have changed; the problem, today, is the “occupation.” Based on what facts, though, does such a theory even stand? The rhetoric seems to be, for many, the same today as it always was.

Tisha B’Av teaches us that throughout time, hatred of Jews essentially existed. The brutal attack against the Jews in 1929 is a precise delineation of this fact in modern times.

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Article by Benjamin Hecht

Rabbi Benjamin Hecht is the founding director of Nishma, which fosters the critical investigation of contemporary issues. For further info, see nishma.org and nishmablog.blogspot.com. You can follow Rabbi Hecht on Twitter @NishmaTorah.