Menarsha synagogue attack

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The Menarsha synagogue attack took place on August 5, 1949, in the Jewish quarter of Damascus, Syria.[1] The grenade attack claimed 12 lives.

Background[edit]

Peaceful harmony in the Syrian Jewish community deteriorated in the late 1930s, as unrest in Palestine resulted in increased hostility towards Zionism and Jews in general. The political and economic instability paved way for the Syrian independence in 1946. So, anti-Western and Arab nationalist fervour took on an increasingly anti-Jewish tone.[2][3] After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jews in Syria faced greater discrimination as the government obstructed them.[4] During this period, Jews and their property became the target of numerous attacks, which includes the Aleppo Pogrom attacks of 1947.

Attack[edit]

On Friday night, August 5, 1949, several hand grenades were thrown into the Menarsha Synagogue in Damascus, which took a dozen lives and injuring thirty. The attack was planned to synchronize with the Lausanne Conference, which was signed between Israel and Syria on July 20, 1949.[5] A simultaneous attack, carried out at the Great Synagogue in Aleppo also ruined several souls.[6]

Reaction[edit]

Official condolences[edit]

Syrian President Husni al-Za'im sent his personal representative to visit the carnage area and ordered a legal probe into it."[7]

Investigation[edit]

The police accredited the attack to an underground movement functioning under the label Arab Redemption Suicide Phalange,[8] and held numerous suspects. On August 9, a seventeen-year-old Syrian veteran of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War confessed that he and two friends were behind the attack.[7] President al-Za'im ordered the execution of those accused, but a few days later the coup of Colonel Sami Hinnawi took place and al-Za'im himself was executed.[9] In 1950, the suspects of the attack were acquitted due to lack of evidence.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cyrus Adler, Henrietta Szold. American Jewish year book, Volume 52, American Jewish Committee, 1951.
  2. ^ Walter P. Zenner. A global community: the Jews from Aleppo, Syria, Wayne State University Press, 2000. pg. 82. ISBN 0-8143-2791-5.
  3. ^ Michael R. Fischbach. Jewish property claims against Arab countries, Columbia University Press, 2008. pg. 30. ISBN 0-231-13538-6.
  4. ^ James A. Paul. Human rights in Syria, Middle East Watch. pg. 92.
  5. ^ Yazīd Ṣāyigh. Armed struggle and the search for state: the Palestinian national movement, 1949-1993, Oxford University Press US, 1997. pg. 72. ISBN 0-19-829265-1.
  6. ^ Itamar Leṿin. d doors: the seizure of Jewish property in Arab countries, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001. pg. 175. ISBN 0-275-97134-1.
  7. ^ a b Joseph B. Schechtman. On wings of eagles: the plight, exodus, and homecoming of oriental Jewry, T. Yoseloff, 1961. pg. 163.
  8. ^ Sami M. Moubayed. Damascus between democracy and dictatorship, University Press of America, 2007. pg. 70-71. ISBN 0-7618-1744-1.
  9. ^ G. N. Giladi. Discord in Zion: conflict between Ashkenazi & Sephardi Jews in Israel Scorpion Publishing, 1990. pg. 89. ISBN 0-905906-87-X.
  10. ^ The Jewish Agency's digest of press and events, Volume 3, Jewish Agency for Israel, 1950. pg. 1,080. [University of California, February 1, 2010.]