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]

The security situation of the Syrian Jewish community deteriorated in the late 1930s, during a period of increased Arab nationalism, pressure for independence from the British Empire leading to Syrian independence in 1946, World War, and growth of the Zionist community in Palestine. 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 al-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.]