1938 Tiberias massacre

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1938 Tiberias massacre
Part of 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine
Tib cim037.jpg
Memorial and graves of victims in Tiberias' old cemetery
Location Tiberias, British Mandate of Palestine
Coordinates Coordinates: 32°47′20″N 35°31′26″E / 32.789°N 35.524°E / 32.789; 35.524
Date October 2, 1938
Target Jewish Kiryat Shmuel neighbourhood
Weapons Stabbing
Deaths 19
Perpetrators 70 Arabs
Defenders 15 Jewish guards

The Tiberias massacre took place on October 2, 1938, during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, in the city of Tiberias. Tiberias was then located in the British Mandate of Palestine and today is located in the State of Israel.[1]

After infiltrating the Jewish Kiryat Shmuel neighbourhood, Arab rioters killed 19 Jews in Tiberias, 11 of whom were children.[2]

During the massacre, 70 armed Arabs set fire to Jewish homes and the local synagogue. In one house a mother and her five children were killed. The old beadle in the synagogue was stabbed to death, and another family of 4 was killed. At the time of the attack there were only 15 Jewish guards in the neighborhood of over 2,000 people. The coast of the Sea of Galilee remained unguarded, for it was the least expected direction for an attack. Two Jewish guards were killed in the attack.[3]

A representative of the British mandate reported that: "It was systematically organized and savagely executed. Of the nineteen Jews killed, including women and children, all save four were stabbed to death. That night and the following day the troops engaged the raiding gangs".[4] After the massacre, the Irgun wanted to make a joint retaliatory operation with Haganah to deter such events, but Haganah did not agree.[5]

Shortly later Tiberian Arabs murdered the Jewish mayor, Isaac Zaki Alhadif, on October 27.[6] The Haganah sent a party to investigate the failed defense of the city, led by Yosef Avidar, a Haganah leader who later became a general (Aluf) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baruch Kimmerling (1 July 2009). The Palestinian People: A History. Harvard University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-674-03959-9. 
  2. ^ League of Nations Archives
  3. ^ Sefer Hahagana (ספר ההגנה) part B', by the Israeli Defense Ministry (1973)
  4. ^ British mandate report United Nations
  5. ^ Ada Amichal Yevin, "In Purple", The Life of Yair - Abraham Stern", Hadar Publishing House Tel Aviv, 1986, page 135
  6. ^ Tidhar, d. (1950). "tאכי אלחדיף" [Isaac Zaki Alhadif]. Entsiklopedyah le-halutse ha-yishuv u-vonav (in Hebrew). Vol. 4. p. 1860. 
  7. ^ M Gilbert, Israel: A History (1998), p.85