Baruch Goldstein

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Dr. Baruch Goldstein in medical clothes. Hebrew sign says rofe ("[Medical] Doctor")

Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein (December 9 or December 12, 1956February 25, 1994) was a Kahanist born in Brooklyn, New York and was responsible for killing 29 Muslim civilians and injuring approximately 100 in a 1994 mass shooting attack.

After emigrating to Israel, Goldstein had served as a physician in the Israeli Defense Force, first as a conscript, then in the reserve forces. Here, he gained notoriety for refusing to treat non-Jews, even those serving in the IDF. According to Arych Kizel (Yediot Ahronot, 1 March 1994) when Goldstein was threatened with court-martial he declared:

I am not willing to treat any non-Jew. I recognize as legitimate only two [religious] authorities: Maimonides and Kahane.

Following the end of his active duty, he worked as a physician and lived in the Kiryat Arba settlement.

Goldstein is best known for having killed 29 Palestinian Muslims during Friday prayers, February 25th, 1994, in the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site in Hebron holy to both Muslims and Jews. After being subdued with a fire extinguisher, Goldstein was beaten to death by survivors. Goldstein left behind a widow and 4 children. At his eulogy Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba stated:

Goldstein was full of love for fellow human beings. He dedicated himself to helping others. Goldstein could not continue to bear the humiliations and shame nowadays inflicted upon us; this was why he took action for no other reason than to sanctify the holy name of God.

(Ilana Baum and Tzvi Singer in Yediot Ahronot 28 February 1994)

Rioting immediately following the massacre led to the deaths of another 26 Palestinians and 2 Israelis.

Testimony at the Israeli inquiry raised the possibility Goldstein had an accomplice - two Israeli army guards testified that a second settler entered Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs on February 25th shortly after Goldstein, and that when Goldstein went into the tomb he was armed with a different gun from the Galil assault rifle found by his body. The second settler was carrying a Galil, they said. This testimony was never confirmed, and a commission of inquiry established by Chief Justice Meir Shamgar found that Goldstein had acted on his own.

Goldstein's actions were immediately condemned by the Israeli government, and the Israeli populace in general. Spokespeople for all the organized denominations of Judaism denounced his act as immoral and as terrorism. The Kach movement, to which he belonged, was outlawed. The victims of the shooting received financial compensation.

However, he became a hero to some Israeli right-wing extremists. Members of the outlawed Kach organization glorify his mass murder (claiming that he pre-empted the mass murder of Jews by Arabs). The group claims the following:

Kach claims and support for Goldstein

Goldstein supporters make a number of claims, including the following:

  • A week prior to that Purim morning, there were several incidents of Arab mobs at the Cave of the Patriarchs shouting "Itbach al-Yahood." which means "Slaughter the Jews."
  • The metal detector at the East Gate where most of the Arabs entered that Friday Purim morning was damaged the night before.
  • An unusually large number of Arabs came to the Cave of the Patriarchs that Friday around 500 men and 300 women, and only a handful of the men were searched, an none of the women were.
  • And after the incident, three automatic weapons were found in the Tomb, other than Goldstein's weapon, including one wrapped in a scarf.
  • Yitzchak Matoof, local resident, testified that "Arab storekeepers told me not to come to the Machpelah on Purim as it will not be good for Jews there."
  • The leading Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, published a news report before Purim stating that Hamas forces in Hebron had been alerting all Arabs in Hebron, through a group known as Ez a-Adin Alqass, to stock up with food and provisions since a great attack on Jews would take place and that it could be expected that, afterwards, the Israeli government would impose a curfew on the Arab population. This would also occur around the end of Ramadan.

Supporters sometimes hold celebrations at his tomb. His tombstone in Kiryat Arba reads:

Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may the Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to the Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754.

However, most Israelis are repulsed by the glorification of this mass murderer. In 1998, a bill was passed in the Israeli Knesset that forbade the erection of monuments to terrorists; in 2000 a small shrine built around Goldstein's tomb was demolished. At the time, it was also declared that a discussion of the inscription on his tombstone was pending but no revisions have yet been made (as of 2005).

See also

External links

pl:Baruch Goldstein

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